The Washington Redskins’ 2018 rookie minicamp officially begins later today.
For the first time since the Washington Redskins selected eight players to be the next wave of rookies in the 2018 NFL Draft, we will see those rookies suiting up in burgundy and gold for the very first time.
It will be exciting to see the young players get started. Some, in particular, will have large roles heading into 2018. Daron Payne (He prefers Daron now) figures to be a key rotational piece on the defensive line, serving as both a defensive tackle in nickel and a nose tackle in base 3-4. Derrius Guice, in addition, should easily fill in as the team’s No. 1 running back, providing a well-rounded skill set that hasn’t been a luxury of Jay Gruden’s in his whole time in D.C.
The most important goal, besides acclimating the rookies to the true work of the NFL, is to keep these players healthy. Offseason injuries cast forgotten burdens on teams each year, and particularly for rookies, as we saw with Josh Doctson in 2015, these kinds of injuries can incite steps back in their development.
The Washington Redskins’ rookies, most of which should be at least limited contributors in 2018, need to start off strong. But if they start off healthy, then rookie minicamp can officially be considered a success.
Washington Redskins rookie minicamp runs from today, May 11, to May 13. Here are some things to watch for throughout the course of minicamp:
- There are two rookies on the defensive line that will be key to maintaining a strong, healthy rotation. Both of those rookies were draft picks in the recent NFL Draft: Daron Payne, who went with the No. 13 overall pick, and Tim Settle, who went in Round 5. Both players can play nose tackle, but have the athleticism to see tremendous growth under Jim Tomsula’s tutelage. Keep an eye on them as they start off their work with one of the nation’s best defensive line coaches.
- Derrius Guice looks to buck a trend for Washington Redskins second-rounders. In recent history, the Washington Redskins haven’t often gotten immediate dividends from their second-round picks. Those picks eventually give their money’s worth, as was shown with Trent Murphy and Preston Smith. But Guice is in a position to contribute early and often. He has the skill set to create for himself as a running back, and that will be coveted in Washington’s offense.
- Geron Christian, the team’s new developmental swing tackle, has the potential to be a starter down the road, but for now, he joins the Washington Redskins as the youngest tackle at the position by far. His goal early on will be to first get started on workouts, and then learn from his superiors, whether it be Bill Callahan or Trent Williams. With Williams and Ty Nsekhe both trending up in age, Christian is an important part of this franchise’s near future. His development may take more time. But the hope is that it pays off in the long run.
- Several Washington Redskins Day 3 picks deserve equal attention to the early-round picks this weekend, particularly sixth-round pick Shaun Dion Hamilton and seventh-round picks Greg Stroman and Trey Quinn. Stroman has the natural coverage ability to surprise in what appears to be an open slot cornerback competition, and Quinn is a precise route runner who should gain the favor of Jay Gruden early, if he hasn’t already. With Jamison Crowder facing an uncertain future in D.C., Quinn could factor into a succession plan of sorts.
- Oh yeah… and Troy Apke is fast.
- Undrafted free agents always seem to have a chance at making the roster in Richmond. Two years ago, it was Robert Kelley and Anthony Lanier who managed to lock down spots on the final 53. And last year, Tyler Catalina was kept because of his versatility to play both offensive guard and offensive tackle. This year, two names to watch are running back Martez Carter and wide receiver Simmie Cobbs. Carter, a 5-foot-7 energizer bunny from Grambling State, has electric ability that the Washington Redskins could find enticing at the No. 4 running back spot, and Simmie Cobbs, a big body with athleticism and red zone potential, should work his way into a position battle with Robert Davis, Maurice Harris, and Brian Quick.
- You can find the full list of undrafted free agents attending minicamp here. In addition to the names mentioned above, be sure to keep tabs on cornerback Ranthony Texada, offensive linemen Sean Welsh and Timon Parris, and safety Quin Blanding.
If you’re there, I’m jealous. If you’re not, stick with us here at Riggo’s Rag, as we’ll keep you updated on all the latest developments at rookie minicamp.