Speed can be one of your greatest assets in the NFL, and the 2016 Washington Redskins have plenty of it at positions where it matters most.
When Scot McCloughan became the general manager of the Redskins, he stressed SIZE in his introductory press conference. The importance of controlling both lines of scrimmage was an image he hoped to build this team after. Along the way, however, he just happened to build a roster that not only has impressive size in the trenches, but very impressive overall team speed.
Starting on offense, the Redskins boast some impressive speed, and quickness, at the skill positions. DeSean Jackson is one of, if not the fastest receiver in the NFL. His deep speed will give any defensive coordinator nightmares, and he simply can't be covered one-on-one. 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson possesses both size and speed. At 6'2" and floating around 205 pounds, Doctson boasts legit 4.5 speed, to go along with an impressive 42" vert. These measurables will make him a tough matchup for even the best defenders in the league. Second year pro Jamison Crowder posted a 4.46 at his Pro Day, while showcasing impressive short-area quickness numbers, including a 1.56 10 yard split, a 4.26 20 yard shuttle and a 6.99 3-cone drill. Backup receiver Rashad "the Rocket" Ross ran a 4.36 40 at his Pro Day in 2013.
Moving on to running back, the Redskins have both size and speed in their backfield. Matt Jones is a mountain of a man at 6'2" 231 pounds. He posted an official 4.61 at the 2015 combine, but was timed between 4.49 and 4.56 at Florida's Pro Day. We have seen his impressive long speed on display both around the edge as a runner, and out of the backfield as a receiver. Backup Chris Thompson didn't run the 40 coming out of Florida State because he was recovering from knee surgery, but the speedy back was said to have been times in the low 4.4's while at Florida State. Finally, 2016 seventh round pick Keith Marshall ran a blistering 4.31 40 at the combine this spring. He has a second gear like none we have seen in DC for a long time at the running back position, and if he can stay healthy, that speed could come in handy this year and beyond.
At tight end, the Redskins have the shifty Jordan Reed(4.72 40), converted wide receiver Niles Paul(4.46 at his Pro Day), and newly signed veteran Vernon Davis, who was one of the fastest tight ends to run at the combine, where he posted a 4.40 40. Davis may have lost a step over the years, but he's still one of the faster tight ends in the league.
Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, the Redskins have some serious speed here as well.
Outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and a Junior Galette can all get after it off the edge. They all have an impressive first step, and can beat defenders with power or quickness. At inside linebacker, the Redskins upgraded the unit by selecting Su'a Cravens in the second round of the 2016 draft. Cravens combines impressive instincts with a 4.66 40, and should be an immediate upgrade in coverage(an area the unit has struggled recently).
In the secondary, the Skins added veteran safety David Bruton, who at 6'2" 220, can really run. Bruton showed off his 4.4 speed with the Broncos, where he starred as a special teams ace, while seeing action at both free and strong safety. DeAngelo Hall may be getting a bit longer in the tooth, but he can still move. His position switch to free safety may prolong his career for a few more good years. At corner, the Redskins have two smooth, fluid athletes in Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland. Neither player will wow you in a straight 40 yard dash, but their game speed is amazing, as both can blanket opposing receivers all over the field. Reserve corners Quinton Dunbar and Kendall Fuller are both 4.4 guys, although Fuller didn't work out for scouts at this year's combine, as he was recovering from knee surgery that ended his 2015 season.
Along with the great size that Scot McCloughan set out to add to our roster when he came here two years ago, he has also added some impressive athletes with great speed and quickness. It is this aspect of our roster that should make the 2016 Redskins an exciting team to watch this season.