RICHMOND—During practice on Friday rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens flashed some of what the Redskins hope they see out of him when September comes around.
He had the two highlight plays of the day. On one, Colt McCoy tried to get a pass off to a running back. Cravens read the play and made a leaping interception. It could have been a pick six but it was hard to say since there were a lot of players and coaches standing where Cravens would have returned it.
A few plays later, veteran tight end Vernon Davis caught a pass in front of Cravens and turned upfield. The rookie made a quick move and punched the ball out of Davis’ arm, setting up an easy recovery for the defense.
Here is where the disclaimer that they were practicing without pads and it was the second day of training camp goes. Still, it shows why they got Cravens.
The Redskins drafted Cravens in the second round. That’s pretty high for a player who doesn’t have a set NFL position. If he is going to justify that draft pick he will have to make plays like he did on Friday.
The Redskins weren’t bad in the takeaway department last year. They recovered a league-leading 16 fumbles and had 11 interceptions. Their 27 total turnovers were eighth in NFL.
But NFL teams always want more takeaways. If they get two in a game they will wish they had gotten three. If they get three they will think they had a chance to get five.
More is better and if you can get a defender who can create turnovers in the second round it is well worth it.
Cravens has been playing mostly at inside linebacker during OTAs, minicamp, and so far at training camp. The idea is for him to learn the defense from the inside out before learning other positions. His exact role has not yet been determined. But they will put him in positions where he can make plays like he did yesterday and hope that good things will follow.