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Hankerson: "I'm ready"

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Hankerson: "I'm ready"

Leonard Hankerson said his recovery from hip surgery remains on target and that hes anxiously awaiting his return to the field next week at Redskins Park.

Right now, Im feeling pretty good, the second-year receiver said at Brian Orakpos youth football camp in Fairfax. Ive been in the training room this whole off-season, working out, working on my hip, doing little things to get me prepared for next Wednesday.

Veterans report to Ashburn on Wednesday; the first practice of training camp is Thursday.

I cant wait to get out there and get going and see how it goes for me, added Hankerson, who, if healthy, could be another weapon for an improved receiving corps that includes veterans Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Santana Moss.

Hankerson showed flashes of promise last season he had eight receptions for 108 yards at Miami in November before a torn labrum in his right hip ended his season. In four games, the 23-year old notched 13 catches for 163 yards and no touchdowns.

Hankerson underwent surgery in February, but was withheld from last months mini camp for precautionary reasons.

The surgery impacted me a little bit because I missed all of the off-season program with my teammates, Hankerson said. I wanted to be out there working with them guys, but I couldnt because of the injury. I was a little disappointed, but it didnt stop me. I kept working, stayed focused doing the little things I had to get done. Im ready.

Hankerson said he has yet to be on the receiving end of a pass from rookie Robert Griffin III. But the wait, he added with a smile, will end soon enough.

Ive talked to him a couple of times, Hankerson said. Hes there now, so Im going to get back over there and go workout with him. Were going to have a lot of fun.

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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM IS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH PLANS FOR NEW STADIUM

He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

RELATED: RANKING THE TOP ROOKIE QBS FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL

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Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Rookie camps are in the books as teams now move to organized team activities. Does that mean it's too early for fantasy football rankings? 

Probably, but seeing as the rookies are new to the scene, we might as well start projecting where and how they fit. 

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Sterling Shepard and Michael Thomas were among the rookies who produced and then some in 2016.

Based on the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s hope for even more first-year standouts.  

Starting with the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall, 19 skill players were drafted in the first and second round.

That includes fellow first-round quarterback selections Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Several sleeper candidates followed. 

Here’s my look at the Elite Eight quarterbacks with the 2017 fantasy football season -- and beyond -- in mind.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:

Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans