Leonard Hankerson still has to prove himself in Washington

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com believes that Redskins third-year wide receiver Leonard Hankerson still has to prove that he can be the complete player they need him to be.

They do like Leonard Hankerson, their third-round pick from 2011. And while the rule on receivers is to look for the breakout in the third year, Hankerson may not be on track for that just yet since he lost so much of his rookie season to a hip injury. He doesn’t offer what Garcon and Morgan do as blockers, so he has to show himself to be either a big-play threat on the outside or a capable long-range replacement for Santana Moss in the slot. Griffin targeted him more (obviously) when Garcon was out, but it didn’t translate into production. The Redskins believe in Hankerson’s talent, but right now, if the choice is between him and Morgan for snaps, they’re likely to go with the better blocker than the 24-year-old whose upside is still speculative.

Aldrick Robinson showed some ability as a home-run threat for Griffin last year, and as long as he can contribute on special teams he’s likely to stay on the roster and keep finding those opportunities. Moss is still around and was productive as a slot receiver last year, but he’s 34 and surely not a part of the long-range plan for Griffin. And it also will be interesting to see how many catches talented tight ends Fred Davis and Jordan Reed take away from the wideouts. But from here, I would say this looks like an important year for the three wide receivers at the top of the depth chart — Garcon, Morgan and Hankerson — as the Redskins look to determine who they think Griffin needs around him for the first half-decade or so of his career.

Even if Hankerson gets buried on the depth chart, he’ll get a chance to prove himself at some point this season.  Either some guys ahead of him will go down with injuries, or he’ll fine some way to prove himself.  The problem is that he better take advantage of every chance he gets.


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