Rookie Class Played Well
Charles E. Sutton | 1/22/2013, 12:33 p.m.
Contrary to popular belief, the Redskins rookie class was about more than Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. That's a good thing for the Redskins because without some other rookies, the Redskins might not have qualified for the postseason.
Here's a brief review of the 2012 Redskins rookie class:
Better Than Expected
First-round selection Robert Griffin III passed for 20 touchdowns, only five interceptions and accounted for 4,015 yards of offense. Of course he had the knee injury, but Griffin exceeded all expectations as a rookie. His mere presence on the field created many opportunities for his teammates.
Nobody was a bigger surprise than sixth-round running back Alfred Morris. He rushed for a team-record 1,613 yards. Morris proved to be an excellent fit in the read option offense with his patience, vision and toughness.
Not There Yet
Third-round guard/center Josh LeRibeus didn't need to start immediately with Kory Lichtensteiger back at left guard. But LeRibeus played from scrimmage in only two games and was inactive for 10 games. Had LeRibeus mastered the center position, he probably would have been active much more, but he had difficulty getting used to snapping in the pistol formation. LeRibeus remains a significant factor in the future plans (especially if Lichtensteiger signs with another team) and could be a starter in 2013.
It's yet to be determined whether Kirk Cousins can win over several weeks. But he proved that he could be a solid backup, helping to beat Baltimore in relief and Cleveland as a starter. Though he's more prone to mistakes than Griffin, he's not afraid to make any throw.
Keenan Robinson began to play well in the secondary as a backup. The fourth-rounder also chipped in on special teams. Unfortunately, his season ended in late November due to a torn pectoral muscle. At a minimum, Robinson is developing into a solid backup and special teamer.
Cornerback Richard Crawford, a seventh-round choice, did well to make the final roster. But the Redskins were uncomfortable with the way he guessed in certain coverages, leading to big plays. If he's going to prolong his career, he'll also have to play better on special teams. Crawford needs to strengthen his play against the slot receiver. In all likelihood, he'll be a fourth or fifth cornerback.
Safety Jordan Bernstine, also a seventh-rounder, has really good speed. But after tearing two ligaments in his knee, no one is sure what to expect from him in the future.