The new Redskins Training Center will be ready for training camp
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
The Redskins have 17 rookies on their 90-man roster. During the course of the season, chances are that at least one of them will make an impact. Sometimes we know who will play a key role before things get started (like with Robert Griffin III last year). But surprises do emerge (see Alfred Morris).
Which rookies will have big debuts this year? Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir each pick an impact rookie on each side of the ball in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Rich Tandler: One area where rookies frequently make a instant impact is at running back so I’m looking forChris Thompson to make some plays. He should go into training camp at 100 percent after suffering a torn ACL last year. Thompson has the speed element that was missing from the backfield last year. It’s easy to see Kyle Shanahan drawing up some plays to get him the ball in space and seeing Thompson making big plays when he gets it.
Tarik El-Bashir: I’ll come right out and say it: I’m a sucker for speed and skill. So I fully endorse Rich’s choice to go with Thompson. For me, though, I can’t wait to see what the Shanahans have in store forJordan Reed. The versatile, 6 foot 3, 225-pound tight end hasn’t been on the field yet because of a somewhat concerning knee/quad issue, so he’s got some catching up to do. But he’s supposed to be ready for camp. He led all SEC tight ends with 45 receptions as junior last sason. But take a look at this video to see why I’m so intrigued.
El-Bashir: While I believe rookie safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo will be difference-makers in ’13, I’m expecting cornerback David Amerson to make the bigger impact – even if he doesn’t get a lot of run early on. That’s okay; he’s got a lot to learn and he’ll be starting the season fourth on the depth chart behind veterans DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers. Amerson’s size (6 foot 3, 194) and athleticism were apparent during the offseason program. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also mentioned that he’s meticulous in his preparation. And, oh yeah, did I mention that Amerson made 18 interceptions his final two seasons at NC State?
Tandler: Again, I’m going to look for a player at a position where a rookie can make an instant impact. And I’m going to stick with players the Redskins drafted out of Florida State in the fifth round. Jim Haslett said that he is going to look for ways to get linebacker Brandon Jenkins into games to get after the quarterback. Rookies can be effective rushing the passer. Since the 2000 season, 67 players have recorded five or more sacks in their rookie seasons. Jenkins appears to be fully recovered from the Lisfranc injury he suffered in the Seminoles’ season opener last year and it looks like he will be given the opportunity to make some plays.