Evan Royster did a fine job down the stretch in 2013 as a situational back for pass situations and shotgun formations — even notching a touchdown in the wild-card game — but his lack of blazing speed is leaving his role up for battle in training camp. And unless Alfred Morris develops into a viable option on obvious passing downs, this will remain a major role for the Washington Redskins.
This probably helped serve as impetus Kevin Jones’ column for WUSA9 titled “Meet The Next Alfred Morris: Chris Thompson“, marking the 9,000th time this offseason some late-round running back has been declared “The Next Alfred Morris.” A nice column worth reading, but that headline has been around plenty of times with “Player X” and just irks me a bit this offseason. Perhaps the Redskins do find another great backfield option in the late rounds, which would be an upgrade on the decent-yet-unspectacular Royster.
“We know Mike Shanahan’s obsession with late-round running backs,” wrote Jones. “This is bold, but I’d say Thompson at this very moment holds an advantage over Evan Royster and (Roy) Helu in the backfield. If Pierre Garcon taught us anything in 2012, it’s that this offense needs more speed at the skill positions. ”
Royster ranks in the bottom half of Pro Football Focus’ 2012 grading for receiving, running and pass blocking — but closer to middle-of-the-pack than the basement in most respects. However, his performances did seem to improve down the stretch. The Penn State and Westfield High School alum — a District of Columbia suburb — would certainly fill a needed role if he can make a leap in year three at the pro level.