Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett continues to be impressed with top draft picks linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins.
Kerrigan and Jenkins saw their first NFL preseason action last Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kerrigan, the Redskins' first-round pick (16th overall), made his debut at his new position – outside linebacker – and wasted no time getting involved in the action. He posted three tackles, including one for a loss, and a quarterback hit.
Kerrigan has played with the first-team defense since the start of training camp. It is becoming increasingly likely that he could be the Redskins' opening day starter at outside linebacker.
"I wouldn't be surprised," Haslett said when asked if Kerrigan would start in Week 1.
Even though Kerrigan has impressed early on, he still faces a steep learning curve, Haslett added.
"Ryan is a work in progress," Haslett said. "He will get better every day he plays. You know everything is new for him because he's standing up, so the coverage aspect of it he has to keep working on.
"To me he is a powerful guy who can make a lot of plays because of his body structure and the way he plays. He plays hard."
Kerrigan played defensive end at Purdue but Haslett immediately turned him into a linebacker after the Redskins drafted him. The NFL lockout last offseason hindered Kerrigan's adjustment to his new position.
Fellow linebacker Brian Orakpo, who made the transition from defensive end to linebacker in 2010, is giving the rookie as much help as he can.
Said Haslett: "Orakpo talks to Ryan all the time about little things, about hand usage, coverage, because Orakpo went through it last year. He had a lot to learn."
Second-round pick Jenkins also showed promise in the pass rush against Pittsburgh, posting a quarterback hit of his own.
"He's a better pass rusher than I saw on tape," Haslett said. "He has the physical ability to be a pretty good pass rusher in the league. Jarvis is a smart kid I was impressed with both of them [Kerrigan] last week."