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2018 Redskins In Richmond: Running Backs

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With training camp set to begin next month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing with the team's running backs.

With Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson returning to full health alongside second-year Oklahoma product Samaje Perine and highly-touted rookie Derrius Guice, the Redskins enter the 2018 season with a belief their running backs corps is the best it has been in years.

Addition(s): Derrius Guice (NFL Draft) and Martez Carter (College Free Agent)

Subtraction(s): LeShun Daniels (waived), Kenny Hilliard (waived) and Dare Ogunbowale (waived)

CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:

After a season marred by injuries, the Washington Redskins enter the 2018 season with a bevy of talent at the running back position.

First, fifth-year veteran Chris Thompson is set to be ready for the start of the regular season after suffering a fractured fibula last November. Prior to the season-ending injury, Thompson was smashing his own personal bests with ease.

In 10 outings, the Florida State product recorded 294 rushing yards with two scores on 64 carries along with 39 receptions for 510 yards and four touchdowns. The 27-year-old tallied a career-high 150 receiving yards in a 27-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 3.

Along with Thompson, Rob Kelley saw his 2017 season cut short due to injuries.

After a breakout season as a rookie in 2016, Kelley entered last year as the team's No. 1 running back. But the Tulane product was slowed by various injuries throughout his seven starts. In total, the 25-year-old recorded just 194 yards and three touchdowns on 62 attempts.

With Kelley sidelined for the second half of the season, the Redskins called on 2017 fourth-round pick Samaje Perine to carry the load. The University of Oklahoma's all-time leading rusher led Washington in rushing during his debut campaign, totaling 603 yards.

In Weeks 11 and 12 against the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants respectively, Perine topped the 100-yard mark. In the process, he became the first Redskins running back to collect back-to-back 100-yard performances since Alfred Morris did so in 2013.

Perine was joined on the active roster late in the season by the likes of Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs among others.

Marshall appeared in four games to register nine carries for 32 yards and six receptions for 36 yards while Bibbs took a screen pass for a 36-yard touchdown in his Washington debut against the Arizona Cardinals before collecting 100 offensive yards in the season finale against the Giants.

Joining the other veterans on the 90-man roster is Keith Marshall, a seventh-round pick for Washington in the 2016 NFL Draft. Marshall clocked the fastest 40-yard time at the NFL Combine that year, but he has yet to see the field in regular season action after back-to-back season-ending injuries.

The group is rounded out by two rookies in second-round pick Derrius Guice along with college free agent signing Martez Carter.

Guice was expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but ultimately fell to late in the second round before Washington selected him.

In three seasons at LSU, Guice carried the ball 471 times for 3,074 yards and 29 touchdowns along with 32 receptions for 250 yards and three receiving touchdowns.

As for Carter, he spent four seasons at Grambling State where he carried the ball 398 times for 2,634 yards and 30 touchdowns along with catching 74 passes for 2,643 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Redskins also have a fullback on the roster in rookie Elijah Wellman out of West Virginia.

WHAT TO WATCH:

In terms of health, the Redskins expect a healthy Thompson to return at some point during training camp, which will give quarterback Alex Smith the opportunity to work with the lethal backfield threat.

Then with the rest of the running back corps, it will be determining how the hierarchy will shape up. Guice, Perine and Kelley will all likely get extended work with the first-team offense as the Redskins determine the best rotation.

"We've got a good group of backs, and they all bring something different to the table, but they are very good players, so we've just got to let it play out and let them continue to compete, try to give them as many opportunities as possible and let it play out," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden last month. "I've been very, very impressed with the entire group."

Outside of the expected top four running backs, training camp could will allow for ample exposure for both Marshalls and Bibbs as well. Of course, neither Byron Marshall nor Bibbs was in Washington's training camp last year.

Carter, meanwhile, will try to find a way to crack the active roster like Kelley did as an undrafted free agent signing two years ago while Wellman will make his case to be the first fullback to make it past the preseason since Darrel Young in 2015.

"We'll continue to look at Elijah and see how he does," Gruden said. "It's good for our defense also to see some reps with teams with a fullback, so we are giving them a good look at lead plays and power plays and all that stuff so they can prepare for it. It was also a chance for Elijah to make the team whether we need a fullback or not."

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