10. Perry Riley: I don’t think an injury to Riley would be terribly damaging to the team by any stretch of the imagination, but with London Fletcher turning 37 next week, the Redskins need to know if Riley can play. He showed last season that he was better than Rocky McIntosh, but a full season of evaluation would be ideal.
9. Roy Helu: I really struggled with putting Helu on this list, since Mike Shanahan is so unpredictable with the way he utilizes his running backs. But I’m a believer. He had good rushing numbers in his rookie season, rushing for 640 yards on 4.2 yards per carry behind a crappy OL, but what really impresses me is that he caught 49 passes last year. And this was a guy that barely played on more than half his team’s snaps (50.2%, according to PFF).
Don’t read too much into this (I’m not saying Roy Helu will be LeSean McCoy), but here’s a quick comparison, just for fun:
|Rookie seasons||Rushes||Yards||YPC||Receptions||Yards||YPC||Total TD|
|LeSean McCoy in 2009||155||637||4.1||40||308||7.7||4|
|Roy Helu in 2011||151||640||4.2||49||379||7.7||3|
Kinda crazy how incredibly close all those numbers are.
8. Josh Wilson: He’s the only good, errr at least solid, player the Redskins have in their secondary.
7. London Fletcher: He is still a very good player, but his value to the Skins is in setting a veteran example for guys like Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, and maybe even Jonathan Goff, who are the future of the defense at ILB. Fletcher is more than just a rah rah guy; he’s one of the true leaders in the NFL, who hasn’t missed a single game in his entire 14-year career.
6. Pierre Garcon: They paid enough for the guy; he better not get hurt. OK, but seriously, by giving Garcon a $42 million deal over 5 years with over $20 million in guarantees even after they were slapped with the $36 million penalty, the Skins think he’s going to be a big part of what they want to do offensively. If RG3 pans out, the Skins can realistically be contenders in 2014 and even sooner if he really pans out. 2012 will be huge in terms of RG3 building repore with Garcon.
4 and 5. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan: I know. It’s a cop out to put them together. I started trying to figure which player I’d least want to lose if I were the Skins, and my brain started to hurt. These two players are the foundation of the defense, and assuming they stay in DC, the Skins will be building around them for the next decade. Orakpo should be at the stage in his career where he’s beginning to enter his prime, and Kerrigan is going into his second year, which is crucial for a player that’s expected to take on a leadership role in this defense.
3. Fred Davis: Davis, in my opinion, is the Redskins’ best player on offense. By placing him this high on the list, it should be fairly obvious that I think very highly of his game. I’ll even go as far as to say that I think that right now, he is one of the 5 best tight ends in the game. The Gronk and Jimmy Graham are far out in front, but I’d put Fred right in the mix with the Wittens and Vernon Davises of the NFL. I know that sounds stupid, but when I watch the games, and I watch what Fred Davis can do, I think he’s right there among the best. He’s going to vital to the progression of RG3.
2. Trent Williams: A sampling of some RDEs/ROLBs the Redskins’ LT will face this season: Adrian Clayborn (7.5 sacks, 3 FF), John Abraham (9.5 sacks, 4 FF), Jared Allen (22 sacks, 4 FF), Jason Pierre-Paul x2 (16.5 sacks, 2 FF), James Harrison (9 sacks, 2 FF), Charles Johnson (9 sacks, 1 FF), Trent Cole x2 (11 sacks, 1 FF), and DeMarcus Ware x2 (19.5 sacks, 2 FF).
Some teams are strong across the rest of their OL and can afford to give their LT additional help. This is not the case in Washington. There will be no shortage of times when Trent Williams will be asked to handle the above players one-on-one for long stretches of games. Last year, when Williams was lost for the last 4 games for failing a drug test, Willie Smith was awful. Williams needs to not only grow up, but begin to play like the enormously talented player that he is, and stay on the field. With the golden child in town, the stakes are higher.
1. RG3: Duh. Are you of the belief that RG3 should play immediately in Week 1, gaining as much experience as he can in his “honeymoon season?” I am, and if you agree, I think an argument could be made that if RG3 were to be lost for the season, it would be more devastating to the Redskins that any other injury would be to any of the other bEast teams. That’s not in terms of wins and losses, mind you… just in terms of losing the rookie season of the guy that’s supposed to turn your franchise around, this would be a disaster.