The Washington Redskins rushing offense during the 2016-2017 wasn’t the most consistent, but looking forward who do the Redskins like as their feature back?
After running back Matt Jones’ three fumbles against the Detroit Lions on October 23rd, a game which the Redskins lost 20-17, Jones sat out the rest of the season for this as well as a shoulder injury and undrafted free agent Robert Kelley took the haul for the remainder of the year. Before the Lions game, Kelley, had 13 Carries, 88 yards and zero touchdowns in five games. After the Lions game, Kelley, rushed 151 times for 601 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. It’s important to mention that the running game with Robert Kelley helped the Redskins in their balanced offense; when Kelley carried the ball 15 times or more the Redskins were 4-0-1.
“Fat Rob” Starts for the Redskins.
“Fat Rob” as his teammates call him, got his nickname from his running backs coach at Tulane. The nickname Fat Rob doesn’t mean his weight but per David Johnson, former Tulane coach, “it was the size of his heart.” Listed at 6’0 228 pounds Kelley is a big back; some liken to Marshawn Lynch. Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis recently stated that he enjoys watching Robert Kelley play and says “he is only going to get better with time.”
Kelley is an explosive back, a handful to take to the ground, and runs with patience; all things that are hard to find in young running backs.
Robert Kelley is a bright spot in the Redskins offense with their running game. Head Coach Jay Gruden says he “loves” Kelley but also hinted that he wouldn’t mind taking a running back in the draft. The Redskins do not have another traditional running back other than Kelley. Chris Thompson, a pass catching, third down back with speed and great hands gets a lot of plays, but Jay Gruden doesn’t like to give Thompson too many reps because of persistent shoulder and back injuries. Thompson ran for 356 yards, and three touchdowns while catching for 349 yards and two touchdowns during the 2016-17 season.
If the Redskins want to pursue a running back in the draft, they have some unique options. Various mock drafts have the Redskins taking a running back such as Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook in the first round, and although that isn’t necessarily the Redskins must-need, they have been known to draft the best player available. Leonard Fournette, D’Onta Foreman, and even Joe Mixon, with his off the field issues, are all highly ranked running backs with first round talent. A loaded running back draft will be something to watch as it gets closer to April, 27th. Backing up Robert Kelley with another young, explosive back would be helpful in the Redskins system.
With as much talent that the Redskins have on the offensive line, and in the receiving group it would make sense for the Redskins to draft another running back to have even more balance on that side of the ball.
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