Washington Redskins

Chris Thompson to Redskins: How Running Back Fits with Washington

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Chris Thompson #4 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

The Washington Redskins needed a speedy complement for running back Alfred Morris. They certainly found one with Chris Thompson.

The Redskins took the former FSU speedster with their first pick in the fifth round. He will add greater versatility and big-play potential at running back, provided he can emerge from a crowded rotation.

Thompson is certainly quick and shifty. He posted a 7.5 yards per carry average in 2012, according to Cfbstats.com.

That element of breakaway speed will add variety to last season's top-ranked rushing game. Thompson will threaten the edges of a defense.

However, his ability to dart through a defense won't just be restricted to the outside. The Redskins could use some interior zone-blocking to free Thompson on some quick-hit draws and inside traps.

The 5'7", 192-pounder will offer the type of threat Morris can't. Morris excels when quickly cutting upfield to punish would-be tacklers.

The only other back on the roster who offers speed, is Roy Helu Jr. However, the 2011 fourth-rounder has been hampered by injuries and missed 13 games in 2012.

The Redskins need a fleet-footed scat back to add to their read-option, pistol offense. Every option-based attack needs a shifty burner.

Think of the likes of Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams. More specifically, diminutive pair LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner made great strides in Oregon's option offense.

Imagine the threat of Thompson's speed in the backfield alongside Robert Griffin III's threat as a runner. In triple-option looks the Redskins used Brandon Banks last season, but that didn't really work.

Add Thompson alongside Griffin and Morris, and that's a nightmare for any defense. Thompson also increases the options in the passing game.

He's a productive receiver out of the backfield. That's something Washington's offense certainly doesn't have. Morris, Helu and Evan Royster combined for 33 receptions in 2012.

The Redskins added a dynamic third-down back, which was something of a need, They must be enamoured with Thompson, because they left the likes of Ellington, Barner and Williams on the board.

However, Mike Shanahan usually gets production from every late-round runner he takes. So it's probably safer to bow to his judgement.

If the Redskins continue to successfully scheme option plays from the pistol, Thompson's speed could be lethal in 2013.

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