Mixed results for Redskins rookie class
By BENJAMIN STANDIG
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Headlined by defensive lineman Jonathan Allen's run-stuffing game, there is plenty to like about the performances from the Washington Redskins' 2017 draft class.
When they played, that is.
Ultimately, that was not as often as hoped.
Of Washington's 10 selections, nine made the Week 1 roster and four started multiple games.
With sixth-rounder Robert Davis promoted from the practice squad and active for the Week 16 win over the Broncos, all 10 played at least one game.
Yet the rookie receiver's experience proved analogous for the group. Davis' day was cut to three plays after suffering a concussion on special teams. He might not play in Sunday's regular-season finale at the New York Giants.
Whether because of injuries or veterans blocking their path, it just wasn't easy for the group to stay on the field.
That puts more emphasis on practice and other factors when determining season-long assessments and 2018 projections.
"We do have great evaluation on all of them," coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday. "All of them got a chance to play, for the most part."
Allen, the 17th selection in the draft, was productive immediately for his hometown team. He started the opening five games, but never made it to the sixth after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his left foot in a win over the 49ers. Allen became one of 21 players placed on injured reserve by Washington this season.
The University of Alabama product made quite the impact. In games with Allen, opponents averaged 88 rushing yards. Without him, the number jumped to 144.6.
Getting an accurate appraisal could be more difficult elsewhere.
Outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, the Redskins' second-round pick, received limited playing time largely because of other quality options at his position, which was among the few not decimated by injuries.
The same scenario affected cornerback Fabian Moreau, who played behind Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller.
"Just being patient. I've got vets in front of me that proved they are worthy of playing," said Moreau, Washington's third-round selection. "My time is going to come. I know that."
Safety Montae Nicholson and running back Samaje Perine, both fourth-round selections and center Chase Roullier, a sixth-rounder, started several games this season.
Though Nicholson initially helped solidify the free safety spot, shoulder and concussion issues limited him to eight games before landing on IR on Dec. 19.
Perine's emergence came during the second half of the season after Washington's top running back options were placed on IR.
Though he paces the Redskins with 600 yards, Perine averages only 3.5 yards per carry after largely playing behind a continually reshuffled offensive line.
Whether he showed enough to be considered the starter entering 2018 is uncertain. The same goes for others in the 2017 class. Regardless, the rookie year is only the first step. What comes next is where true impact emerges.
"They produced and they were fine," Gruden said before looking to the future.
"Rookie players, the ones that make the significant jump from year one to two to three, then you know you really have something. That's important."
NOTES: Linebackers Zach Brown (knee, Achilles), Anderson (knee) and Martrell Spaight (illness) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. Right tackle Morgan Moses (ankle) was limited. ... The Redskins signed practice squad TE Manasseh Garner to the active roster and released running back Kenny Hilliard.
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Updated December 27, 2017