At the start of the season, this new-to-the-Redskins writer said that the rookies could have a big role to play, little did I realise quite how big. Here I am going to look at the performances of the Redskins rookies through the 2012 regular season.
Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, lived up to all the hype, and exceeded expectations to lead Washington to a 10-6 regular season record and their first NFC East title since ’99. The man they call RG3 broke the rookie quarterback rushing record previously set by Cam Newton and generally harassed defences all season, even when injured he performed to a level higher than most quarterbacks in the league.
The biggest surprise to some was the performance of sixth round pick, the 173rd overall pick of the NFL draft, Alfred Morris. Though it was clear during pre-season that Morris was a special talent. He rushed for over 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season as an NFL running back. As the 173rd pick of the 2012 draft Morris can only be described as exceptional value, particularly if, as expected, he continues this level of production in 2013.
Third round pick, Guard, Josh LeRibeus played in five games, losing one and picking up four wins in the Redskins’ run of victories since the loss to the Panthers. LeRibeus looks to have a part to play in the Washington offense next season.
Backup quarterback, Kirk Cousins was the first player Washingon took in the fourth round and he has exceeded expectations. Not only did Cousins beat out veteran QB Rex Grossman to land the backup quarterback spot but he also ably stood in for Griffin when RG3 was injured against the Ravens. Cousins played the next game against the Browns, and lead the Redskins to a win, looking like a very good backup in the process. Don’t be surprised if some team liked what they saw enough to make a trade for Cousins, possibly for a second round draft pick, thus giving the Redskins even more value than they anticipated.
The second pick of the fourth round was linebacker Keenan Robinson. Robinson played in 11 games, registering 11 tackles. While at times his play was good, with two games featuring three tackles, this figure is lower than expected for a linebacker. Overall solid but not spectacular.
5th round pick, Guard, Adam Gettis is yet to see the field for the Redskins. Therefore regardless of future ability, this pick is deemed by this writer as fairly unsuccessful. If Gettis has a breakout seasoning 2013 then the grading for this pick will change but for now it is what it is.
The Redskins used the first of their three sixth round picks to select offensive tackle Tom Compton. The 193rd pick of the draft was cut before the season, cleared waivers, and then wound up on the practice squad. Compton recently made the active roster in place of the suspended Cedric Griffin. While he is not expected to play this season he has used his time watching film of his fellow offensive line, in a bid to see the field in 2013.
Cornerback, Richard Crawford was next to be selected in round six and has had an up and down season. Crawford got game time in the early weeks of the season, then had to sit out for sometime, before getting a chance to take over from Brandon Banks on punt returns. A scintillating return for 64 yards against the Baltimore Ravens showed Crawford has a place in the 53.
The final pick of the 2012 NFL draft for Washington was used on Iowa Safety, Jordan Bernstine. Jordan was injured against New Orleans in game one. A torn ACL, MCL and PCL in his right knee put Bernstine out for the season. Bernstine would have had a chance to get games at safety with Merriweather’s early season injury, he was also impressing on special teams. It remains to be seen if Jordan can return to full physical fitness next season but if he can, he could be challenging for a roster spot.
It is worth noting that Washington also retained two of the 12 undrafted rookies they signed. Chase Minnifield was projected by the Redskins as a third round draft pick, before suffering a knee injury in January. Minnifield broke down again at the end of mini-camp in June. If he can return from injury to full full fitness, Washington could get value and production from Minnifield in 2013. Darius Hanks will find himself at the back of a line of wide receivers, should he have recovered sufficiently from his shoulder injury by then.
Overall, the Redskins draft could not be called anything less than a success. Sure there are some players that have seen little-to-no playing time, but they also drafted Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and Kirk Cousins. Regardless of the other selections those three picks are enough to give the Redskins a B at least. Aren’t they?
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