Redskins' hidden treasure: Wide receivers

Examining a position group that could exceed its preseason expectations:

The Washington Redskins' wide receiver group is the odd group out in the NFC East. The other three teams have elite, first-round, Pro Bowl-caliber talent at the position. The Redskins consistently rank fourth when the division's wide receiver groups are compared against one other, and there's never an argument. But there has been improvement here, and the Redskins' receiver corps has a chance to be better than a lot of people think.

The issue most analysts had with the free-agent signing of Pierre Garcon was the cost. The Redskins are paying Garcon as though he's a No. 1 wide receiver when he has not really shown the ability to be that to this point in his career. But if you take cost out of the equation, Garcon looks like exactly what the Redskins needed -- a big, fast wideout who can catch the ball on a slant route, make a cut and take it all the way to the end zone. Mike Shanahan thinks Garcon will be able to run routes in his offense that none of the receivers the Redskins had last year could run, and that he gives the team the home run threat it's lacked. Plus, he doesn't turn 26 until August and he should be set up to grow and develop along with the team's new 22-year-old quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

Garcon is the headliner, but veteran Santana Moss is down 15 pounds and drawing rave reviews from coaches in the offseason. He knows the offense and, if he's truly responding to the threat the team's free-agent signings posed to his spot, he should be motivated and extremely productive. Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson are recovering from serious injuries but have shown flashes of big-time potential, and the Redskins are eager to see more of it. Add in back-of-the-roster speedsters like Aldrick Robinson, Anthony Armstrong and Brandon Banks, and there's something there with which Shanahan and Griffin just might be able to work. It may not be the most glamorous wide receiver group in the league -- or even in the division. But there's some potential there, and if Griffin is an instant star, at least one or two members of this group will be one along with him.