I’ve been a supporter of Washington Redskins wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, and to a lesser extent, wide receiver Aldrick Robinson. Today’s NFL places a premium on big and tall wide receivers who can go over the middle and make tough catches. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Hankerson fits that bill. His size also comes in handy in the red zone when running fade routes to the end zone. At 25 years of age, Hankerson has yet to reach his prime, which reaffirms his upside.
Robinson isn’t as big as Hankerson at 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds. But he has great speed, which supports his potential for big plays. In three years with the Redskins, Robinson has averaged 21 yards per reception and has scored five touchdowns. This is the type of ability Washington has sorely needed at the wide receiver position in recent years.
Redskins fans may not find that out in 2014, as Hankerson and Robinson’s days in Washington could be numbered. Inconsistency has dogged each of their careers in Washington for a variety of reasons. Injury has kept Hankerson from ascending to the next level. Meanwhile, Robinson’s 21 yards per catch career average is misleading, as he has only 29 career receptions in three NFL seasons. Poor route running has kept Robinson from earning consistent playing time, which neutralizes his speed.
Dropped passes have hindered both players, with Robinson notably dropping a touchdown pass that was the difference in Washington’s 27-20 Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions in 2013. At the risk of sounding cliché, all the speed and size in the world won’t help a wide receiver if he can’t consistently run the proper routes, or catch the football.
Washington added two wide receivers, Andre Roberts and a man named DeSean Jackson, during free agency. In an expression of redundancy, they will be expected to get the majority of snaps at wide receiver along with stalwart wide receiver Pierre Garcon. Veteran wide receiver Santana Moss also signed a one-year deal to remain in Washington, which suggests that the Redskins’ front office isn’t committing long term to Hankerson or Robinson.
The NFL is a cruel business where players have a small window of time to prove their worth to their respective teams. Considering the Redskins’ logjam at wide receiver, it can be reasoned that Hankerson, Robinson or both, will not be with the team much longer. It’ll be interesting to see if Hankerson and Robinson can rebound and make the Redskins’ final roster, or young talent unfulfilled.