Through the Redskins' first two games, one thing has been extraordinarily clear: Su'a Cravens is a passionate football player.
Making the most of his limited playing time in the Redskins' nickel and dime packages, Cravens has collected eight tackles on just 38 defensive snaps and 29 special teams snaps, becoming a force when the opposing offense is put into long-distance downs.
The folks at Pro Football Focus have noticed his playmaking ability early in the season and give him the sixth spot on their list of the Top 10 graded rookies through two weeks in the NFL.
"Cravens gets dinged here more for his playing time rather than for anything negative he's done on the field…In those limited snaps, though, he already leads all rookie linebackers in coverage stops and overall grade. Because of his size, more snaps may not be on the horizon anytime soon, but if he keeps playing at a high level, there will be a spot for him on the list."
During a third-and-16 in the fourth quarter last Sunday, Cravens played off into the slot and wrapped up wide receiver Cole Beasley, who tried to scamper for a first down on a short pass but came up six yards short. On the next Cowboys possession, Cravens sniffed out a run play to the left and darted behind the line of scrimmage to hit running back Ezekiel Elliott for a 4-yard loss.
After the tackle on Beasley to force fourth down, Cravens borrowed a J.R. Smith celebration for good measure.
"I like his energy, man," head coach Jay Gruden said. "I think you can feel him out there, see him making plays and he's around the ball a lot which is good to see. We've just got to keep coaching him up and he's going to be a heck of a player for us, especially in those nickel situations. He's a good blitzer, he can cover and obviously he can tackle."
As the season progresses, and as Cravens game does, it would seem prudent to include him on more snaps.
"I just want to be on the field," Cravens said. "The football player that I am, if I get the chance to run down on a kickoff or run down on a punt and make a tackle, I'm [going to] do it."