In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at the Redskins’ rookies, grade their performance in 2012 and take a look at their future prospects.
Today, we’re examining running back Alfred Morris.
Drafted: Sixth round (173rd overall).
Stats: 1,613 yards on 335 attempts and 13 touchdowns.
2012: Morris exceeded all reasonable expectations in his first season, rushing for the second most yards and touchdowns in the NFL while carrying the ball more than all but two players. He broke the Redskins’ single-season record for rushing yards and proved to be the workhorse runner Coach Mike Shanahan’s offense needed to thrive. In fact, the Redskins were 9-1 when the 24-year-old carried the ball 20 or more times in a game. Morris fumbled four times during a seven-game span during the second half of the season but did not put a ball on the turf during the final four contests.
Prospects: As impressive as his stats were, teammates and coaches were equally blown away by Morris’ work ethic and willingness to be tutored on the finer points of being an NFL running back. In addition to learning how to better care for his body, the Florida Atlantic product made significant progress in pass protection and pass catching (five of his 11 receptions came in the final three games) down the stretch. Some of Morris’ success, however was the direct result of defenses being kept off balance by the threat quarterback Robert Griffin III posed. If Griffin is sidelined for any amount of time next season, it will be interesting to see the effect it will have on Morris’ output.