Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson both had their breakout seasons in 2013. The problem is that Jackson played for the Eagles then and Garcon's amazing season came in a dreadful year for the Redskins. In 2014, they get to play with each other and a healthy and rejuvenated Robert Griffin III. Add in free agent signee Andre Roberts and the Redskins have an impressive trio of WRs.
Pierre Garcon led the NFL in catches in 2013 with 113. With the addition of Jackson and Roberts, Garcon is not likely to reach that number again. Garcon's 1346 yards receiving is another lofty number that may be hard to repeat. Garcon will most likely improve on his 11.9 ypc and 5 TDs. Garcon has improved every year that he has been in the NFL and is only 27 years old. Garcon has had more catches and yards per game every season that he has played. He is as complete a receiver that the Redskins have had since their glory days of the 80s and 90s. Expect Garcon to have about 90 receptions with 1250 yards and 8 TDs.
Desean Jackson is not as complete a receiver as Garcon but a dangerous deep threat who must be accounted for by NFL defenses. Jackson had career bests with 82 catches for 1332 yards and equaled his top TD total of 9. Enthusiasm for the Redskins signing of Jackson must be tempered with the realization that previous to 2013, his numbers had declined every year since his sophomore season of 2009. In 2012, Jackson had career lows of 45 receptions, 700 yards and only 2 TDs in 11 games. 2013 was also only the second time that Jackson played in all 16 games.Jackson has a small frame compared to most NFL receivers at 5'10" and 175 lbs. and has been sidelined with injuries in previous seasons. With that in mind, Jackson is only 27 years old, the same as Garcon. Jackson seems also to be the perfect compliment to Garcon's physical run after the catch style. When Jackson is on the field, the defenses will need to have a S keep an eye on him as he is always a threat to score from anywhere. Alfred Morris will benefit most from Jackson's presence. He won't face 8 men in the box much. He may not even see 7 in the box when HC, Jay Gruden, employs his spread offense. Garcon also will benefit as will TE, Jordan Reed. With a S accounting for Jackson deep, Garcon and Reed will have more open zones and single coverage than they saw in 2013. Expect Jackson to have about 70 catches with 1150 yards and 9 TDs.
Andre Roberts signed with the Redskins expecting to be their #2 WR next to Garcon. When Jackson was signed, Roberts role became that of a #3 WR and top slot option for Griffin. Roberts had the #2 role in Arizona behind Larry Fitzgerald for 2 years until Michael Floyd took over that role in 2013. He has been an improving WR in Arizona despite the poor QB play there before 2013. In 2013, Roberts managed to catch 43 passes for 471 yards and 2 TDs. Being only 25 years old, Roberts likely has his best years ahead of him. Expect him to improve on 2013 with about 50 catches for 600 yards and 4 TDs.
Santana Moss was re-signed by the Redskins and obviously wants to finish his career with them. Moss had a mediocre season in 2013 with 42 catches for 452 yards and 2 TDs as the Redskins top slot WR. His season was marred by a large number of dropped passes and declining play with age. Moss had a much better season in 2012 when he was the #4 WR for the most part with 41 catches for 573 yards and an impressive 8 TDs. Barring catastrophic injuries to the Redskins WR core, Moss will never again see those numbers. Moss may make the team as a bridge to a younger set of WRs coming in but at 35, he has seen his best days as an NFL player.
Leonard Hankerson had his 2013 season cut short when he suffered an ACL injury in week 11. Hankerson was not having a good season as the #2 WR for the Redskins prior to his injury. He caught 30 passes for 375 yards and 3 TDs in 2013. Hankerson will probably start the season on the PUP list and be given a chance to recover from his injury. His contract is up after 2014 and Hankerson must show improvement if he wants to earn a role with the Redskins in the future.
Aldrick Robinson has gained 602 yards on only 29 receptions with the Redskins in 2 seasons. Robinson has blazing speed which he used en route to his 5 TDs over those 2 years. Robinson will make the team and compete for the #4 WR role. Speed kills in the NFL and Robinson will be given time to develop into a complete receiver. His ability to burn a defense deep will be used in 3 and 4 WR sets to keep a defense honest and account for everything.
Ryan Grant was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 draft by the Redskins. He is known as a good ST player and possesion WR. Grant will need to be effective on ST to make the team and be active on game day. Gruden seems to like what he has seen of Grant on offense so he is likely to be on the 53 man roster.
Nick Williams was on the practice squad last season until being added to the roster for the final 5 games of 2013. Wliiliams did not show anything special on offense or ST and will need to improve greatly to even make the PS.
The Redskins have a few UDFA WRs that will have a chance to make the team in training camp or be signed to their 8 man practice squad. Lee Doss, Cody Hoffman, Rashad Lawrence and Rashad Ross are joined by Jerry Rice Jr. to compete for 1 or 2 possible spots on the 53 or PS.
This was the third post in a series previewing the Redskins players prior to training camp. Next week: Tight Ends!