With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir examine the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
28—Which rookie will have the biggest impact this year?
Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden have noted on multiple occasions that the Redskins do not expect that any of the eight players they drafted to start right away. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t expect a contribution from the rookie class. Which draft pick will have the biggest impact in 2014?
Tandler: I hate to be Capt. Obvious here but I think the team will get a lot out of top draft pick Trent Murphy this year. Jay Gruden indicated last week that they have a plan for him that includes him lining up all over the front of the defense including in a three-point stance as a 3-technique defensive end. Outside linebackers coach Brian Baker was very pleased with both Murphy’s natural ability and his preparation and work ethic. And here’s one other thing to keep in mind. With Brian Orakpo set to be a free agent in 2015, the team needs to see if they have a possible replacement for him in Murphy. They will need to play him enough to see if they can afford to let Orakpo walk if the veteran’s price tag gets too high. That should give Murphy a substantial workload and the player who led college football in sacks last year will produce if he gets the chance.
El-Bashir: I’m going to go with Morgan Moses. Based on OTAs and minicamp, incumbent right tackle Tyler Polumbus figures to be the starter in Week 1. And, if that’s how things unfold, that’s completely okay. No need to throw Moses to the wolves before he’s ready to fend for himself. But know this: the Redskins expended a decent amount of time and energy searching for a new starting right tackle this offseason. (Remember their attempt to sign then-free agent Donald Penn?). In the end, the Redskins couldn’t find a suitable upgrade. So they drafted Moses, a player they expect to eventually become the long-term solution at the position. When will Moses take over? That depends on a number of factors, including how quickly he gets up to speed on the playbook, refines his technique and, of course, Polumbus’ performance early on. It’s tough to predict how all of that will shake out, but my gut feeling is that Moses will end up starting a handful of games in 2014.