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Su’a Cravens Needs To Prove He Belongs In The Redskins Secondary

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I reiterate why Su’a Cravens can be a star at the safety position.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On February 25th, 2016 I wrote:

I think Cravens has star potential as a hybrid safety.

I also wrote:

his best fit is a safety with the Redskins.

That view has not changed. Su’a Cravens still has star potential. But he will have to prove himself to a number of skeptics including a good number in the fan base. He will have to answer questions about his athleticism in the secondary, his instincts, his ability to cover not just in man coverage but in the zone as well. He will have to prove he can bring consistent physicality to the box safety position and lastly he will have to prove he can be a consistent playmaker at the position.

I have already done my share of arguing on this board regarding the merits of his selection (I have a feeling I will write this very article next year regarding Ryan Anderson). Cravens has a unique skill set and we saw a bit of it on display his rookie year at linebacker. I’ve maintained the position that Cravens is a safety and belongs in the secondary and will make his living in the box. That does not mean he can not be a dynamic player. One of the most encouraging signs is Cravens attitude towards the game. He is one of the most active Redskins on social media and is always offering support to his teammates as well as showing passion for the game:

Cravens will face some steep tests within the division alone. The Eagles boast a retooled WR corp featuring Torry Smith and Alshon Jeffery. We know the damage Odell Beckham Jr. can do but throw in Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepherd, and Evan Engram and his hands will be full. Now with Dak Prescott under center, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley have become more of a danger.

Out of the division, his first big test will come against the Raiders in week 3. Not only will Cravens have to be on his A game as a pass defender when he faces Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree but he will have to be on point against the run game when he faces Marshawn Lynch. Cravens and his teammates will also have to develop a chemistry fast. The entire safety unit has changed from last year and while Su’a switching positions poses one challenge the addition of D.J. Swearinger at the FS position poses another. Communication will have to be top notch among the unit to adequately defend against the pass heavy offenses the Redskins will face this year.

He has a chance to make his mark with smart play. Cravens can be a game changer with his versatility. He has good ball skills and is more than capable of robbing a QB through the air (as we know from his game sealing INT against the Giants last year). He is also physical enough in run support to make consistent stops and hopefully force a couple of turnovers. The biggest question in my opinion about Cravens is if he has made strides this offseason with trusting his instincts, vision, and play diagnosis. It goes without saying this those qualities are huge for a safety.

I’m hyped to see him play and I look forward to seeing him on the highlight reel a few times this season.