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Posted at 05:42 PM ET, 08/13/2011

Rookie watch: Preseason Game 1

On Friday, before the Redskins’ preseason opener, we looked at how the team’s 12 draft picks could help themselves in their professional debuts.

Now let’s see how they fared.

Ryan Kerrigan – Overall, the team’s first-round pick had a solid outing as the starting left outside linebacker. The Purdue product said that he didn’t feel even the slightest twinge in the right knee that he injured early in camp, and that he was encouraged, but still noticed some areas where he could have done better. Kerrigan recorded three tackles (one for a loss) and one hit on the quarterback. His first tackle came when he ran down Rashard Mendenhall on a short pass, and his best play came when he came around the edge and caught Mewelde Moore behind the line of scrimmage. A couple other times, Kerrigan got caught out of position, or bunched in by a block or two and was taken out of the play.

Shanahan’s assessment: “You know, it’s like all rookies, there’s some good, some bad. There’s a learning experience. By no means is it perfect, but I was pleased with the effort. I think he’s going to keep getting better. Just like a lot of our young players, they quit looking at the ball, they get caught up in the game, they don’t do the basics like they should, but that is typical for young players coming in. But, the effort was there, not only with Kerrigan but with a lot of our young players.”

Kerrigan’s assessment: “It felt good. First play of the game I had to take on a guard, so I got my first hit out of the way. … I still have a lot to work on. I made a few mental errors that can’t happen. But they’re going to happen – hopefully only in the preseason, and hopefully after this they’re few and far between. … I need to be more sure of myself and more sure of my assignments so I can play faster. That’s the biggest thing I noticed was just be more sure of myself mentally so I can go faster physically.”

Kerrigan will return Friday to his homestate of Indiana, where he’ll take on the Indianapolis Colts. The linebacker said he already has a slew of ticket requests.

DE Jarvis Jenkins – The Clemson product saw significant action as he rotated between left defensive end and right end. He also was used in the fast nickel package, which features just two down linemen. At times Jenkins lined up with Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, and other times it was Cofield and Adam Carriker. Regardless of where coaches put him, Jenkins caused disruptions and showed why Washington drafted him 41st overall. Eyebrows were raised at the combine when Jenkins managed only 19 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press – the least of any lineman. But I was told not to read too much into that because Jenkins’ arms are so long (his wingspan is 81 inches), and that likely had something to do with it for a younger guy not coached in the techniques of lifting. And sure enough, as we’ve seen in practice the last two weeks, he’s strong and physical, and he got to the quarterback once as well. Jenkins might not start ahead of Carriker, but he will be a regular in that defensive line rotation.

RBs Roy Helu and Evan Royster – Helu’s speed has stood out in training camp, but it was Royster who actually made the most noise Friday night, with a team-high 66 yards on 15 carries (4.4 yards per carry). Royster didn’t really care about his rushing stats after the game. Instead he talked about his pass blocking, and how he wanted to continue to get better in that area. He was aware that he made a few nice blitz pickups, but then pointed out how he lunged at a linebacker and missed on another play. This kid gets it. It’ll be interesting to watch his progression as he battles for a spot on the 53-man roster rather than the practice squad.

Helu had eight carries for 28 yards (including a long of 18), and showed a good burst on a 10-yard catch-and-run, but somewhat surprisingly was caught for short gains on a few runs.

WRs Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson – Paul was the most solid of the three, hauling in a nice 16-yard catch on a crossing pattern. He appeared to do well on special teams as well. … Hankerson had the drops again and simply has to show better concentration if he wants to help this team. He likely would’ve scored a touchdown as he ran down the middle of the field and was hit in stride. … Robinson needed to show he could be counted on in the return game in order to stand out at the crowded receiver position. But instead, he couldn’t hang onto either punt he tried to field. Not a way to make the team if you’re a lower-round draft pick.

S DeJon Gomes – The Nebraska product remains a work in progress, but made two nice plays – sacking Denis Dixon for a 15-yard loss, and dropping running back Jonathan Dwyer for a three-yard loss.

LB Markus White – One of three seventh-rounders, White showed the same speed and explosiveness we’ve seen in training camp and recorded a tackle and a hit on the quarterback. He’s guilty of over-pursuit at times, but the effort is there.

NT Chris Neild, G Maurice Hurt, CB Brandyn Thompson – Hurt got shoved back on a few plays, and didn’t really stand out otherwise. Neild played late in the game, and appeared to hold his own in the trenches for the most part. Thompson didn’t stand out.

By  |  05:42 PM ET, 08/13/2011

 
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