Divination: Chris Thompson will be the '14 change of pace.Posted on August 01, 2014 by Matt Sloopka
After watching some training camp footage, reading many different reports, live tweets, and listening to press conferences, I have a bold prediction.
Chris Thompson will be taking the 3rd spot on the running backs depth chart this year, and will become the Redskins change of pace back.
Alfred Morris has supplanted himself firmly in the role of the workhorse back with his success throughout the last two years, and Roy Helu will be the second stringer due primarily to his experience. The real battle is for the 3rd roster spot, in a camp battle between Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk, Chris Thompson, and long-shot Silas Redd (who I have heard good things about). I truly believe Royster is gone as he just hasn't brought anything to the table in recent years that can't be replaced with a fresh look. As I mentioned, Redd is a long-shot to make the roster simply due to the fact that the fight between CT and Lache leaves no room (and Lache's draft spot helps him).
With that said, what makes me believe Thompson beats out Seastrunk in camp? Chris Thompson is simply more versatile and experienced. Right now, Chris Thompson is taking 2nd string return snaps behind Andre Roberts, and as per numerous reports from beat writers and Coach Gruden's presser, he is a superior blocker. This is extremely important in 3rd-down spots, as we all know how important protecting RG3 is, and Seastrunk is simply inexperienced in picking up NFL blitzes. Although Seastrunk and Thompson possess similar agility and quickness, Thompson is also supposedly a better route-runner, which gives him another leg up in a role that is primarily focused on passing. Alfred Morris mentioned in his presser yesterday that he noticed CT's running ability has improved in coming off his injuries from previous years, and this has allowed him to step into the spotlight a little. Also, Morris mentioned how difficult it was for himself in the previous two years to get used to seeing the field properly and the importance of picking up blitzes. He mentioned if you can't protect your QB, you will sit, and this leaves signs pointing to CT in that 3rd spot.
The reason this is a somewhat bullish prediction is Coach Gruden is quoted as saying they need someone to "step up" and take over. This means there is still room for improvement for both Lache and CT, and the spot is still up for grabs, but if I do a little Harry Potter reading in the tea leaves, I think I am right on this one.
Take a look at Chris Thompson's college highlight tape and tell me you don't want to see these moves in the burgundy and gold: