The Washington Redskins 2013 draft class looks promising so far and they had good showings in their first preseason action versus the Titans.
Now that we’re a few months removed from the draft and the rookies have had some time with the team, how do you think the rookies will perform this year? Will they have a big impact on the team? Do you see anybody stepping up to play significant minutes or will most rookie contributions come from playing certain roles? How do you see their long-term careers playing out?
I think there is potential for the rookie class to have a pretty steady impact on the field this year (slightly less now that Phillip Thomas is on IR). Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments section on the rookie class. Here is my take:
David Amerson- (CB)
It is becoming apparent that Amerson will see a lot of time this year. The Redskins have definitely gotten the player they thought they were getting when they made the NC State product the 53rd pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. As a rookie we should all know that he is going to make some mistakes. He still has the tendency to gamble some for interceptions and get burnt bad on some deep routes/double moves. As a rookie though this is to be expected and something the Redskins hope he will grow out of. One good thing is that Amerson has great size and length which has been on display throughout training camp and versus the Titans last Thursday night. I believe Amerson will have a very solid rookie campaign for the Redskins. It’s clear he has the talent to make it to a couple pro bowls during his career, but he’s got to refine his skills to get there, mostly his discipline. As a rookie he will make a lot of plays for us, but also give up some big ones too. Amerson has always been able to generate a lot of turnovers throughout his career, and if he can do so he should make a few pro bowls because of it.
Jordan Reed- (TE)
Reed seems like a very talented and naturally gifted athlete. Currently, he is being held back because of several reasons. Right now he needs more development as a route runner and blocker, the latter of which is going to need the most work. I don’t think he will have much of an impact with us his rookie season because he has had injury problems with his knee and foot and he’s stuck behind Fred Davis as our main tight end pass catching option. Reed is actually the one player I think that has the biggest bust potential of this draft class. The talent is there, but I get the feeling that he’s already injury prone and that he may not ever reach his full potential. Maturity issues surrounding Reed coming out of college concerned many and is one of the reasons he fell to the late third round of the draft, because it certainly wasn’t talent. Currently, we have so many options ahead of him at this point that I doubt he is going to get much playing time this season. This is why I was never a fan of the selection to begin with, but that’s another blog for another day and something I’ve been harping on since April.
Phillip Thomas- (S)
Unfortunately as we all know at this point, the Redskins have lost Phillip Thomas for the season due to a lisfranc injury. The impact that Thomas was going to have on the defense was hard to tell as he was likely slated to be a backup and would be doing a lot of on the job learning. He has the physical tools to be a very good safety, and it hurts that he is going to have to miss out on a full season of playing time where he could be learning from his rookie mistakes.
Chris Thompson- (RB)
Thompson has explosive speed and if he can get and stay healthy he will be a great weapon coming out of our backfield and as a kick returner. The thought of Thompson and RG3 in the backfield could be a nightmare for opposing defenses. From the day he was drafted, my biggest issue with Thompson is that he is injury prone, something that can simply be bad luck, but is still concerning. He suffered multiple injuries while at FSU, including a broken back as a junior and a torn ACL as a senior. When healthy, Thompson was one of the best game-breaking running backs in the nation. I’m actually quite concerned about Thompson’s chances of making our roster. He has not been able to get and stay healthy this off-season, all while Roy Helu has gotten healthy and performed well versus the Titans last Thursday. Helu, Royster and Thompson’s draft mate Jawan Jamison have all had healthy and productive off-seasons and camp, which could leave Thompson as the odd man out. This is putting the pressure on Thompson to do something special soon, if he doesn’t, then he could be on the chopping block in hopes that we could put him on the practice squad.
One thing that Thompson does give us is potential explosion to our return game. As for his career, it all comes down to health. I think we could have a very good thunder and lightning combo with Morris and Thompson in the backfield, as Thompson as the potential to be more of an explosive option than Helu. I envision Thompson (if healthy) to be at worst, a Kevin Faulk type player for us, and at best a Brian Westbrook type player. Basically if they use him as a role player I could see a Kevin Faulk type career, and if they give him a few seasons to carry the load a few years down the line or if Morris gets injured/worn out, he could have a Brian Westbrook type career.
