Leonard Hankerson Will Lead Redskins in Receiving: Off-Season Forecast

By Emmanual Benton

In a off-season full of offensive additions, Washington Redskins 2nd year WR, Leonard Hankerson is destined for a “coming out party” in 2012. The Redskins brought in two receivers –  Pierre Garçon and Joshua Morgan early during Free Agency. Each player possess a different skill-set, but they all should complement each other well in Washington’s scheme.

The Redskins want to have a Green Bay Packers/New Orleans Saints style of offense. We’ll see a lot of 4 to 5 receiver sets with QB roll-outs from under center and in shotgun. It’s what Robert Griffin III does best and is a system Washington’s offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan has tried to use, but hasn’t had the talent to implement it.

Garçon is a guy they’ll utilize on deep routes and screens – quick bubble routes, as he’s a guy you want in space and has the speed to take the top off defenses. With the threat of Garçon, that allows Joshua Morgan to do the dirty work underneath. In’s – shallow routes, is where Morgan will make his money. He can go the distance with his strength and burst. Yards after the catch is what Morgan does best. So with Garçon creating a highlight reel deep and Morgan doing the dirty work underneath, Leonard Hankerson will excel in the intermediate game.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports had a good description of Hankerson that I believe Washington will take advantage of –

“Hankerson is particularly polished on intermediate vertical routes that allow him to get going after the catch. Shows good toughness in traffic, as well as on comebacks with defenders all over him. Great in any route where short-quick cuts are needed. He sits in zones very well and gets upfield with authority. He will go up to catch high throws on slants and posts with everything he’s got – no fear when it comes to potential tacklers obviously closing in for big hits.”

Hankerson’s 8 catches for 106 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 10 last season showed how the Redskins plan on using Hank. He averaged 13.3 yards in that game, which is a good estimate mark when forecasting this upcoming season. He’s a guy that will get you first downs and has break-away ability. Not to mention, a red-zone target with his long arms, huge hands, and 6ft 3 frame.

Of course, Hankerson suffered a torn labrum in his hip towards the end of that Miami game, ending his rookie season. Hank just recently started individual on-field work again. If he’s able to stay healthy, he should have a breakout out season. Even Draft Guru, Mel Kiper believes so:

“I thought Hankerson was just about to really get it going last year when a hip injury derailed his season. While the Redskins went out and made several moves at wide receiver, I think Hankerson could put up big numbers as a down-the-field threat in Mike Shanahan’s offense. He’s a bigger target, something this offense lacks otherwise, outside of tight end Fred Davis.”

Hank has a history of dropping catch-able balls, however that proved to be purely a concentration issue, as he didn’t have much problems with it during his short regular season showing. I strongly believe this will be Washington’s go to guy. He has a chance to become a legit threat in this league, and Hank is determined to take advantage of the opportunity.

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