As a follow-up to my Washington Redskins pre-draft position grades, I will be updating each review for the next few weeks. Today's installment is the Running back position.
Running Back (Rankings):
- Robert Kelley
- Chris Thompson (ranked #4 pre-draft)
- Samaje Perine (rookie)
- Matt Jones (ranked #2 pre-draft)
- Mack Brown
- Keith Marshall
Pre-draft Grade: C
Pre-Training Camp Grade: B-
What was said pre-draft: While Rob Kelley had success last season, it should be noted that Matt Jones was on pace to post a similar, if not better stat line (704 yards, 6 touchdowns). I like Kelley and his potential, but I don't think he's a bonafide lead back. Matt Jones has to fix the fumbling issues, if not, he won't be around much longer. But let's not forget he is still the youngest back on the team without much mileage on his legs. He will get another shot this offseason to prove himself. When discussing backs on this team, I think many forget about Keith Marshall, who missed his entire rookie season last year. He's an injury-prone player who looked extremely raw in training camp last season. But he's explosive. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses. Should the team draft a running back? I'm of the belief that every team should draft a running back each year. Considering the Redskins don't have a star in the backfield, they could consider one early in the draft.
***New Notes: The addition of Samaje Perine raised this position's grade to a "B-." Sure I could've bumped it to a "B," but he's a fourth round rookie who hasn't played a down yet. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. My thoughts remain the same -- I'm not sure if the Redskins have a true lead back. However, positive news came from rookie camp about Robert Kelley's body-fat loss last month. That could help his stamina and long speed. Those were two issues for him last season.
I think the new expectation is that Matt Jones' time with the Redskins is coming to an end. It's just a matter of when. However, my thoughts on him remains the same. He's a young, low mileage running back. Every team needs those in their backfield stable. Nonetheless, his fumbling issues have hurt him big time. This is now Rob Kelley's show with Chris Thompson's party on third downs. You'll see a good amount of Samaje Perine, but I definitely expect Kelley to receive the most opportunities.