Thursday, December 5, 2013
Rookie report: How the 2013 class has fared
By John Keim
ASHBURN, Va. -- It’s tough to judge a draft in less than a year, let alone with four games remaining. But you can measure player' progress and try to gauge where they might be headed. Then you need to wait a couple years.
Thus far, when it comes to the 2013 draft, the Redskins have found one player capable of being outstanding (Jordan Reed) and another who has contributed all season (David Amerson). After that, there are a lot of question marks (as there should be after less than a full season) and potential role players. If you can get two quality starters and a couple key contributors from a seven-player draft, then you’ve done rather well. This class has a ways to go.
Cornerback David Amerson (second round): He’s tackled better than I anticipated, especially after watching him in college. You see a lot of the same things from his N.C. State days -- an ability to make plays, but also getting sloppy with his technique at times. He still has all the skills you want and looks the part. He made a game-changing play against Oakland and had a big interception against San Diego. But in the latter game he also was beaten a few times, partly because his eyes were in the wrong place in certain coverages. Which is what happened in college. He can clearly play in the NFL, but can he be a solid starter -- not just start, but play at a higher level? Needs to show a lot more to go that far.
Tight end Jordan Reed (third round): Have liked him since early in camp because of his athleticism and ability to get open, and his work ethic. Can he stay healthy? That was a knock on him coming out of college, and he’s had to deal with a couple issues thus far, including his recent concussion. He’s a better blocker than I thought he’d be as a rookie. When he was drafted, I didn’t think he’d be a viable replacement right away for Fred Davis because of this. It took Davis a few years to learn to block. But a key point: Reed has worked much harder. It matters.
Strong safety Phillip Thomas (fourth round): On injured reserve. Impossible to say what he might have done; we didn’t see enough, nor did he get a chance to really work on his game once the preseason started because of his injury. I know the coaches liked his progress this summer. It’s a start.
Running back Chris Thompson (fifth round): Also on injured reserve. Made no impact when healthy. In the preseason he looked fast, but that wasn’t the case in the regular season as he misjudged the speed of those trying to tackle him on returns. Because of his size and past injuries, durability always will be an issue. That will limit his role even if he does come through. He has the speed (and quick acceleration) you want, but needs plenty of work. Speed alone won’t cut it.
Linebacker Brandon Jenkins (fifth round): I don’t buy the idea that he would have been a first-round pick had he stayed healthy. He looked like a raw pass-rusher this summer, albeit one who was worth developing. He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities, which is understandable given who’s ahead of him at linebacker. For now he looks like a role player who, because of his size and ability to run, needs to develop on special teams as well. But I’m intrigued to see how he develops. He showed flashes last summer, but a lot of guys do. Year 2 will tell a lot.
Safety Bacarri Rambo (sixth round): Opened as the starter, but more so because of who the Redskins didn’t have than for his own performance. He tackled poorly, wasn’t a good special teamer and deserved to be pulled. He had the reputation as a ballhawk in college, yet he doesn’t make plays (didn’t see it in practice or games). I love how he’s responded -- he’s tackled much better since his return. The next four games will help him. Regardless, safety will remain an offseason priority. They need a quality starter at this position. If Rambo can develop into a quality backup and special-teamer, then he’s a good sixth-round pick.
Running back Jawan Jamison (seventh round): Still on the practice squad. Wasn’t wowed by him this summer, though there were things to like (ability to make defenders miss with a little second-level wiggle).