Take a look at the Redskins first depth chart and you'll find a familiar name in an unfamiliar place: Santana Moss is listed as a third-string receiver alongside Donte Stallworth. That will come as a surprise to those of us—myself included—who've been encouraged by reports of the veteran's strong showing in Richmond.
Moss starred in one of training camp's early highlights: a one-handed grab along the sidelines during one-on-one drills. With cornerback E.J. Biggers in single coverage, RGIII heaved a pass just over Biggers' shoulder in front of Moss, who made a twisting leap to snag the ball with one hand while keeping himself in bounds. The highlight reel-worthy play inspired cheers from offensive teammates and prompted Griffin to jog over and congratulate his receiver. "They can't cover me. I can't be covered," Moss told secondary coach Raheem Morris after the catch.
Still, a single play is just one snapshot in time, not the whole story. Moss is 34 years old, a 13-year veteran who, at 5'10", won't be able to rely on a size advantage over defenders. All four receivers ahead of Moss on the depth chart—Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson—are younger than him, and all but Robinson are taller.
Even with those four players on the roster last season, it was Moss who hauled in a team-high eight touchdowns. That's because number 89 found his niche lining up in the slot, a role he looks set to reprise in 2013. The Washington Post has predicted that he'll be the Redskins' primary slot receiver, which likely explains why he's not listed with the starting wide outs.
First team or not, slot receivers are more valuable than ever in today's NFL. So with Santana Moss being the team's top option in the slot, expect to see that familiar face on the field more often than the depth chart would indicate.