All season long I been getting tweets asking about the status of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, the team’s third-round draft pick who has been inactive for all three games this season.
The queries have escalated in recent days for a couple of reasons. Anthony Armstrong missed the second half of the Dallas game and he may or may not be ready to play on Sunday, opening the possibility that Hankerson could fill his spot on the active roster. And many fans believe that a big wide receiver such as Hankerson would help the Redskins with their problems scoring touchdowns in the end zone.
I am sorry to report to Hankerson’s fans that even if Armstrong is inactive on Sunday, Hankerson is likely to be a spectator once again. As Terrence Austin and Donte Stallworth have alternated being the active backup receivers so far this year, the most likely scenario is that they both would be active if Armstrong can’t go.
This is not based on any information from the coaches—they will not discuss who will be active and inactive during the week—so there is a chance of a surprise. However, the odds are that while Hankerson’s day will come, it might not come anytime soon.
While this is disappointing to those who are anxious to see Hankerson on the field, it should not be taken as a sign that Hankerson is a draft bust or anything like that. The Redskins knew that he would be a long-term project when they drafted him. He needs to learn how to hold on to the ball better and to polish his route running and his run blocking technique.
Hankerson is frequently one of the last players off of the practice field so it appears that he is working to improve. His efforts may bear fruit sometime in the next month or so or maybe not until next year. Hankerson’s time will come but it is not likely to come this Sunday.