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Five Rookies to Watch At Training Camp

129881.jpg counts down to the start of Redskins Training Camp Presented by RE/MAX. Here are five rookies to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds:


Trent Williams, the Redskins' top pick in last April's NFL Draft, becomes an immediate starter as a rookie. He slides into left tackle – and plenty of responsibility.

He protects Donovan McNabb's blind side against some of the league's elite pass rushers, including Week 1 when he competes against Dallas's Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

Coaches feel confident that Williams has the skill set to thrive at left tackle, even though he played just one year at the position at Oklahoma. He played right tackle his first three years at Oklahoma before switching to the left side for his senior season.

Watch Williams' footwork for an indication on how well he is performing in training camp.

With the Redskins implementing a zone blocking offense, Williams will have to be mobile and well-coordinated with other offensive linemen.

If Williams struggles, coaches have options. Right tackle Jammal Brown, acquired from the New Orleans Saints last month, could slide over to left tackle if necessary. Brown earned two Pro Bowl berths at left tackle.


Terrence Austin, the Redskins' first of three seventh-round picks last April, missed almost all of the off-season work so that he could finish up his classes at UCLA. He is going to have to catch on fast on offense if he wants to earn playing time.

"I've had plenty of time to let the new [installations] sink in, so I wasn't two steps," he said.

Austin is expected to be in the mix on kickoff and punt returns, something he excelled at during his tenure at UCLA.

Kick returns are "pretty simple," he said. "We do have a read to make. You have blockers and it's their job to set up an opening for you. And then, you're the returner so you have to make something happen."

In his college career, Austin returned 89 kickoffs for a 24.1-yard average and 95 punts for a 9.9-yard average. He is the school's all-time leader in kick returns and punt returns.

As for wide receiver, Austin hopes to work his way up the depth chart. He started two years for the Bruins and posted 109 catches for 1,192 yards and five touchdowns at UCLA.


With Mike Sellers turning 35 years old this year, the Redskins have wanted to groom a young fullback for several years. Dennis Morris, at 6-2 and 265 pounds, is the latest candidate.

A 2010 sixth-round draft pick, Morris flashed impressive skills as a blocker and a pass-catcher during mini-camps and OTAs.

With his 6-2, 265-pound frame, he is difficult to miss when he is running downfield and he is difficult to tackle for smaller cornerbacks and safeties.

In four years at Louisiana Tech, Morris caught 70 passes for 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns.

"I feel like I'm pretty fast for my size and I can catch the ball well," Morris said. "I'm pretty aggressive. I like to block."

Morris can also play tight end and H-back and he could have a role on special teams. His versatility could earn him playing time on game days.


Perry Riley played weak-side linebacker in LSU's 4-3 defense the last two years, but many believed even then he would be well-suited to play in a 3-4.

Count Riley, the Redskins' fourth-round draft pick last year, among them.

"Linebacker is linebacker," he said. "You get in there--see ball, hit ball. Find the running back and tackle him. Blitz and beat the offensive guard. It'll be a little different, but I'll adjust to it."

It's likely that Riley won't be pressured to step into a significant role in his rookie year. London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh are expected to start and the backups include veteran Chris Draft and fourth-year player H.B. Blades.

Riley, who has good size at 6-0 and 242 pounds, can learn defense at his own pace. However, he will be asked to play special teams, where he can establish himself.


You can't miss Brandon Banks at Redskins training camp. At 5-7 and 150 pounds, he is the smallest player on the team.

Banks is a roster long-shot, but his breakaway speed impressed coaches on kick returns. He showed the ability to break tackles, too.

Given his underdog status, Banks could quickly become a fan favorite, similar to Rock Cartwright (who also played college football at Kansas State) in years past.

Last year, Banks tied for the nation's lead in kickoff returns for touchdowns with four. He was 12th in the nation with a 28-.9-yard kick return average and he was 35th in the nation with a 9.1-yard punt return average.

As a wide receiver, Banks led the Wildcats' offense with 56 catches for 705 yards last year.

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