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Redskins depth chart preview: Running back

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Redskins depth chart preview: Running back

After a busy free agency period, a draft in which 10 new players were added and the acquisition of 13 undrafted college players, the Redskins look much different than they did last December. So in the coming weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will break down the revamped roster, position-by-position, as offseason activities ramp up and depth charts come into focus.

Position: Running back

On the roster: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Silas Redd, Chris Thompson, Matt Jones, Michael Hill, Trey Williams

Likely to make the 53: Morris, Young, Jones

Comment: Morris has been the bell cow in Washington for the last three years and Jay Gruden has said that it will stay that way on multiple occasions this offseason. Even though both his yards gained on the ground and his average yards per rush have steadily declined since his stellar rookie 2012 season he will remain the starter and is likely to get the majority of the carries.

A year ago there was chatter that Young could be on his way out since Gruden’s offense in Cincinnati didn’t utilize a fullback. But Gruden said that Young’s versatility as a blocker, pass catcher, and special teams player gave him job security and there’s no reason to think that will change this season.

Jones was the team’s third-round draft pick. At 6-2, 231 he is a big back that the team is looking forward to utilizing in their revamped running scheme that will emphasize power running. How big a role he will get may depend on how well he can catch passes out of the backfield. During his three years at Florida he caught just 19 passes but he was an infrequent target.

Battling for a job: Redd, Thompson, Hill, Williams

Comment: To borrow a phrase from the Wells report, it more probable than not that Redd will end up on the 53-man roster. The coaches love the way he prepares and plays and the other players on the team like him. But an undrafted player who had just 16 carries and played a limited role on special teams can’t be considered a lock when a third-round draft pick was spent at his position.

Redd could get caught in a numbers crunch. There could be room for only one other running back on the 53-man roster and Thompson could make his case to get that job. He has speed, good hands, and some decent running instincts. If he can combine that with an ability to stay healthy—something that has eluded him both at Florida State and with the Redskins—he could make the roster and have an impact.

Williams will be interesting to watch. He is an undersized (5-7, 195) scatback who was expected to be drafted. However, in Kevin Sumlin’s pass-oriented offense at Texas A&M his carries and production were limited. The Redskins will give him a shot as an undrafted free agent. He may be another Darren Sproles or he may be another small guy who can’t cut it in the NFL.

Hill has bounced around during his two NFL seasons, seeing some regular-season action with the Packers and Bucs in 2013 and spending time with the Colts organization last year. He is likely in for a look in case the team needs an injury replacement at some point during the season.  

Post-draft depth chart series

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198