'Skins Rookies Poised To Make A Name For Themselves In 2014
Every season you see a few rookies blossom right in front of your eyes in their first season in the NFL. Last year it was WR Keenan Allen and RB Eddie Lacy, and in previous years the likes of QB Andrew Luck, QB Robert Griffin III and LB Luke Kuechly have put their stamps on the league. Washington will be hoping that some of their rookies can have maybe not the same but still significant impact on their team next season.
In 2012, rookies RGIII and RB Alfred Morris carried the Redskins to the playoffs. I don't foresee any players having that same impact next year, but I feel a few can come in and help the team perform well and even reach the playoffs. Here are the three rookies that will have the biggest impact on Washington in 2014.
1. OT Morgan Moses
The rookie that will have the biggest impact will be OT Morgan Moses. Washington's offensive line was atrocious in 2013. They allowed the 10th most quarterback hits in the league with 96. The only reliable lineman was OT Trent Williams, and he was forced to make due with no help.
Every pass play seemed to be RGIII attempting to drop back and set his feet but couldn't because his line would fall apart so fast. The soon-to-be third year quarterback was heavily criticized for scrambling too much, but how could he not with no pocket to pass from? Moses can play opposite of Williams and help establish a strong edge to the other side of the line. Moses will be key for Washington's passing game, which could be extremely dangerous in 2014 with WR DeSean Jackson, WR Pierre Garçon and WR Andre Roberts all lining up along the line of scrimmage. He'll also help an already strong run game headlined by one-time Pro Bowler and one-time All Pro RB Alfred Morris.
Moses was a projected first-round pick but somehow fell to the third round. Washington got him for a steal in the third-round as he has first-round talent, and could come in right away and start. If Washington wants to reach the playoffs next season, then Moses will need to be a starter right away.
2. RB Lache Seastrunk
Yes, Seastrunk was a sixth-round pick. And, yes, the Redskins do have Morris, Roy Helu and Evan Royster. But, I feel like with Jay Gruden, Morris will be like the Bengals' BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Seastrunk could be the Redskins' version of Giovanni Bernard. Morris is the obvious starter and will most likely have another great year in 2014, but Seastrunk is so intriguing and a Bernard-like running back.
Morris will get the majority of the carries barring any injuries, but I feel Seastrunk's style differs from Roy Helu's running style in a good way. Helu is similar to Morris in that he's a powerful put-your-head-down, bulldozing runner. Seastrunk has the size and physicality at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds to do so, but has the quickness and athleticism to be more versatile while forcing more mismatches. Helu has been the pass-catching running back for the 'Skins the past two years, but I feel Seastrunk can be an even better version of Helu.
Seastrunk will really add to the talented offense that Washington has already assembled this offseason and bring a new dimension to their run game.
3. OLB Trent Murphy
It would have been easy to have listed Trent Murphy as the rookie to most likely make a name for himself. I think he'll have a significant impact on the defense, but it won't be as great as it would have been on another team because he does have to play behind Pro Bowl OLB's Brian Orkapo and Ryan Kerrigan.
The Redskins already get great production out of Orakpo and Kerrigan, so outside linebacker isn't a position that Washington needs more results from. But, Murphy adds great depth to that position, and could come in on plays where the two Pro Bowlers are subbed out. He could help create a relentless outside pass-rush that will be evident on almost every down. Orakpo comes out, Murphy comes in to play opposite of Kerrigan, or vice-versa. And if both are subbed out, the 'Skins will still have Murphy in to sustain the pass rush.
I have also thought that Washington could try converting Murphy to a defensive end. The Redskins play with three down lineman on defense, so the bigger each is the better, so they can make up for having one less lineman. Murphy is 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, so suffice to say he is not lacking in the size department. He was a great pass rusher in college — one of the nation’s best, in fact. So hopefully that will translate to the pro game. With Kerrigan and Orakpo playing behind the line and, let's say, NT Barry Cofield, Pro Bowl DE Jason Hatcher and now Murphy playing at the other end spot, the Redskins can have a scary good pass-rushing front seven.