For this week's edition of the Washington Redskins Player Power Rankings, we realized we had one of two choices. We could proceed as normal and rank the 10 best players on the team, even though most of the team stunk in a 33-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers and some of the ones who didn't are now injured. Or ... we could forget about the traditional format and instead do something completely different. We chose option B.
Our task was coming up with an actual gimmick for Option B. Given all the team's injuries, we found one pretty quickly. Here now are the 10 best players on the Washington Redskins who did not begin the year as a projected starter on the depth chart. In other words, we're talking about the team's 10 best projected backups. Many of these players have now been thrust into starting roles, so we figured this was both timely and worthy of debate.
Your voters: Mike Prada, Scott Jackson, Daniel Shiferaw, JP Finlay, TJ Doyle and Martin Shatzer.
1. Fred Davis (60 points)
A no-brainer here. Frankly, Davis has been the better player than the now-injured Chris Cooley all summer and fall. Through seven weeks, Davis is third in the league in receiving yards among tight ends, trailing Jimmy Graham of New Orleans and Jason Witten of Dallas. He's become the Redskins' only true weapon in the passing game with the injury to Santana Moss, and his blocking is improving too. It's almost worth wondering whether he should have been on the field more last season.
2. Ryan Torain (52 points)
Another fairly unanimous choice. Torain was ninth on everyone's ballot but mine, mostly on the strength of his big performance against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4. My issue with putting him this high: look at the snap distribution from Sunday's game. Torain barely played, whereas Roy Helu got all the snaps once Tim Hightower went down. I had trouble putting Torain at No. 2 when I'm not sure whether he'll start next Sunday.
3. John Beck (41 points)
Beck wasn't especially great against Carolina, but he wasn't especially awful either, which is what you want in a backup quarterback. Unfortunately, that's better than what the starting quarterback can provide at this point. JP obviously isn't a Beck believer, as he had him way down at eighth on his list.
T4. Roy Helu (38 points)
The Redskins' rookie has shown flashes (4.9 yards per carry), but has yet to put it together. I have more faith than most that he will, which is why he was second on my list. He was much lower on everyone else's.
T4. Lorenzo Alexander (38 points)
The consummate backup and special teams ace, Alexander is exactly the kind of guy you want somewhere along your roster. He can fill in when one of your starters goes down and still manages to make an impact in the few opportunities he gets. Luckily, the Redskins haven't suffered serious injuries at linebacker yet to the point where he would have to demonstrate his value.
6. Rob Jackson (24 points)
This may be a bit high for the former seventh-round pick, but Jackson seems to have a nose for making the kinds of plays most backups don't make, even in limited action. He's a decent edge-rushing option in the rare instances where Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan need a breather.
T7. Brandon Banks (21 points)
We don't necessarily consider kick returners starters, which is why Banks is eligible for this list. He's still a threat in the return game, but has not broken one in a while and often takes the ball out of the end zone too deep in a desperate attempt to do something. Still, he's the rare backup who can change a game, so he'll be on this list.
T7. Chris Neild (21 points)
The seventh-round nose tackle has been pretty quiet since registering 1.5 sacks in the season-opening win over the New York Giants. Wonder where he's been.
9. Logan Paulsen (14 points)
Hey, a backup's backup makes the list! Paulsen has emerged as a pretty solid blocking tight end option, and even showed he could catch some passes on a couple scoring drives on Sunday.
10. Kevin Barnes (9 points)
Started off the season pretty well, but has had a couple very rough games recently, including a really bad one on Sunday. I guess this shows the Redskins aren't a very deep team. Womp womp.
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Anthony Armstrong, Erik Cook, Reed Doughty, Byron Westbrook, Niles Paul.
NOT RECEIVING VOTES: Leonard Hankerson, Mike Sellers, Sherman Lewis, Justin Tryon, Stephon Heyer.