Mike Shanahan always likes to talk about players taking advantage of opportunities when they get them. He has said that he likes to give a reserve player who steps in and performs when he is needed additional opportunities down the line.
If that is the case, look for Roy Helu Jr. to get the ball in his hands a little more often as the season goes on. He stepped in for an injured Alfred Morris and made two critical plays to clinch the Redskins’ first game of the year.
The plays came back to back. On the first one he improvised a pass route as Robert Griffin III scrambled to his right. Helu turned a 10-yard pass into 28 yards when he turned up field and hurdled a would-be tackler. On the next play, Helu dashed up the middle to score from 14 yards out to give them a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“When Roy did get his opportunities … I was really pleased with him because he was ready both in the running game and the passing game,” said Shanahan. “You could see his speed, his strength, and he took advantage of a couple of opportunities to get some big plays.”
But will he get more opportunities? He might, according to Kyle Shanahan.
“You never know, you see how the game plays out, what you're getting, what plays you call,” the Redskins’ offensive coordinator said. “We know Helu's a good player, we know what he did his rookie year here. You can tell that he's healthy and that he's the same guy he was his rookie year. I would like to give him the ball more and I think he's done a good job with it. Hopefully it works out for him and we expect him to do what he did [against Oakland].”
As a rookie in 2011, Helu led the team in rushing, picking up 640 yards on 151 carries.
We’re a day away from the start of the NFL draft and all the questions surrounding the Redskins’ intentions will start to get answered when they go on the clock at about 10 p.m. on Thursday.
[More Redskins: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]
Speaking at the team’s annual pre-draft news conference, Scott Campbell, the team’s director of college scouting, stuck with the company line when he was asked about making picks based on team needs.
“I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said. “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.”
It would be a big “bonus” for the Redskins if a defensive lineman who can rush the passer and stuff the run was the best player on the board when their first-round pick comes up at No. 17. But it doesn’t look like the board will play out that way. That’s OK because the Redskins have plenty of needs.
In fact, it’s not hard to do a mock draft for the Redskins because they have needs at virtually every position. Certainly, some needs are more urgent than others. But once you get past the first couple of rounds there is enough doubt at each position, whether it’s immediate depth or possible free agency holes in 2018, to get that need “bonus” with every pick.
Campbell said that this is a strong defensive draft and this is reflected in these mock selections, with six of the 10 picks going to defense including the top two. The first offensive pick may surprise some but the talent was just too good at that point in the draft.
Go here to see the full seven-round mock draft.
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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins.
Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.
Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well.
For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.
The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.
Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.
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