Washington Redskin Receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas Have Much to Prove

John LeveringContributor IApril 20, 2009

Entering last year's draft, the Redskins were in desperate need of a solid No. 2 receiver.

So what did they do?

They drafted not one, but two wide receivers (and a tight end). 

The transition to the NFL for Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas, the two receivers taken, was not nearly as smooth as everyone had hoped. 

Kelly, the second receiver the 'Skins took, was the 51st overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Kelly is a tall presence standing at 6'4", he played in college at Oklahoma. In the time leading up to the draft Kelly was hampered with injuries, and when he made it to D.C. nothing had changed.

Kelly spent most of last year inactive, because he was too hurt to play (knee problems). The Redskins knew of his injury history and were advised not to draft him. But, of course, they defied logic and selected him. He doesn't have breakaway speed, an aspect that hurt his draft stock, but could potentially be the down-field threat the 'Skins need so desperately.

Thomas, the first receiver taken by the Redskins, was the 34th overall pick. While in college, he spent his freshman year attending junior college and his sophomore and junior seasons playing for Michigan State. He caught only six passes his sophomore year, but his stock skyrocketed following an incredible junior season. As a junior, he hauled in 79 receptions for 1,260 yards and scored eight touchdowns.

Thomas, like Kelly, faced injuries during his rookie year. He pulled a hamstring in training camp and seemingly never fully caught up on the time he missed. Even when he was healthy enough to practice or to play, he had a difficult time running routes and doing his job on the field. 

This year, the 'Skins enter the season with the same receiver problems they had last year. They lack a solid No. 2 wide out, who can play alongside Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.

Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas are both one year older and both should have a better understanding of the offense. Kelly may have already seen his best days if he can't stay healthy, and Thomas is still a raw talent. Because of Thomas' raw talent, and his ability to not get injured as frequently, he will have a brighter future with the 'Skins. 

However, both were highly touted for a reason and this year, more than ever, is going to be a good indication of their futures in Washington.  Look for 2009 to be a make or break year for both of these receiving prospects.

If they both struggle again, and Washington can't find their No. 2 receiver then Jason Campbell's job will be much more arduous. Poor performances from Kelly and Thomas may cost Jason Campbell his job as the Redskins' starting quarterback.