The Washington Redskins might have found a young, stud defensive lineman as well as starters at safety and center, though health questions remain a sticking point. They drafted some intriguing players to develop and other players who simply didn’t provide the hoped-for impact.
Best rookie: Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. The problem was that he played only five games due to a Lisfranc injury. But when he was in the game, Allen made an impact. He recorded only one sack, but he excelled at collapsing the pocket and setting up others for sacks (notably linebacker Preston Smith). Allen plays a mature game and has a strong work ethic; if he stays healthy, he’ll be good for years.
Most improved rookie: Center Chase Roullier, a sixth-round pick. It isn't that he looked bad early on, but rather, he was given an opportunity and capitalized. Roullier took over for injured starter Spencer Long and played well enough that the Redskins can let the veteran leave in free agency. Coach Jay Gruden has said that he thinks Roullier will have a long career in the NFL. He will have to get a little stronger, but he showed that he could anchor and block on the move.
Most disappointing rookie: Second-round pick Ryan Anderson, an outside linebacker. Injuries slowed him for much of the season. He also was stuck behind starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith. Anderson did not make an impact rushing the passer, but the Redskins like his demeanor and what he might be able to do in the future. He’ll probably have to lose weight and reshape his body. Plus, the team wants him to use his hands better in the pass rush.
Jury is still out on: Most of the class, and three in particular: running back Samaje Perine, safety Montae Nicholson and corner Fabian Moreau. Of this group, Nicholson showed quite a bit, but the main question surrounding him involves his health. If he can be durable, he has the size and speed to start at free safety. Perine did not convince the Redskins that he would be "the guy" moving forward. They’ll keep looking for help at running back. Moreau has a shot to become a starting corner. He’s aggressive and can play physical. He was stuck behind a quality group this season and made his impact more on special teams.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: At season’s end, the Redskins had three undrafted free agents on their roster: safety Fish Smithson and offensive linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. Catalina did play 182 snaps, mostly at guard. Kalis is best suited for guard as well. Both players will be worth watching develop, but neither will enter the offseason as the favorite for the vacant left guard spot. Smithson was added to the roster for the final two games and played only on special teams.