Here's where things stand with the Washington Redskins' running back depth chart:
Alfred Morris is doing the Texas two-step. Pierre Thomas remains a free agent. Same with fullback Darrel Young. Silas Redd got in trouble. No free agents added. Mack Brown does exist after a year going back and forth on the practice squad.
That leaves at least one or two spots open. That sounds like opportunity. Maybe to help carry the ball. Maybe to make the roster as a special teams contributor.
Maybe this is why the Redskins selected former Georgia running back Keith Marshall.
If speed kills, then Marshall might be the devil.
"He can run like the wind and he has got size," Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said of the 219-pounder he selected in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
It's not just that Marshall ran a blistering 4.31 40-yard time at the NFL Combine, but he beat all others this year and all but a handful in the event's history.
"There’s no substitute for speed and he’s fast," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said shortly after Washington used its final pick on the runner.
Injuries crushed Marshall's momentum at Georgia after entering school as a highly touted recruit. Specifically, a torn ACL in his right knee that essentially took him off the field for a season and a half. When he returned to action, the decisiveness wasn't the same. Clearly, the speed was, which is why the Redskins took a shot.
"The thing about Marshall is, [he was] highly, highly recruited coming out [of High School]," McCloughan explained at his post-draft press conference Monday. "He fell behind [Todd] Gurley and [Nick] Chubb at Georgia, two really good football players."
Marshall finished with only 253 rushing attempts in college. Nearly half came during his 2012 freshman campaign before the injury. Upon returning, he fell behind Gurley and Chubb on Georgia's depth chart.
Asked following his selection on Saturday if the knee limited him last season, Marshall told local reporters, “No, I was healthy this past season. ... We just had really good players who came up and they didn’t give me as many opportunities as they did before, but I was very healthy. And then going to the combine, I just went down and trained really hard and got my body prepared.”
McCloughan saw enough to take a shot.
"He has pretty good ball skills and had some success early in his career there before the other two took over, but it’s not like it was a shot in the dark because of the height/weight/speed," McCloughan said. "He has some tape, and the thing about it is I think he has a chance to be a pretty good special teams player."
Pre-draft profiles on Marshall back up the Redskins' decision. NFL.com wrote Marshall "could become a lottery ticket for a zone scheme team willing to take a chance that his speed and confidence return with a fresh start in a new location. His ceiling is much higher than many of the Day 3 running backs who could be drafted ahead of him." Dane Brugler with CBS Sports stated, "Marshall has the juice to dart through creases and force poor angles due to home run speed."
There's a good chance the Redskins add a veteran RB option to at least provide insurance in case Jones deals with the injuries and fumbling woes that plagued him during his rookie season. There's still room for another back, especially one who can contribute on special teams and run like the wind.
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