It's back! No not the start of the Preseason but the first Mason/Brennan Preseason Hype! Awards ballot. We will run these after every preseason week, but there have already been plenty of reports so let's look and see who has an early lead. Before we do let's refresh ourselves with the rules:
1. Player must have been drafted late or signed by the Redskins as an undrafted free agent. Players that have only been on other teams practice squads that are signed by the team are also eligible.
2. A player that has been on the team for several years is still eligible if most of that time has been spent on the practice squad, inactive, or with very limited productivity/time
3. The Pat White Rule: High draft picks(busts/out of the league) from other teams who have never completed an NFL pass, but can run the read option/wildcat are now eligible.
Now typically late round pick has been defined as 5th or later, but exceptions are made for players who apply under the 2nd rule. So while Jamison Crowder might not be eligible (he would run away with the vote if he was), Josh LeRibeus is eligible. Here are some of the top eligible options, feel free to write in other guys in the comments:
RB Chris Thompson:
-Thompson is now entering his 3rd year and after a cup of coffee last season the former 5th round pick looks to go from M/B nominee to key contributor this season, but before he does he needs the hype train in his corner. He's off to a good start as he's actually staying healthy and has improved according to most reports. Jay Gruden was asked about him at one press conference and he made the comment that "Thompson is a 3rd down back" which the Redskins hype train took to mean that Thompson is THE 3rd down back and a lock for a team. That might not be the case, but he's in the mix and should be a frequent resident on this list.
WR Ryan Grant:
-Grant dominated this list for much of last offseason and is back again after limited production during the season. Due to the hype of Crowder we've not heard as much about Grant this season, but with Crowder (and D-Jax) on the shelf for the first preseason game, Grant not only should get plenty of work, but he is likely to run with the 1's some. Not only will it likely mean a spot on the post-game list, but there will likely be plenty of calls to cut Andre Roberts due to the presence of Grant and Crowder.
OL Josh LeRibeus:
-How much do Redskins fans want to get rid of Kory Lichtensteiger? They want to take one of their biggest draft busts from the past few years who has been completely incapable of seeing the field as a guard and turn him into the starting center after only a handful of offseason practices. Even after a vine of LeRibeus getting destroyed by Vince Wilfork during joint practices emerged some believe that LeRibeus is the answer. The hype is strong with this one indeed.
C Austin Reiter:
-Did I mention that Redskins fans don't like Kory Lichtensteiger? The Redskins drafted Reiter in the 7th round this year, and that alone seemed to start the hype train. Not only is Reiter a 7th round pick, but in many people's eyes he was "overdrafted". Most of the top scouting services (NFL.com, CBS, ESPN) had Reiter as either an undrafted player or unranked. That of course doesn't mean he can't prove them wrong (though it should be noted that those same sites were much lower on LeRibeus than the Redskins were), and the Redskins may have been right drafting him. What it does mean is that Reiter was not considered some big time sleeper that there was a strong consensus on. Despite the lack of any pre-draft recognition and a 7th round pick a number of Redskins fans think that Reiter will not only make the team, but quickly beat out Licht for the starting role.
WR Rashad Ross:
-Ross was in camp with the Redskins last season and after a couple big kick-off returns versus a bunch of guys who didn't make their final team's rosters, he quickly rocketed up the Mason/Brennan lists and was considered by many fans to be in line for a roster spot. The Redskins didn't seem to agree as he didn't even make it through the first round of cuts. After a stint with the Bears he came back to the Redskins practice squad late in the season. Expect his familiarity to cause Redskins fans to take notice.
ILB Martrell Spaight:
-Spaight was the Redskins 5th round pick and as soon as the pick occurred people were wondering if this meant the end of Perry Riley in DC. Long term that very well could be the case, but this year Riley is pretty safe and Spaight just needs to compete for a roster spot. Expect the hard-hitting ILB to make some big tackles in this game and get that hype train started back up again.
S/Slot Kyshoen Jarrett:
-The Redskins two slot options to start camp were 2nd year CB Bashaud Breeland and rookie Tevin Mitchel. Breeland hurt his MCL his first day of camp and is suspended for week 1 of the season even if he were to be healthy enough to play. Mitchel tore his labrum and was waived to try to put him on IR, but got claimed by the Colts. That leaves really just Breeland as a guy who you can reasonably expect to play the slot this year, but that doesn't seem to be much of an issue for Redskins fans as they have their converted 6th round pick safety who was inconsistent in coverage at best while at Virginia Tech. Reports have been promising with Jarrett in camp and overall that is a positive, but for him to handle the slot role this year vs guys like Victor Cruz and Jordan Matthews is a bit troubling.