The Redskins will be brining back all 12 members of the draft class of 2011 this year. Which players will have the same role as they did in 2011, which will have increased responsibilities and which will have diminished roles this year? After OTA’s and minicamp, here is how it shakes out:
OLB Ryan Kerrigan (1056 snaps, 9 sacks in 2011)–You can’t do much more than he did last year. Kerrigan didn’t miss a snap and recorded nine sacks last year. He hit a rookie wall, getting only one sack in the last five games. If he can produce consistently 2012 should be the first of many double-digit sack seasons for Kerrigan.
RG Roy Helu Jr. (554 snaps, 151 carries, 640 yards, 2 TD’s)–Helu had a chance to put a stranglehold on the starting halfback job for this year but he could only get on the field for 11 plays in the past two games. Health issues derailed him during minicamp as well. Based on last year, it looks like he will have some great games in 2012 and he will be a spectator for some games as well.
LB Markus White (no defensive snaps in 2011, active and played special teams in two games)–Special teams are likely to White’s role again as it will be hard to get three-down players Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo off of the field.
NT Chris Neild (163 snaps, 2 sacks)–Neild should continue doing what he did last year, giving Barry Cofield an occasional breather. His roster spot is probably safe although Chris Baker could make a run at the job.
DE Jarvis Jenkins (on IR all of 2011)–He is still recovering from that knee injury but once he gets into football shape it will be hard to keep him out of the starting lineup.
WR Leonard Hankerson (126 snaps, 13 receptions, 163 yards)–He showed enough in his limited action last year for the organization to have some confidence in his ability but not enough to where they felt they could stand pat at the position. Hankerson should see plenty of playing time and will have a chance to make a big impact.
S DeJon Gomes (210 snaps, 19 tackles, 3 QB hurries)–We looked at Gomes in some depth in a recent article. The bottom line is that he has a chance to be a starter either this year or next. In any case, he should get more than 210 snaps.
TE Niles Paul (164 snaps, 2 receptions)–Paul’s storyline will be among the most interesting to follow this year as he transitions from wide receiver to being an undersized tight end.
RB Evan Royster (158 snaps, 56 carries, 328 yards)–Royster came a long way last year. He looked lost in training camp but he finished out the year strong with two 100-yard efforts in the last three games. It is unlikely that he will become the primary back this year but he will get some opportunities as there is likely to be no primary back on the team.
WR Aldrick Robinson (did not play in 2011)–In minicamp, Robinson has had the look of someone who is ready to make the roster and contribute. He is someone to watch in training camp.
CB Brandyn Thompson (4 snaps in 2011)–Thompson has some playmaking ability and that kept him around. But he didn’t flash much in the offseason practices and he could end up losing his roster spot to rookies Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford.
OL Maurice Hurt (557 snaps, started 8 games)–The player who saw the most offensive snaps as a rookie last year could be in danger of not making the team in 2012. He has been playing tackle during the offseason workouts and he will have to beat out Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, and James Lee. Might not make it.