Every year each and every NFL team has players that rise from relative obscurity to become significant contributers. Whether it is from the bench, the practice squad, or because of a second chance, the Redskins will have players who may have had insignificant roles in 2010, make an impact in 2011. Last year players like Anthony Armstrong at WR, Lorenzo Alexander at OLB, and Ryan Torain at RB come to mind. This year their will inevitably be a new crop of players who make strides to become important pieces of this team and these are a few of the candidates.
- Jeremy Jarmon
Jarmon was basically our third round pick in last year’s draft after we forfeited it to get him in the third round of the supplemental draft in 2009. It blows my mind that Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn could be so boneheaded to spend a third round pick in the supplemental draft but hey, it’s not the only time they blew my mind with stupidity. The fact of the matter is that they picked Jarmon for a reason, and while they probably gave up too much for him, he can play. Through his first two years he has experienced a season ending knee injury, a coaching staff telling him to lose weight to be a line backer, and then gain it all back to become a 3-4 end. At 6-3, 295, he has the size to play end in Haslett’s 3-4 scheme and if healthy, provides an injection of youth and an improvement to a D-line of which no member contributed more than 2.5 sacks last year. If we don’t draft a DE with our first pick in the draft, Jarmon should be starting and should have a chance to break out in 2011.
Perry Riley’s break out opportunity is very much connected to the possible (probable?) departure of Rocky McIntoch this offseason. H.B. Blades is a very good backup and special teams ace but he does not belong in the starting line-up next to the rock that is London Fletcher. Perry Riley was touted as sure tackler and solid backup when he was drafted by the Redskins. During his playing time last season he made some inexcusable plays on special teams but proved to be a solid option at inside linebacker when he got some playing time. He is no Rocky McIntosh, but may be given the opportunity to start in his place in 2011. We’ll see what he can do with that opportunity.
I know, I know, that second round back in 2008 was an enormous bust and something that we all wish would just go away. But, if Mike Shanahan was willing to cut ties with Devin Thomas so easily, there must have been a reason why he kept Malcolm Kelly around, right? The reason is that the physical tools are all there, right in front of our eyes, making us salivate at what could be if only he could stay healthy and focused (In addition to the physical tools he also seems to be more level headed and less focused on his modeling career than Devin Thomas was). The 6’4” 226lb Kelly slipped to the Redskins in the second round because of injury concerns, and this is a case where those concerns became reality. Mike Shanahan sending Kelly to the IR with a dinged hamstring told me one thing, that he sees the potential for a starting WR and wants him to make sure he is 100% healthy coming into training camp this year. Kelly can’t live in the lackadaisical Zorn era anymore. After seeing his fellow draft bust kicked out of town, he knows he has to get his act together if he wants to continue his pursuit of an NFL career with the Washington Redskins. Receivers have proven to be late bloomers in the NFL and let’s hope it’s year four for Kelly. He has got one more shot to prove he can contribute or he will be out of town before season’s end.
What do you think, who is most likely to make strides in 2011?