Which Redskins draft picks are ready to step up?

Which Redskins draft picks are ready to step up?
February 27, 2013, 11:45 am
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The Redskins have drafted 21 players in the past two years and 19 of them are still with the organization. With the possibility of some roster cuts and some free agents leaving it is time to examine the draft picks and see who might be ready to step up and start and who might be ready for an increased role. Today we’ll look at the 2011 draft class and later this week we’ll look at 2012.

Already starters

Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins, the first two picks in 2011, started at linebacker and defensive end respectively. Jenkins was not expected to start last year but he went in after Adam Carriker went out for the year in the second game of the season. If Carriker ends up being a salary cap casualty, Jenkins will be the starter.

Roles established

Leonard Hankerson (round 3) is the third or fourth receiver on the field. Evan Royster (6) came in on some third down situations to spell Morris.

Possible 2013 starters

Starting right tackle Tyler Polumbus is a free agent as is 2010-2011 starter Jammal Brown. That could open the door for Tom Compton (6th round 2012) and Maurice Hurt (7) to compete for the job. When Polumbus missed the Week 17 game against the Eagles it was Hurt who got the call. He was respectable in that game but Compton could have more upside. Hurt has game experience, however, and that could give him an edge.

DeJon Gomes (5) has started eight games at safety in his two years but he hasn’t shown enough consistency to be able to hold on to the job. It seems unlikely that they will go into the season planning on him being the starter. However, they may rely on him as a Plan B if Brandon Meriweather is slow to recover from ACL surgery.

2013 role players

The only tight end the team has under contract is Niles Paul (5). He will have a role on the team on special teams, as a reserve tight end, and an emergency wide receiver. But even if Fred Davis and Logan Paulsen wind up playing elsewhere, it seems unlikely that Paul would get the starting job.

Uncertain roles

Chris Neild (7) is also coming off of a knee injury. In his rookie season he was respectable rotating in at nose tackle to spell Barry Cofield. He was in a battle with Chris Baker for his job during training camp last year when he tore his ACL. Baker is a restricted free agent and the chances that he will be back seem pretty strong. Neild will get a shot but barring the unforeseen there appears to be room for him or for Baker, not both.

After leading the team in rushing in 2011, Roy Helu Jr. (4) found himself on injured reserve with a variety of leg injuries. Now his future is up in the air. He could find himself with a spot as a change of pace running back to spell Morris or he could find himself back on injured reserve or looking for a job if he can’t.

Aldrick Robinson (6) appeared to be on the verge of breaking out an becoming a regular part of the offense but he tended to disappear for long stretches in between catching long touchdown passes. If he can develop some consistency to his game he might be able to take Santana Moss’ slot receiver role if the veteran is released for cap reasons.

Note: 2011 draft picks Brandyn Thompson (7) and Markus White (7) are no longer with the team.