The Washington Redskins continue to wheel and deal their way through the NFL draft, this time moving up in the fourth round to acquire Nebraska running back Roy Helu.
Washington shipped their fourth-round pick (127th overall) and two fifth-rounders (144th and 152nd overall) to the Houston Texans and got back the 105th and 178th picks. The Redskins used that 105th pick on Helu.
The 6-foot, 220-pound Helu rushed for 1,245 yards and 11 touchdowns on 188 carries, averaging 6.62 yards per carry for Nebraska.
“I am so excited, especially going to the East Coast. It’s some place I definitely wanted to play,” said Helu, a native of Danville, Calif.
Helu said he didn’t have any indication the Redskins would draft him, but he sounds as if he has already done his homework on the team.
He described Coach Mike Shanahan’s track record with mid- to late-round running backs as “legendary,” and said his ability to read blocks, make one cut and go fits Washington’s zone-blocking scheme well.
Helu also said that he is looking forward to competing with Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams for playing time.
Torain last season started eight games while rushing for 742 yards and four touchdowns on 164 carries for a 4.5-yard average. But he missed four games with a hamstring injury and the Redskins have questions about his durability. Williams served primarily as the Redskins’ third-down back and on the season tallied 261 yards on 65 carries. He tallied three rushing touchdowns and two touchdown receptions.
Shanahan said Helu offers something that neither Torain, nor Williams offers, however, and that is his 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed.
“We haven’t had that guy, so he brings something different to the table than what we have had. Now we’ve got some competition at that position, which is always good,” Shanahan said. “In Denver, with Clinton, he was that 4.45 guy coming out, very physical, and once he had that open lane, he could go the distance. At that time, he was about 205 pounds and averaged almost six yards a carry. … I look at Helu as having that type of ability, that type of speed.”
The trade to move up in the fourth round was Washington’s fifth of the draft. On Thursday, they moved down from the 10th overall pick to the 16th pick and also received the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second-rounder (49th) in exchange. Friday they traded down three times.
The Redskins now have eight picks remaining with two fifth-rounders (146th, 155th), two sixth-rounders (177th and 178th) and four seventh-rounders (213th, 217th, 224th and 253rd).