Each NFL season, every team has a player that bears a little added attention. So which performer could turn the corner for the Washington Redskins in ’17?
Welcome to yet another 32-team series from End Zone Score. In recent months, we took the time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers.
Every NFL season features players that come into their own after a slow start to their careers. It’s tough to tell when each performer’s coming-put party will take place. Some are immediate successes. Others take longer due to numerous circumstances, but they prove to be worth the wait. Here we will try and pinpoint a player from each team in the league that we feel is on the verge of putting it altogether. First up are the Washington Redskins.
SS Su’a Cravens
All told, the intriguing product from USC saw action in 11 games this past season and made three starts during his rookie campaign. Cravens finished with 33 tackles, one sack, an interception and five passes defensed. Unfortunately, it was an erratic year for a player in an unfamiliar role. “I don’t like playing linebacker,” said Cravens to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “I’ll play it if I have to. I don’t think I can play linebacker. But safety is definitely my position.”
No worries. According to Jones, the team’s coaching staff began prepping Cravens for his transition back to safety, the position he played in college, late last year. Meanwhile, he will team with veteran free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger to give the ‘Skins a pair of physical and rangy performers in the secondary. All told, Washington’s new defensive backs coach has been impressed with young defender’s work to date.
“I’m pleasantly surprised with Su’a’s progression,” said Torrian Gray to Jones. “One thing we didn’t get to see him do [last year] is playing away from the ball; working the deep post, playing the half field. He’s come down and shown he has decent movements in man [coverage]. We know he’s strong to the ball. He can blitz. We expect him to come down and tackle big backs, but the things he’s done away from the ball have been the pleasant surprise.”
To be honest, the Washington Redskins have lacked a real playmaker on this side of the football for quite some time. And with the former Trojan moving back to his natural position, the team may have found a solution.
“I don’t know why I was ever moved to linebacker,” said Cravens. “Now I’m playing safety, so I’m ready for a big season this year.”