Brandon Jenkins- (OLB)
Jenkins was another player that is a bit of a health risk for coming out of college. Unlike Reed and Thompson though, Jenkins has gotten healthy and performed well this training camp and during the 1st preseason game. I’m very optimistic about Jenkins’ long term prospects. He has the talent to be a starter in the NFL and will be a pass rushing specialist for us this season. Even in his rookie season I think he will make an impact for us as he could have several sacks strictly as a pass rusher. As for his career, obviously I think he has the potential to be a very good pass rusher in the NFL. His biggest obstacle will be finding playing time, since we are pretty well set at outside linebacker at this point. Growing more as a run stopper should come with time, and will help in the long-term.
Bacarri Rambo- (FS)
Rambo has turned into my favorite pick by the Redskins in this year’s draft for multiple reasons. I thought prior to the draft that from a talent standpoint, he was one of, if not the, most talented safeties in this class. To get him in the 6th round was a huge steal. I think he will get the most playing time of our 3 rookies in the secondary. Like Amerson, I am sure Rambo is going to get beat for big plays a couple times in his rookie season. Both Amerson and Rambo are risk takers on the field, and sometimes they are both a little too aggressive. This is something that I think will get better over time for both of them. That said, I think Rambo makes the most plays for us out of all of our secondary players. I think in his career he will be a very good free safety. I don’t think he will ever be considered top 3/elite at the position, but I could see him being a borderline top 5/top 10 Free Safety in the league.
Jawan Jamison- (RB)
I have low expectations for Jamison this season as I think he will be on the practice squad. Currently, there is too much talent at running back on our roster for him to make an immediate impact. I expect him to be stashed away on the practice squad for a year or two as he develops for our future.
*Chase Minnifield- (CB)
Obviously, Minnifield is not a rookie, but since he didn’t get to play last year, I think it is appropriate that we include him in this years rookie class. Even though he too is injury prone, he has lots of potential which he flashed not only at the beginning of last off-season but in the preseason game vs the Titans this year. He is probably my favorite CB on the roster right now. I like the physicality he plays with and if he can get over his injuries, we really have a very promising young secondary. It’s easy to forget since he went undrafted that he was viewed as a first/second round player prior to his injury in college. I think he has the talent to be our best/most consistent CB. I think Amerson will generate more turnovers, but Minnifield will give up far less plays.
Overall, I am very happy with this draft class and think we did an excellent job turning our biggest weakness from last year (the secondary), into a group that has the POTENTIAL (key word here) to be one of the better secondaries in the league in the next couple years. There is definitely going to be plenty of mistakes this season with the group of defensive backs as they are rookies afterall, but I like the young talent we now have at both cornerback and safety. While Chris Thompson wasn’t my preferred selection in round 5, he does have the potential to give our offense a completely different dimension that could be deadly alongside RG3. I also like the risk we took on Brandon Jenkins, as you can never have enough quality pass rushers.
The two picks I question are Reed and Thompson. Reed has talent, but between his character issues, injury concerns, not being much of an impact in camp thus far, and him having to beat out the incumbent tight ends, I just get the feeling that he is likely to bust with us. If I could do the draft over for us he is probably the only pick that I would change, which in my eyes is a pretty good draft. If we drafted an inside line backer (ILB) in round 3 or 5, I would have viewed the Redskins draft class as absolutely perfect.
After we lost Lorenzo Alexander, I was shocked we didn’t draft another ILB in preferably round 3, but it could have waited to round 5 also. Again, Chris Thompson was a complete surprise. Maybe there weren’t more talented running backs on the board at the time, but there were more reliable ones available.
Even though we took a second running back in round 7 with Jawan Jamison, I did not have a problem with that selection. I saw him as one of the best players available in round 7 when we selected and that’s always what you do in round 7.
That said I can’t wait to see our rookies on the field this season. They are our future and the future seems to be bright with these guys added to the fold.