Dec 24, 2012; Honolulu, HI, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs running back Zach Line (48) rolls under Fresno State Bulldogs strong safety Phillip Thomas (16) into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into the 2013 NFL Draft, the management of the Washington Redskins knew late rounds would be crucial to providing depth to the roster. Unsurprisingly, the Redskins used rounds four through seven to select players that will buttress the weakest positions on the roster: safety, linebacker, and running back. Here’s a look at the Redskins’ selections on day three of the NFL Draft:
Round 4: Phillip Thomas, Safety (Fresno State)
The self-proclaimed “steal of the draft” is a strong, open field tackler who was the first Fresno State Bulldog to be named a unanimous All-American. Thomas is not particularly tall and does not have great range, but he is a versatile player who can line up as either a free or strong safety. You never know how draft picks will fare until they are actually on the field, but on a roster with DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty, Thomas figures to have a chance to receive significant playing time in his rookie season.
Round 5: Chris Thompson, Running Back (Florida State); Brandon Jenkins, Linebacker (Florida State)
The Redskins used round five to select a pair of Seminole teammates. Chris Thompson was an explosive, big play threat at Florida State, but injuries are a major concern. His 2012 season ended with an ACL tear and Thompson struggled with back injuries earlier in his college career. He still ran a 4.4 40 at the NFL Combine, meaning that he has a burst of speed that Alfred Morris does not have. Drafting Thompson indicates that Mike Shanahan is not inspired by the play of Evan Royster and Roy Helu, two players who will now have to fight to remain on the roster.
Thompson’s teammate Brandon Jenkins is a converted defensive end who will play outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme. He is better rushing the quarterback than stopping the ground game. His biggest obstacle now may be the depth chart, as he figures to be behind Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, and free agent addition Darryl Tapp. The Redskins need middle linebackers to support London Fletcher and Perry Riley, but Jenkins does not translate well to this position. He could be a solid player, but he was a surprising pick considering the team’s needs.
Round 6: Bacarri Rambo, Safety (Georgia)
Bacarri Rambo, who has one of the best names of anyone in the draft, fell to the sixth round primarily because of off-the-field issues. He was suspended for the first four games of 2012 for a failed drug test, and missed the 2011 opener because of a violation of team rules. On the field, Rambo is a solid, all-around player who can provide run support in addition to his pass defending skills. He was a three-year starter at Georgia which proves he can play. Like Thomas, he is helped by the Redskins depth chart and will get a chance to compete early for playing time. Mike Shanahan has made a point of drafting “character players” during his tenure in Washington. Rambo does not fit this description, but is worth a sixth round pick to see if he can get his personal life together.
Round 7: Jawan Jamison, Running Back (Rutgers)
In contrast to the explosiveness of Chris Thompson, Rutgers’ Jawan Jamison is a bruising tailback with a low center of gravity. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in two seasons at Rutgers before leaving school early to provide financial assistance to his family. The pick further signals the coaching staff’s displeasure with the depth chart options behind Alfred Morris. If he makes the team, Jamison can provide help on third-down situations because of his ability to block and catch passes. Still, the Jamison pick is a bit of a gamble considering his smaller size and youth. But isn’t everyone in the seventh round a gamble to some degree?
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