Football Team

The five most important players for Washington in 2020

Football Team

When projecting the Washington Football Team's win total in 2020, most people's records include a 4, 5 or 6 in that column. In order for Ron Rivera's group to outdo those predictions, they'll need contributions from up and down the depth chart.

However, the Burgundy and Gold will especially need a few key players to really perform. So, while everyone on the 53-man roster will have to do their part, these five guys in particular must show out all year long.

Dwayne Haskins

Duh.

Haskins is the starter for Week 1. The hope, both for him and the organization, is that he's also the starter heading into Week 17.

The supporting cast around Haskins isn't great — and you won't be too hard-pressed to find an analyst willing to describe it in much harsher terms — but, fair or not, the second-year quarterback will still be held responsible for the offense's success or failure this season.

If Haskins can continue to ascend the way he was at the end of 2019, his career and the franchise's future will be better for it. Taking a more short-term view, though, there's no way Washington will be able to hold their own in Rivera's debut campaign unless the passer brings it.

Chase Young

The front four is going to be the strength of this team, and Young has got to be the strength of that strength.

Some may balk at the idea of placing such pressure on a rookie, but Young isn't a typical rookie. He's the second overall pick, he's regarded as one of the better defensive prospects to come out of school in a long time and he's surrounded by lots of other talent. He should make an impact right away, and he'd be the first to admit that.

 

The Washington defense has been slowly assembling pieces for a few seasons now, from drafting the likes of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen to signing free agents such as Landon Collins and Kendall Fuller. 

Young is the kind of possible star who could take the unit over the top and make all of those pieces better simply with his presence. 

Antonio Gibson

Here's a name you've been hearing more and more about each day.

Gibson has gone from an intriguing Day 2 choice to perhaps the offense's biggest X-factor in a matter of months. With Adrian Peterson now in Detroit, the Memphis product will be the main man in Washington's backfield, and should he deliver, the entire conversation about that side of the ball could change.

Haskins will be able to rely on Terry McLaurin. Gibson, with his versatility, rare combination of speed and size and nose for the end zone could prove to be the perfect second option in Scott Turner's scheme.

The hype about Gibson has reached nearly unimaginable levels since his arrival. Can he justify it?

Geron Christian

If putting Gibson on this list was unforeseen, then featuring Christian is UNFORESEEN.

As fun as it is to discuss Haskins breaking out and Gibson becoming a problem, neither of those things will occur if the offensive line is a mess. And Christian will go a long way in determining whether there's a mess or not.

The 2018 third-rounder has rededicated himself this offseason and finds himself now serving as the starting left tackle. That may unnerve fans, but Christian was promising in training camp. Let's see if his August production can carry over into the fall and winter. 

Landon Collins

As mentioned, Washington's D-linemen will be tasked with dominating on a consistent basis. Yet they will need help on the snaps they can't get home, and Collins has to be the one to provide it. 

The former All-Pro is the leader of the secondary and will be in charge of ensuring everyone on the back end is in sync. The breakdowns of the past simply can't happen anymore. Providing more game-changing plays, from interceptions to forced fumbles to run stuffs, is necessary as well.

After Alex Smith, Collins is the second-highest paid member of the team in 2020. It'll be on him to start providing serious return on that investment, which would make the defense that much more threatening.