End of the year on the High School level means handing out superlatives. With the Redskins putting a pin with their offseason activities, we're giving out various Burgundy and Gold superlatives based on the team reconvening in Richmond for the start of training camp on July 28.
Category: Most likely set for breakout season
Offense: Brandon Scherff. Outside of quarterback, line play is generally the most important aspect of any offense. Running backs cannot make jaw-dropping cuts and sprints if consistently lack holes and lanes with which to run through. If the line cannot provide enough pass protection, it becomes harder for receivers to complete deep routes or exploit their breakaway speed downfield. Washington's offensive line was spotty last season. Though tied for fourth fewest in sacks allowed (27), the Redskins averaged only 3.7 yards per carry, tied for 28th. Considering the injuries and spotty play at left guard and center, the unit performed better than expected.
Part of that reason, the continued growth on the right side of the OL from two first-year starters, tackle Morgan Moses and Scherff, who the Redskins moved to guard after selecting the Iowa product fifth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. With uncertainty remaining at left guard, it's conceivable the right side becomes Washington's go-to side even with Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams serving as Kirk Cousins' primary blindside protector. Scherff's status, aggressive on-field nature, skill set and durability - missed only one snap last season - makes him the likely poster child for buzz over unit improvements. More hype puts him on the Pro Bowl track, one that lineman tend to stay on.
Defense: Bashaud Breeland. It will take a special kind of sustained performance to get attention playing across from high profile cornerback Josh Norman, in the secondary with respected veteran DeAngelo Hall and on the same defense with three prominent edge rushers. Good thing Breeland has that kind of game and attitude needed for that isolating position. After a rough start with a training camp injury and Week 1 suspension, Breeland showed his impressive rookie campaign was no fluke.
Lost in the "You like that" aspect of the season-altering Week 7 comeback over Tampa Bay was Breeland's game-saving hustle as he raced across the field to tackle Doug Martin shy of the end zone in the final minutes. ProFootballFocus rated the second-year player Washington's top defender in 2015 as their stats show Breeland's 11 passes defended ranking ninth among all corners. That stat is key considering the amount of passes he'll face this season as gun-shy quarterbacks stay away from Norman. There will be more attention on the Redskins' secondary because of Norman's presence. When the national media and casual fans notice the other starting cornerback is also making plays, Breeland's hype takes a leap.
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