Numerous question marks continue to surround the Washington Redskins‘ roster, but few, if any, are about running back position.
The Redskins’ ground game definitely won’t be MIA this season. The team is loaded with talent in that area, with motivated players all chomping at the bits for an opportunity to explode out of the gate, and the Redskins’ Monday night preseason game against the Cleveland Browns saw the already raging battle for a place on the ground game’s depth chart intensify.
If he was an afterthought on the Redskins’ roster before kickoff, it would be safe to say that fourth-year back Evan Royster doesn’t have that problem anymore.
The former Penn State standout broke through the Browns’ secondary, hauling in a 24-yard catch-and-run. The Pennsylvania product punched it in on the ensuing set of downs from two yards out, making it just that much more difficult head coach Jay Gruden to deny him a roster spot in the weeks leading up to the season opener.
Royster’s chances of securing a place on Washington’s final 53-man roster may be higher than you think. He is competing with Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd and Chris Thompson; Seastrunk and Redd were playing college ball last season and will provide stiff competition, while Thompson has gears that they don’t have. He packs speed that borders on ridiculous, and is an elusive, lights-out route runner.
Royster, on the other hand, has all of the above, which he brilliantly flashed against the Browns. But the fourth-year back also has an invaluable trait that the other three don’t have and can’t get for a few years — experience. There’s value in that for the Redskins, and it could be the determining factor that separates Royster from his competition.
The blossoming back more than held his own during training camp. He has made noise during preseason and is on his way. As if Gruden and his associates won’t have a difficult enough time breaking down game film and determining appropriate roster cuts, Royster just made personnel evaluations and pending cuts really complicated.