The Washington Redskins’ 2011 draft was generally called a big success largely because of the depth the team was able to acquire with its 12 picks.
In Purdue linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins believe they have found a dominant pass-rusher to complement Brian Orakpo. Clemson’s Jarvis Jenkins is expected to help shore up the defensive line, and Leonard Hankerson offers much needed size to the receiving unit. Naturally, Shanahan also raved about running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster as well as safety DeJon Gomes, wideouts Aldrick Robinson and Niles Paul, cornerback Brandyn Thompson, guard Maurice Hurt, linebacker Markus White and nose tackle Christopher Neild.
The coach said he believed many of those players drafted have a legitimate chance to compete for key roles on the team this year.
But how much can really be expected from rookies chosen in this locked out offseason? All but Jenkins got an introduction to the Redskins’ systems during player-led group workouts. But Hankerson left the June session saying, “I need a coach, bad.” He understood the benefit of getting together with his new teammates, but knew the only way to really learn the offense was to hear it straight from a coach’s mouth.
Royster said that he still had much to learn, but also felt like he and his draftmates would have a slight head start and counted it as a bonus that coaches will lay first eyes on rookies that have at least a little foreknowledge of the schemes.
Still, high expectations shouldn’t be heaped on this draft class right out of the gates. It will take time.
Remember, the 2008 draft class of Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Malcom Kelly, Chad Rinehart, Justin Tryon, Durant Brooks, Kareem Moore, Colt Brennan, Rob Jackson and Chris Horton had a full slate of OTAs and minicamps and is considered one of Washington’s most disappointing draft classes ever.