Washington Redskins: Realistic Expectations for Top Rookies in 2013
The Washington Redskins did a pretty good job in this part year’s draft.
They also bolstered their pass rush with outside linebacker Brandon Jenkins, something they will need now that they have lost Adam Carriker and Jarvis Jenkins. Besides adding talent at their positions of need, they also added much depth with year’s class, with both drafted and undrafted players.
While most rookies aren’t expected to come in and play an important role right away, there are a few guys from this year’s group that could contribute right away.
Xavier Nixon, T
Many expected Xavier Nixon to be drafted somewhere in the mid-rounds, but he ended up going undrafted, much to the delight of Washington.
They signed Nixon soon after the draft in a very intelligent move. The concerns surrounding Nixon is largely because he takes some plays off and isn’t as consistent as some would like.
That being said, he has tremendous potential, and given the uncertainty surrounding the Redskins’ right tackle position, we could see the former Gator thrust into a starting position sooner than later. If he picks up zone-blocking system and does well in training camp/preseason, then he could very well be the starter on opening day.
Jordan Reed, TE
While he wasn’t ever considered to be the best at his position from this year’s class, Jordan Reed was still one of the more versatile tight ends of this draft. At 6’2”, 236 pounds, Reed has a great size for a receiving tight end.
He won’t play a major role right away, but will certainly have his chances to get the ball in this team’s offense. His athletic ability makes him into a potentially dangerous weapon right out of the gate for Washington.
Expect to see Reed use a lot up the seam and in the red zone.
Jawan Jamison, RB
In a crowded running back stable, Jamison will have to make much noise in preseason just as Morris did last season if he wants to make this team. The chance of Jamison making the team vs. not making the team is pretty even, but he will likely be signed to the practice squad if he does end up getting cut.
Brandon Jenkins, OLB
Brandon Jenkins will end up being a steal for the Redskins.
The former Florida State Seminole would’ve been a first rounder if not for an untimely injury in college, but he fell to the fourth round and right into Washington’s lap.
He has great speed for a linebacker and is a natural pass rusher. He has an explosive first step and is strong enough to over power smaller linemen while out-running the bigger ones.
Jenkins was already expected to make an impact on defense, but his skills on the edge will be even more needed now that Washington’s down two pass rushers.
Chris Thompson, RB
Chris Thompson has a better chance at making this roster than most may think and will likely find a role in this offense sooner than later.
What attracted Washington to the rookie runner is his speed. Thompson has a great chance to come in and be the change-of-pace running back that Washington has been looking for behind Morris.
If he can pick up the system than we could see Washington’s version of Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker back during Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl run—a powerful, deceptively shifty runner and a complimenting speedster.
Phillip Thomas, S
Phillip Thomas was arguably the smartest pick of Washington’s draft. He is an overall good safety, playing well in coverage and in run support. He’s almost reminiscent of former Colts safety Bob Sanders—a stout defender who blankets the field.
Thomas, along with Rambo, will have a good chance at starting when opening day rolls around.
David Amerson, CB
Washington spent their first pick of this year’s draft on one of the top corners of this class, David Amerson.
The N.C. State product has been running with the first team defense across from DeAngelo Hall so far in training camp. He is a pretty range-y corner with solid speed and long arms and is great at knocking down passes.
Physicality is something that the Redskins seriously lacked in their secondary last year, but Amerson will help to mend that.
Amerson may experience some growing pains solely because he won’t have a whole lot of experience surrounding him, but he will improve as the season goes on and he picks up the system.
Bacarri Rambo, S
Bacarri Rambo is in a better position than most of the guys on this list. He has the skill to become a great safety in this league and is one of the best hitters of this year’s draft.
I talked about physicality with Amerson, but Rambo’s physicality is something that will remind Redskins fans of the late, great Sean Taylor. He was a punishing safety in college and will be bringing the boom back to Washington.