Every summer, a certain player(s) who many may have overlooked, comes into training camp and impresses the coaches so much, that he either earns a starting position, or firmly entrenches himself into the rotation. These players are usually younger players, often rookies, who are looking to establish an identity on the team.
Hopefully, with Scot McCloughan steering the ship, and a new offensive line coach and defensive coordinator, there will be a lot of open competition for starting spots this season. The Redskins will enter camp with a few positions locked down, but there should be plenty of spots open for the best player to "win".
Here he is a look at a few potential training camp surprises:
Jamison Crowder - It's possible that the 4th round pick enters training camp as the favorite to win the punt and kickoff returner spot, and exits with the starting slot receiver role as well. The sure-handed Crowder has the burst and short area quickness that coaches look for in their slot receiver, and Gruden may feel he's the much better long-term option, forcing Roberts to either the bench or the unemployment line.
Josh LeRibeus - LeRibs has spent his first three seasons as a backup guard. Supposedly, Callahan has him working at center(a position he's played a bit in college) to make himself a more versatile player. If he can get the calls down, it's possible he could steal the spot away from the aging, below-average Lichtensteiger.
Will Compton - Compton has seen game action, filling in for injured linebackers, and he's shown to be very capable when called upon. No one is quite sure how Barry's new defense will look this season, but if he wants more coverage ability from his middle linebackers, Compton could be the choice over incumbent Perry Riley.
Arie Kouandjio - Left guard is far from a sure thing heading into training camp. Lauvao didn't perform great last year, and he'll need to show new offensive line coach Bill Callahan a lot more than he did last season to retain his job. Kouandjio has impressed with his work ethic, desire to learn, and sheer power and size during OTA's. The new coach has no ties to Lauvao, so IMO, the position battle is wide open.
Duke Ihenacho - Before OTA's, everyone had newcomer Jeron Johnson penciled in as the new starting strong safety, but once the team got together, it was Ihenacho who was running with the first team. Duke has been around the team longer, but Barry and Fewell are both entering their first years in D.C., so it may be a situation where the best man wins.
Austin Reiter - You may be seeing a re-occurring theme here along the offensive line, especially at center, and for good reason. It seems like decades since we have had quality interior play. The last two years have been complete train wrecks. It may be hard to imagine a 7th round rookie unseating a veteran at one of the most important positions along the offensive line, but Kory has to be viewed as a short-term solution, and maybe Reiter can make his term even shorter, and make Redskins fans forget about years of below-average center play.
Kyshoen Jarrett - This one would certainly qualify as a "shocker", but count me as one who feels Jarrett can be a free safety in this league. The former star high school corner has good speed, excellent instincts, and can lay the wood. I don't know if he could un-seat Goldson before the season starts, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him at FS, and make the 53-man roster as a key reserve.
Niles Paul - With the injury history that has plagued Jordan Reed, the tight end position remains in flux. Enter a bigger, stronger Niles Paul, whos improved blocking, and durability provide Robert Griffin with a dependable security blanket.
Who do you think will be the biggest training camp surprise. Share your thoughts in the comment section.