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Can 2011 Draft Pick Be Breakout Star?

Posted by Stephen Czarda on April 16, 2013 – 10:09 am

Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss

This time last year, the Washington Redskins were preparing to select Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Even with Griffin III in the fold, few were picking the Burgundy and Gold to climb out of the cellar of the NFC East, especially with a defending Super Bowl Champion on the schedule for two different tilts.

Well we all know that the Redskins ended up being the breakout team of the 2012 NFL season, storming into the playoffs by the way of a miraculous seven-game winning streak to end the season and besting their division rivals with a 5-1 record against the NFC East.

With OTAs officially underway at Redskins Park, find out who ESPN’s Matt Williamson believes will be the breakout player for the 2013 campaign including a video of his best play of the 2012 season here:

Williamson believes that wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will be the Redskins breakout performer in 2013.

 “I do think Hankerson should be in line for a much bigger role and his skill set fits what Mike Shanahan wants to do with this offensive attack.”

In the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected the University of Miami prospect with the 79th overall pick. Before Hankerson went down with multiple injuries during his rookie season, he lit up the Miami’s professional team with eight catches for 106 yards in only his second career start.

Hankerson picked up right where he left off, as his first catch of the 2013 campaign was a 68-touchdown at the St. Louis Rams in Week 2.

In Washington’s first home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hankerson hauled in four catches, all for first downs. Quickly, he showed the Redskins and the rest of the league that he was a threat to move the chains each time he touched the ball.

In a Week 14 showdown of two eventual playoff participants, Hankerson showed the Baltimore Ravens just how clutch he can be with the pigskin in his possession. He would catch four balls on the day for 67 yards, and once again, proved that he can be a play maker when given the opportunity.

His finally catch, though, may have been the most important play of the season.

With the Redskins down eight late in the fourth quarter and the ball on their own 15-yard line, time was ticking on tying the affair. Hankerson, however, wasn’t concerned with the time crunch. On quarterback Kirk Cousins’s first pass attempt of the game, No.12 connect with N0. 85 for a 15 yard gain that would set up the game-tying touchdown on the next play.

The next week, Hankerson had a career game, grabbing two touchdown catches including a marvelous 54-yard juggling act in triple coverage!

Hankerson’s importance in the Redskins read-option offense, however, may extend beyond catching the ball in 2013.

“First of all, wide receivers must be very good blockers in this offense. Hankerson has the size and overall physicality to develop into a very good edge blocker.”

With record-setting running back Alfred Morris and the return of Roy Helu Jr., expect for Hankerson and the rest of the receiving core to be blocking for the tandem as the two look to continue their dominance between the tackles as well as on the edge.

Ultimately, Williamson believes that Hankerson’s talents are best suited in short-yardage situations.

“He also is built to run quick-hitting routes like slants — which work really well off Washington’s fantastic play-action game — and to do something after the catch with a physical running style.”

So Redskins Nation, how do you think Hankerson will do in his third season in the DMV?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Can 2011 Draft Pick Be Breakout Star?”

  1. By Kev on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    I don’t see it happening. Hank is actually bad in short yardage plays. That drop over the middle to extend the Redskins season vs Seahawks was a dagger and validates he still hates and is scared to go over the middle. All of his highlight plays (Skins, Miami) are vertical, which doesn’t work well in this offense as an every down WR. Garcon and Moss can do both which is why they play every down.

  2. By wallace m. on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply


  3. By dartagnon on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    I’m torn on the issue. Year 3 is supposedly the traditional “breakout” season for receivers, and think Hank certainly has the potential, but he needs to prove he can hold on to the football!!! He’s got size, decent speed, hops, ok route running for a sophomore, and he’s a productive blocker, but last year he dropped wide open passes all too often. I was at the Pittsburgh game and I was SICK! Wide open endzone and two first half first downs drops is a tough pill to swallow. Not blaming the loss on him but it definitely affected the flow of that atrocious outing. However, that being said, I haven’t given up on him quite yet, if his hands soften up he could be a solid flank and help The Weapon Of Moss Destruction cut up that slot again. Potential “Posse” part deaux?

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