What should be expected of the Redskins 2nd year players for 2019

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There was a lot of excitement over the Redskins 2018 draft class and undrafted free agents in camp last year, but when it was all said and done only 1st rounder Da’Ron Payne made an impact. Injuries really slowed down this group a year ago, but what should the Redskins expect for 2019? Can others join Payne as key producers or should expectations be tempered?

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DL Da’Ron Payne:

-Payne quickly established himself as a stud along the Redskins defensive line. He played 77% of the defensive snaps as a rookie, lining up all over the line. He finished the year with 56 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 passes batted down and a good number of pressures. Teaming up with Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis the Redskins have one of the best interior groups in the league. Add in EDGE rushers Ryan Kerrigan and rookie Montez Sweat and this Redskins defense has the makings of a top unit. Payne is a big part of that as the man in the middle and he should once again be looking at a similarly good season. He played at a Pro Bowl level as a rookie and he should be in the mix for an invite this season.

Related: Redskins 2019 Draft class expectations

RB Derrius Guice:

-Guice came in last year with a tremendous opportunity and would have been a perfect fit for the Redskins offense. A preseason ACL tear cut short his rookie year before it could begin and set the Redskins scrambling to find a replacement. Reports that Guice has recovered slowly aren’t ideal at this time, but it shouldn’t yet be a cause for concern. The Redskins re-signed Adrian Peterson so they wouldn’t have to rush Guice and that is the right call from the team. Hopefully Guice can get healthy enough for the start of the season, in that case I’d expect he splits early down work with Peterson and Chris Thompson handles 3rd down work. As the season wears on I see Guice taking a larger and larger role, including perhaps some of the 3rd down work as well. Guice should play a fairly decent role on the Redskins this year, but it’s probably a year away from him being a focal point of the offense. Long term though that is still very much a possibility.

OT Geron Christian:

-Christian was considered a bit of a long term project at tackle when he was drafted a year ago. That showed pretty quickly in the preseason when he was consistently struggling. The hope for the Redskins was that he could be the team’s 4th tackle for a year and he would develop into a swing tackle. Unfortunately injuries forced him into action week 8 versus the Falcons where he had to play 40 snaps. He started the following week before he suffered an injury and was out the rest of the year. With Ty Nsekhe in Buffalo this year, the Redskins need Christian to be their swing tackle and that is a bit concerning. He wasn’t on a great track to begin with last season, and then an injury set him back. Hopefully this year he can play a lot better in camp, otherwise the Redskins are in serious trouble if Trent Williams or Morgan Moses misses significant time.

S Troy Apke:

-Apke had an incredible Combine workout which got him pushed up in the draft class. His camp and preseason work was disappointing given his draft status, but the hope was he could develop, while being a core special teamer. Unfortunately he was injured week 1 and missed the next 5 weeks, came back and was injured again missing the rest of the season. In two partial games he played 22 special teams snaps and zero defensive snaps. The saving grace for Apke is the Redskins haven’t upgraded their free safety spot and he really only has Montae Nicholson to contend with (who could face a suspension). Apke will need a good camp/preseason to earn it, but the opportunity is there. The Redskins don’t have a real great situation opposite Landon Collins. Someone needs to step up. Right now I’d say Apke is likely to make the team and see some work on defense this year, but that could change pretty quickly.

DL Tim Settle:

-The Redskins landed Settle in the 5th round after a lot of hype and buzz had him as a top 100 player.  Settle had a strong preseason and on another team he might have gotten a larger opportunity, but with the Redskins he was no better than the 4th defensive lineman. He’s versatile enough to play both inside and out, and offers quality snaps both vs the pass and the run. Settle managed 134 defensive snaps a year ago, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him push that to 200-250 this year. Stacy McGee was released this offseason so the depth is a bit thinner this year. Unfortunately he won’t have much of an opportunity for an expanded role given the talent in front of him.

LB Shaun Dion-Hamilton:

-Dion-Hamilton was a nice pick-up in the 6th round a year ago. He likely would have gone higher if not for his injury history in college, which caused him to miss time the previous two years. Dion-Hamilton started out mainly on special teams, but the last four weeks of the season he split time with Zach Brown playing roughly 50% of the defensive snaps in that time frame. His play was pretty solid in those games and he showed the potential to be a quality starter. The Redskins did add his former Alabama teammate Reuben Foster and still have Mason Foster, so he might be the 3rd ILB on the team to start the year. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him surpass Mason Foster at some point this season.

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CB Adonis Alexander:

-Alexander was the Redskins 6th round supplemental selection a year ago. Being drafted later and a camp injury, set him back a bit last season. Alexander was only active for 9 games and managed just 11 defensive snaps to go along with his 117 special teams snaps. He’s a bigger corner and projects as a potential outside corner replacement for Josh Norman. He will need a strong camp and preseason to show that he’s got a future with the team though.

CB Greg Stroman:

-Stroman was a 7th round pick a year ago, but played well enough to earn the 4th corner role on the team in camp. He ended up with the 3rd highest snap percentage among corners (37%) on the team, with Dunbar and Moreau missing time. His play was generally what you’d expect of a 7th round rookie, but he flashed enough to show he can stick around this league. Ideally he’s not playing that much this season, but it was good experience for him to have.

WR Trey Quinn:

-Quinn was Mr. Irrelevant in the draft last year, but early reports were that Gruden loved him and had hoped to draft him a round or two earlier. Quinn earned a spot backing up Jamison Crowder in the slot last year, but saw injuries keep him off the field most of the year. He was injured early in his first game and was placed on IR for the next 7 weeks. He came off the IR list in week 9 and played 70% of the offensive snaps that week and the following game. Afterwards his injury flared up and the team shut him down for the remainder of the season. In that time that he played he caught 9 passes for 75 yards and a TD. He did a few nice things in that time, but it’s tough to get a read on such a small sample size. Quinn is the favorite to take over the primary slot duties this year, though the team could opt for a more rotational plan at the position. If Quinn can stay healthy he should have the opportunity to establish himself this year.

CB Danny Johnson:

-A good camp/preseason from Johnson helped lead the team to part ways with veteran Orlando Scandrick just a few months after signing him to a 2 year contract. Johnson earned his spot last year and was active every week before he went on IR the final two games. He was mainly used on special teams, but he did manage 67 snaps on defense. This year he will likely be competing with the Redskins other two 2nd year corners and rookie Jimmy Moreland for the three back-up spots. It’s possible he’s the odd man out, but it’s really too early to call. This will be one of the more intriguing camp battles to follow.

WR Cam Sims:

-Sims was a camp/preseason stalwart for the Redskins last year and earned a spot at the bottom of the roster. Unfortunately an injury week 1, put his NFL debut on hold. Sims is back this year facing a more crowded receiver room battle after the team drafted a pair of pass catchers. Despite the new competition Sims should be a solid bet to make the team assuming they keep six receivers. He might struggle to find playing time if he can’t outplay the new rookies. Still for a UDFA who barely produced in college, just making the team is a ‘win’.

TE Matt Flanagan:

-Flanagan was a UDFA signing from Pittsburgh last year who had a strong camp. Flanagan is more of an inline TE who can also line up in a FB or H-back role. With the Redskins set at TE in front of him, he was on the outside looking in, but his work in camp and preseason got him a practice squad spot. Flanagan was called up week 15 and managed 60+ offensive snaps down the stretch along with regular special teams work. He’s likely still no higher than 4th on the Redskins TE depth chart, but there has been some talk about the Redskins wanting a more traditional blocking TE on the team. He might earn a roster spot this year and contribute in that role.

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