The Redskins preseason is half over and I thought now would be a good time to look at 5 players who have improved their stock this preseason:
-Robinson flashed some of his athletic ability and potential as a rookie back in 2012, but it was just in small doses and he was behind Fletcher and Riley. Robinson’s future got murky the 2nd half of his rookie year when he tore his pectoral muscle and was out for the 2nd half of the year. His future got even worse last year when Robinson suffered another pectoral injury and missed the entire preseason and regular season. Despite missing a year and a half of development, Robinson has come on this year and been an impressive replacement for London Fletcher this training camp and preseason so far. He’s showing good instincts and reaction time, and utilizing his speed and athleticism to make some plays. While he might not be a top level inside linebacker just yet, he’s showing real promise and should at least give the Redskins an above average option in the middle for this season.
-Josh LeRibeus was the Redskins 3rd round pick in 2012, in a move that surprised a number of draft observers given his relatively weak draft stock. LeRibeus didn’t do much to alleviate his doubters concern with holding out until the start of camp and then having a weak preseason performance. Despite his higher draft selection LeRibeus was outplayed by fellow rookie guard Adam Gettis for that first camp and preseason. LeRibeus did get some work in the Redskins final regular season game and playoff game, but it was a small sample size. Any potential thoughts of LeRibeus coming into his own his 2nd season were dashed when he showed up to camp overweight and out of shape. LeRibeus struggled throughout the preseason and was left inactive for most of the Redskins season. This year the Redskins signed veteran Shawn Lauvao for the open guard starting spot. They also added veteran interior lineman Mike McGlynn and rookie 3rd rounder Spencer Long to beef up their interior, because they couldn’t rely on LeRibeus. It appears that LeRibeus has gotten the message as he’s played the best he’s had in a Redskins uniform this preseason so far. Now to be fair it’s been against a lot of 2nd and 3rd teamers, but that is who he was working against the previous two preseason’s and he struggled. LeRibeus still has some work to do, but he now looks like he’s earning a spot based on his play rather than his draft position. He probably won’t challenge for a starting role, but he should be a back-up and maybe he could replace Chris Chester at some point this season.
-David Amerson struggled for much of his rookie year, and was notorious for giving up big plays last season. While he had some good games, most of his games were pretty forgettable as he struggled to cover mainly 3rd receivers. Amerson also had a reputation for not helping out in run support and for the most part he was average in this department a year ago. He also struggled some on special teams, and it resulted in some negative plays for the Redskins unit last year. Early reports out of camp are that he’s doing a much better job in covering receivers, though he hasn’t really been challenged in the preseason so far given the level of competition he’s gone up against. Where Amerson has shined in the preseason though is in his run support and special teams play, both of which have apparently improved. If Amerson can reach his potential and become a consistent good corner it will go a long way to improving the Redskins defense.
-Niles Paul has struggled in his conversion from receiver to tight end these past two years, but he remains in the Redskins plans due to his special teams ability. Unfortunately due to injuries each of the last two years, Paul has been thrust into a larger role than the Redskins probably would have liked. In that time he hasn’t shown much as a receiver, including having far too many drops considering history as a wide receiver. His blocking while better than his receiving ability hasn’t been too good either. Though the Redskins hope to not need him this year for a role in the offense, injuries could once again be an issue and they wouldn’t have much of a choice. Paul has done a nice job this preseason, catching a few passes and showing a little better as a blocker than years past. He isn’t going to challenge Jordan Reed anytime soon, but the Redskins should feel more confident in their depth with Paul.
-It’s been a rough career for Jenkins so far. As a rookie in 2011, Jenkins tore his ACL in the preseason wiping out his entire rookie year. The next season he was back, but like many guys recovering from an ACL injury Jenkins didn’t look like the same player that he was before the injury. Jenkins was known for a quick burst and strong power that would knock linemen back and catch them off balance. He didn’t bring that to the table as much when he came back from the injury. Last year was supposed to be Jenkins’ chance to redeem himself and boost his stock back-up. Unfortunately he was suspended for the first 4 games for violating the PED policy of the league. While he came back and he was solid for the Redskins, he wasn’t giving the team the impact they were looking for. In the offseason they signed Jason Hatcher to big contract to take over Jenkins’ starting role. With Hatcher sidelined for much of camp and the first 2 preseason games, Jenkins has had a chance to show that he’s improved some, and so far the results look promising. Jenkins might not be a starter this year, but it looks like he can be a valuable sub along the defensive line. He’s displaying more quickness and power than we’ve seen the past two years, and he could give the Redskins some valuable depth.