What offensive player will have the biggest impact this season for the Redskins outside of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III? It’s a question with a lot of possible answers but few certainties. I’m going to only focus on skill position guys (mainly as to not get depressed with the state of the offensive line). Now while it might be simple to say that the player with the most yards or catches has the biggest impact, but that isn’t always the case.
Garcon was the Redskins big free agent signing this year and figures to be the top receiver on the team. Garcon might not be a true number one, but has deep speed and has put up pretty big numbers the last three years (including last year with out Peyton Manning). On the downside Garcon has never been the top option before, and could struggle facing tougher coverages. He’s also had some drop issues in the past, and his deep speed may go to waste some with Griffin lacking a quality line to give him time.
Helu figures to be the running back who gets the most carries next season and should be able to gain over a 1,000 yards on the ground. The Redskins are also likely to feature the run more this season then the previous two years, giving Helu a greater chance to showcase himself. In addition to his rushing ability, Helu figures to play a pretty significant role in the passing game as well, and will likely finish 3rd or 4th on the team in receptions. Helu’s combined production could be key for the Skins success this year, but a lot of it is based on potential. While Helu was fairly productive last season, his yards per carry average (4.2) was influenced by some of his garbage time work where he was able to run draw plays versus 6 man fronts. Helu was also banged up with injuries last year, and the question becomes can he hold up with a starters work load.
Davis had a bit of a breakout season last year and probably would have led the team in receptions if not for his 4-game suspension last year. He’s a very athletic pass catching tight end, who has the speed to stretch the field and pick up big yards after the catch. With a rookie QB, Davis has a chance to emerge as the favorite target and a guy who gets a lot of targets because he’s safer than WR’s running deep. Davis should be a favorite red zone target, given his size and mismatch potential. On the downside Davis is not a strong blocker, which can force him to cut down on his overall snaps a bit. Davis would also disappear in games last year, ususally not being productive until the end of the game, when defenses were protecting leads.
Hankerson had a rough rookie year as the lockout slowed down his developmental time before the season, and an injury forced him out of the 2nd half of the season. Hankerson is supossedly on schedule and is a favorite to win the 2nd WR job. He’s got a nice size/speed combo, and could find a lot of success in the intermediate/red zone passing game. The downside is of course the fact that the Redskins might not be able to count on a guy as much in coming back from an injury.
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While they can play fairly significant roles on the team, it is hard to imagine any of Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Santana Moss and Chris Cooley will get enough touches to warrant a spot on this list. Josh Morgan can make an interesting case, but he’s likely to be the 3rd receiver and might not have enough touches.
Who do you think will be the x-factor for the Skins offense and how would you order the 4 guys on this list in terms of being a leader?