Though Leonard Hankerson may rank as the Redskins top offensive sleeper this year, there are plenty of other guys to watch for this season. Here are 5 other offensive players who could considered a bit of a “sleeper”.
-Hurt began camp last year as the Redskins 3rd or 4th string right tackle, depending on if you considered Jammal Brown to be in the mix. Though he was a longshot then to make much of an impact the idea was that it might be the better long term position for him. Unfortunately for Hurt his transition to right tackle and any shot of earning a starting job went out the window when Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a set back at the beginning of camp and it became unclear if he could start the season. Rookie 3rd rounder Josh LeRibeus was too raw for the team to trust, so they had Hurt playing guard. Hurt got the chance to start at RT late in the year when Tyler Polumbus was out with an injury and top back-up Jordan Black was suspended. Hurt handled himself fairly well that game, and gave at least a little promise that he had some potential at the position. Though he’s still a longshot for the starting job, Hurt could put himself a good position to win it at somepoint if he has a strong camp.
-Robinson got a little bit of playing time last year and proved himself to be a pretty decent deep threat. While there are questions about what he can do with some of the more intermediate routes, Robinson showed good promise in preseason last year working with the back-ups. He also suffered a setback last year after his pre-game collision with Brandon Meriweather, so his health should be better as well. While he’s not really in consideration for a starting role, he could earn himself a greater percentage of snaps and targets if he plays with more consistency.
-Helu did have an impressive string of games as a starter his rookie year before he got injured, but last year couldn’t stay healthy and the team is unsure what to make of him for this year. If he is healthy though Helu could have a big year as the change of pace back for the Redskins. With Robert Griffin III limited in his running ability this year, there should be more carries for the running backs to split. Helu can be more of an edge back, and receiver out of the backfield, two areas where Alfred Morris doesn’t excel at. In fact this could end up being Helu’s best role going forward. In 2011, some of Helu’s best work was actually when he was not the starter. Though he did manage some nice 20+ carry, games he is probably better suited for 5-10 carries and 3-5 targets a game.
-Paul is a guy that Redskins fans love to hate, despite the fact that he clearly showed himself to be a stud special teamer and a solid blocker. Yes it is understandable to be frustrated with his drops, but that is hardly an isolated thing on the Redskins. Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and Joshua Morgan all are known droppers and they get paid quite a bit more than Paul. Also, while it’s of course unlikely that he will every come close to Shannon Sharpe‘s level of play, Paul actually produced him in his first year converting to TE, than what Sharpe did his first season making the same conversion. Also, despite the fact that it was Paul’s 2nd year (his first as a TE), it’s important to remember that Fred Davis had all of 3 catches for 27 yards his rookie year, numbers Paul trounced with his 8 for 152 and a TD. Davis was also a top 50 pick, that offered zero special teams or blocking value.
-Compton was the Redskins 6th round pick last year, and was seen of a smaller school guy with a little promise. It quickly became clear that he was on the outside looking in last year as he wasn’t even given a shot at the RT job, despite the fact that Brown was out injured and Hurt was moved back to guard. Compton didn’t make the team, but he was given a shot on the practice squad. The Redskins liked what they saw there, and to protect him they called him up to the active roster. It’s unclear how much he’s developed, but unlike most of the other options at RT he’s got some potential and is under team control for 3 more years. If he were able to emerge as a viable RT option it would be a huge win for the Redskins.