Which Redskin are you expecting surprisingly good play from this season?

May 1, 2013

We’ve made it through free agency and the draft, but there’s not quite enough information yet to have a good sense about the final 53. And even though the Redskins have all but one starter from last season’s division-title team back, there is always year-to-year change in the NFL.

With that in mind, which Redskins player do you think is going to contribute a lot more this season than conventional wisdom would suggest? Whether it’s a player bouncing back from injury, a rookie or young player taking his first opportunity and running with it, a veteran playing the role of unsung hero or something completely different, most fans have a few players that they really like for one reason or another, even if the facts don’t necessarily justify that hunch.

I’ll toss out a few names, and highlight the sharpest and most well-supported replies in a post this afternoon.

On offense, if you believe Kirk Cousins is going to get significant playing time this year, he’d be a good player to make a case for. So would Roy Helu, Jeremy Trueblood, Tony Pashos, Jordan Reed or any of the young wide receivers. Got a feeling on any of the second-year offensive linemen?

On defense, one could make a case for any one of the three secondary draft picks (David Amerson, Phillip Thomas or Baccari Rambo). Maybe you go deeper on the roster, and really like Jordan Bernstine or Jordan Pugh. Perhaps Tanard Jackson will be a factor after he returns from suspension. What do you expect out of Rob Jackson after a four-game suspension, and with Brian Orakpo back? Thoughts on Richard Crawford? Anyone on the defensive line?

Here’s the Ourlads.com depth chart, updated with the rookies in case you need to see some names to jog your memory. But outside of the players with a track record of being pretty good, who are the Redskins you have a good feeling about heading into this season?

If I had to pick a player, without basing it on video study or a detailed knowledge of the player’s background, I’d go with E.J. Biggers. Seems like the excitement over the drafting of players in the secondary have folks overlooking the former Tampa Bay cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 816 snaps last year and finished with a +3.8 rating, which might not sound like much. But only three cornerbacks rated above 9, and Darrelle Revis finished with a 5.9 last season. DeAngelo Hall, by comparison, played 1155 snaps and finished with a -3.2. Aqib Talib, who Biggers replaced in the Tampa Bay lineup, and who Washington reportedly pursued in free agency, played 592 snaps and had a -2.2.

Biggers is 25 and started 24 games for the Buccaneers the past three seasons. Obviously they let him walk in free agency, but it still seems like enough of a track record to be the third corner to Hall and Josh Wilson, if not more.


Cornerback E.J. Biggers might be forgotten after the draft, but he could make some memorable plays on the field. (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

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