Today was the first day of rookie minicamps for 24 teams, including the Washington Redskins. The team's NFL Draft picks and undrafted free agents showed up at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center at Richmond Virginia Thursday afternoon to show the coaches what they can offer. There were a couple of remaining questions heading into the remainder of the Redskins' offseason, even after the draft was over.
For one, the team does not have a starting kick returner. Last year, Niles Paul, Josh Morgan and Santana Moss took most of the returns, but none of them were successful. This year, Washington signed DeSean Jackson, who has returned four punts for touchdowns in his career. However, Jackson was never a viable option in the kickoff return game. Third-year wide receiver Aldrick Robinson is one of the fastest players on the NFL roster, so look for him to return a kick or two this season. As far as this year's rookie draft class, Lache Seastrunk, who just recently signed his rookie deal, is the only other possible kick returner.
Another question heading into this year's minicamp is Bashaud Breeland, the fourth-round rookie corner out of Clemson. Breeland just recently signed his rookie deal and is ready to show the Redskins that he has what it takes to help a defensive secondary that was one of the worst in the league last year. DeAngelo Hall and last year's second-round pick David Amerson will automatically take the starting roles at corner, so Breeland will have to work his way up the depth chart to get to that fourth spot that is currently being held by six-year veteran E.J. Biggers. New free agent-signing Tracy Porter is expected to be the starting nickelback. Either way, Breeland is ready to give everything that he has.
"I'm ready to come in and give the secondary whatever I can," Breeland said. "I'm ready to come play, whether it's on special teams, getting out there and playing in relief or being a starter. It really doesn't matter to me, just as long I can contribute to this team at a high level." (Credit: The Washington Post)
Breeland's 40-yard dash time at the combine was the reason why some teams had him lower on their draft board. His 4.53 time was not spectacular, but when he plays on the field, Breeland can be very fast. In his last season at Clemson, Breeland had 56 tackles and four interceptions. Teams said that if Breeland stayed at school for one more year, he could have been a first-round draft pick, but the young corner went up for the NFL Draft early to help provide for his 11-month-old daughter.
"I already looked at myself as one of the top defensive backs that came in this draft," Breeland said. "I have a daughter that I need to support, so that kind of pushed me as well. But as far as looking at next year, that's not something I do."
He also has versatility, which is another reason why the Redskins took a shot with him. He can cover outside, in the slot and also has some experience at safety. Breeland is definitely one of the top players to watch out for before Organized Team Activities start in 11 days.
Speaking of versatility, Spencer Long is another draft pick that could make some noise at the offensive line. The Redskins are planning to put Long everywhere on the line, including center. If Long can show coaches that he can play every position, then he will definitely have a long future in the NFL.
This may not be the top storyline for the Redskins' offseason, but Zach Hocker will come in and compete with Kai Forbath for the starting kicker job. Forbath was consistent at kicking field goals, but not at kickoffs. Hocker, who recently signed his rookie deal, will come in and show that he has the strength to push Forbath out of the starting lineup.
All of these rookie players are looking to contribute in any way they can. Some are ready to start, others are simply trying to make the team. Things will certainly get more interesting when the whole 90-man roster comes together at the OTA's on May 21.
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