The NFLs 18th-ranked rusher is not a running back.Its Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who in two games has carried the ball 20 times for 124 yards. The next quarterback on the list is Carolinas Cam Newton, who has 75 yards on 18 carries.If Griffin maintains this pace, he'll finish his rookie season with 160 carries. Newton led all quarterbacks last season with 126 attempts.I think it will die down over the course of the year, Griffin said. Some games Ill carry the ball 10 times. Some games Ill carry the ball two times. Its just a matter of how defenses are going go play.Although Griffin has not suffered an injury, the high number of carries figures to expose him to the possibility. A prime example came in the second quarter Sunday, when Griffin was drilled in the neck and back of the head as he scrambled for 15 yards up the middle.Griffin said he expected to be sore Monday morning but wasnt. He also said he attempts to avoid getting hit as much as possible.I try to, he said. On designed runs, I cant really give it to anyone. I just have to go out there and try to make something happen. But on some of the runs where I break the pocket, I do try to dump it off to guys and stretch it out as much as I can. Theres always ways to avoid hits. But some of the hits I was getting in this past game were unavoidable.Griffin said he wasnt concerned about getting hit in high school. But as a sophomore at Baylor, Coach Art Briles began talking to him about weighing risk vs. reward.Coach taught me to get what you can, but protect yourself and get down, Griffin said. Ive become pretty good at avoiding hits, or avoiding the bigger hits. There were a couple times against the Rams they were leading with their helmets and I had to dodge them. Its just something that Ive been accustomed to: being able to move my body that way.
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.
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.
2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:
* Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars
* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans