Position series: Redskins wide receivers

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
2:41
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Our continuing series of position-by-position analyses of each of our division's four teams continues now with a look at the Washington Redskins' large and intriguing group of wide receivers.

Projected starters: Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson

Reserves: Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, Niles Paul

[+] EnlargePierre Garcon
John Grieshop/Getty ImagesThe Redskins believe Pierre Garcon has the potential to become an elite receiver.
Potential strength: Not trying to turn this category inside out, but the strength of this group is in its potential. Garcon and Morgan were the big free-agent acquisitions, but neither is a truly established threat. They were selected because Mike Shanahan believes they have shown the ability to develop into the types of wide receivers who will work and develop well with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and in Washington's style of offense. There is talent here, and whether and when this group turns into a strength of the team depends in large part on the ability of the coaching staff and Griffin to get the best out of it.

Potential weakness: Lack of experience. Sure, Moss has plenty of it, but his spot on the team isn't even guaranteed at this point, and if he is on the roster his role remains uncertain. It might help the development of Griffin and the offense if he had a couple of seasoned route-runners on this team. But the only one who fits that description is Moss, who will have a lot of teaching and mentoring to do in the offseason and training camp. While there's plenty to be excited about if all of these guys do what the Redskins believe they can do, there's not a lot on which they can rely at the outset. The competition for the final few spots in the wide receiver corps could help make those who win it more advanced and productive right away. Garcon, Morgan and Hankerson appear to be the only sure things to make it. Banks has an edge if no one can supplant him as the team's return man. Paul has been working with the tight ends and may make the team at that position.

Keep an eye on: Hankerson. He was starting to look good last year before a hip injury ended his season, and the Redskins' coaches believe he has the ability to develop into the true No. 1 game-breaker they have lacked. He has said he's fully healthy and cleared to participate in all offseason activities, and if he can stay healthy and develop a rapport with Griffin, he could be a big-time weapon for this offense in short order. He has the ability to create physical and athletic mismatches in the secondary, and the issues he had with actually catching the ball early last year seem to have been corrected.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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