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Former Redskins WR Hankerson off to 'great start' with Falcons

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Former Redskins WR Hankerson off to 'great start' with Falcons

Leonard Hankerson’s four-year tenure in Washington can be summed up in two words: unfulfilled potential.

He has good size (6-2, 211 pounds) and plenty of athleticism. But the 2011 third round pick couldn’t stay healthy. In fact, hip and knee injuries limited him to 35 games, including only one last year, and he was not re-signed this offseason.

In March, Hankerson ended up inking a one-year, $1 million contract with the Falcons. And so far, he’s proving be a major bargain and the perfect complement to Julio Jones.

In four games, Hankerson has 17 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Fourteen of his receptions have resulted in first downs.

“Every once in a while you’ve got a chance to take a shot on somebody that has maybe been banged up [and] I thought that was totally worth it with Hank,” first-year Falcons Coach Dan Quinn said in a conference call with Washington reporters on Wednesday. “I think it’s the catching radius that he has.”

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS IN MIX TO PLAY IN LONDON

Last week, Hankerson posted his second career 100-yard receiving game, hauling in six passes on eight targets for 103-yards and a touchdown in a 48-21 victory over Houston.

“There could be a ball that’s way up high, he can go up to get it. Or it’s out of bounds, and he has the length to extent to go get it," Quinn said. "He’s been a real factor for us on third down, as well. He’s off to a great start with us. He’s worked extremely hard to come back, as you guys know, from all the injuries. He’s gained the respect of the people here by the style and the attitude he plays with.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said he realized during OTAs that Hankerson would be an asset this season.

“I think Hank as done a great job,” Ryan said. “I mean, he works really hard. He’s a guy that has helped other guys because of his experience within the system and that’s been beneficial for us. But early on, I knew Hank was going to be a solid player for us because he showcased it during OTAs and during training camp. I mean, he made a lot of players during that time. I think it’s translated into early success for him this season. So I knew kind of right when we got him here and had a chance to work with him just a little bit, I knew he was going to help us out.”

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.