The Washington Post

Roster analysis: Receivers and tight ends

The NFL Draft took place just more than a week ago, and whenever the lockout is lifted, free agency could begin. The Washington Redskins have money to spend and are champing at the bit, according to people inside the organization.

The last few days, we’ve taken a look at the Redskins’ roster position-by-position, which areas they addressed in the draft and the needs that still remain.

We’ve examined the linebackers, defensive backs , defensive line and offensive line. Now for the wide receivers and tight ends.

Veterans: WRs Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks, Malcolm Kelly, Taurus Johnson, Malcolm Kelly, Maurice Price, Roydell Williams. TEs Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen.

Drafted: WRs Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Niles Paul (Nebraska), Aldrick Robinson (SMU).

Expired contracts: Santana Moss

Top needs: Re-sign Moss

The Redskins are set at tight end with Cooley, Davis and Paulsen. But the receiving corps struggled mightily last season. Outside of Moss (93 catches, 1,115 yards, six touchdowns) and Armstrong (44 catches, 871 yards, three touchdowns), no one produced. Kelly spent the year on IR with a hamstring tear, and without him, Washington didn’t have a receiver over six feet tall until the team added Johnson and Price late in the season. But neither played.

So the Redskins spent three draft picks on receivers last month. In the third round they got a big target in Hankerson (6-2, 209 pounds), and added another good-sized versatile threat in Paul (6-1, 220). Robinson is only 5-10, but will help stretch the field with his speed.

Armstrong is expected to build on his first NFL season, and Hankerson should help improve Washington’s red zone efficiency with his size. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Kelly hasn’t been able to stay healthy in his three NFL seasons, but if he can shake the injury bug, he might be able to help there as well.

The priority for Washington should be to re-sign Moss, who despite coming off of his 10th NFL season, remains productive. He’s a good fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and can be moved all over the field to take advantage of mismatches. He also would bring a veteran presence to a young receiving unit.

Moss is on record saying he would like to return to Washington, but the lockout has prevented the two sides from getting a contract done.

There are big names on the free agent market, but they are mostly aging players such as Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth. A young-ish player who is both available and productive is Braylon Edwards, but he has expressed his desire to re-sign with the Jets. Another interesting player is Plaxico Burress, who is scheduled to be released from prison on June 6 and is expected to be reinstated and free to sign with a team when the labor dispute is resolved. He’s 33, but hasn’t played since 2008 and should be fresh, although a little rusty.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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