Scouting the Tight Ends

Insiders will take a look at each position, analyzing the Redskins' strengths and weaknesses. Today we look at the Tight Ends. Key players: Zeron Flemister, Robert Royal, Leonard Stephens. Others: Kevin Ware (rookie from Washington).

Key players: Zeron Flemister, Robert Royal, Leonard Stephens.

Others: Kevin Ware (rookie from Washington).

What to watch: the development of Royal. He clearly looked better than Flemister last summer until his high ankle sprain landed him on the injured reserve list. Royal showed he could catch the ball and could be a nice find. The Redskins need a consistent pass-catching tight end, if for no other reason than to vary their offense. See New York with Jeremy Shockey. It's a different offense, but having a tight end is a valuable weapon, especially in the red zone.

Strength: Flemister has some speed and can run well after the catch--if he holds onto the ball. Royal could be the best combination of blocker-passer in this unit.

Weakness: None of these players are proven. Some in the organization really like Flemister because of his speed. But he dropped too many passes last year and seemed limited to only a few routes. We remain skeptical. After all, he looked horrible in camp last year and appeared headed for the unemployment line. Stephens made the team because others were injured.

How many they'll keep: It depends on what they do elsewhere. The Redskins don't need a blocking tight end as much as they did in the past so they may only opt for two at this position, keeping extra players at receiver and running back.

Final analysis: Not the strongest position, but doesn't have to be. Steve Spurrier will use a tight end if they're good--it diversifies the attack and he knows that. But he has enough backs to help in this area, too, making the tight end more of an afterthought. If Flemister or Royal gets between 15-20 catches, that would seem like a lot.


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