Rookie preview: Corner Richard Crawford

Rookie preview: Corner Richard Crawford
May 10, 2012, 6:42 pm
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5-10, 189The need: No unit on the squad has undergone a bigger facelift this offseason then the secondary, both at corner and safety. Starting corners DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson return while free agents Cedric Griffin and Leigh Torrence were added to battle Kevin Barnes for the time at the nickel and dime slots. Those five could be the group Mike Shanahan keeps on the 53-man roster, but the backups in particular have their warts so opportunity exists for a dark horse to make noise.The fit: Like fellow seventh-round pick Jordan Bernstine, Crawford played all over the secondary in college, but Shanahan has stated the SMU product will play corner in the NFL. Athletic though not particularly quick, Crawfords best defensive value could come in zone packages. He also averaged nearly 13 yards as a punt returner for the Mustangs.The depth chart: Barring injury, Hall and Wilson are locks. Hard to see Griffin not making the roster after inking a free agent deal and Barnes potential remains evident even if his play at is spotty at times. The fifth corner slot appears wide open and possibly competitive if undrafted free agent Chase Minnifield (Virginia) joins the fray. Crawfords upside: Considering Crawfords versatility, he could sneak in as the final overall defensive back, especially if the team keeps 10 in the secondary. Proving his worth on special teams would go a long way to making his team. If Crawford can show immediate impact as a returner, might allow the Redskins to move on from Brandon Banks. Practice squad material.Shanahan on Crawford: He has the possibility of playing inside in the nickel as well as the outside. Also, punt return. Yeah, we think he has some value. Had the chance to talk to SMU head coach June Jones in detail about him. I really liked what I saw and was glad he was available in the seventh round.Crawford on Crawford (On if he is comfortable playing in the slot): Yeah, actually I am. I grew up playing safety. I didnt start playing corner until I got to college, so Im used to playing inside.