First of all, this post is not about the rookies the Redskins drafted. Obviously, it would be nice to see all the 12 players that were drafted contribute next year, but I am focusing on young veterans that were already there last season. If these 5 guys step up their play next season and become key contributors for the Redskins, I think that we, as fans, won't see as many problems with our team as we are right now.
Selvish Capers, OT
I'm admittedly higher on Capers than most, and it might be because he was projected as a 4th round pick and we got him in the 7th round. He possess good athleticism, and he is considered a good fit in a zone-blocking scheme, which is what the Redskins run under Mike Shanahan. A member of the Redskins practice squad last year, Capers obviously needs more coaching, but I believe he has a fair chance to stick with the team at least as a back-up, and maybe as the future RT of the team.
Robert Henson, LB
Last preseason, Henson was playing very well, but unfortunately for him, an injury cut short to his entire season. Now almost a year removed from the injury, I think that Henson should compete for the second ILB spot next to London Fletcher if, of course, Rocky McIntosh is no longer with the team next season. A case could be made for Perry Riley as well, and those two with H.B. Blades should make an interesting training camp battle to follow.
Jeremy Jarmon, DE
Being asked to change position as a young player is no easy task; this is what Jarmon had to do in order to fit the Redskins' 3-4 scheme, having to put on more weight to play a five-technique DE. Playing DE in a 4-3 is much different than playing DE in a 3-4, and Jarmon is still adjusting to the change. However, I think that this young man is athletic and smart enough to contribute next year as part of the rotation at the DE spot, which would help get the D-line younger.
Malcolm Kelly, WR
There isn't one player on the Redskins' team that I would like to see contribute more than Kelly. Originally a 2nd round pick by the organization, a receiver with his size and ability would be a great addition to the team. The key for Kelly is to stay healthy, as he missed a lot of time due to inkury. Since there is not much proven WR's on the team (outside of Santana Moss, if he comes back), I hope that Mike Shanahan will give him yet another opportunity. If he stays healthy, I think he could become a play maker on offense, which we desperately need.
Byron Westbrook, CB
Due to the uncertain status of free agents Philip Buchanon and Carlos Rogers, the Redskins need their young corner backs to step up, and Westbrook is one of them. Over the last few years, Westbrook as done multiple things for the Redskins, such as going as far as to emulate his brother, Brian, in practice. Westbrook does not necessarily need to become a starter, but a solid contributor who is not a liability in coverage.
Thanks for reading !!