The Washington Times - August 10, 2011, 04:30PM

Breaking down what I saw at Wednesday’s practice:

The more I see of WR Leonard Hankerson, the more he looks like a true third-rounder. With each dropped pass—and there was another on Wednesday during team drills—it becomes more difficult to say the Redskins got a steal when they drafted Hankerson in the third round.

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He has significant upside as a long strider who can stretch the field and use his quality size (6-foot-2) on shorter routes, but the frequency at which he drops passes is a bit stunning. Then again, drops are a major reason why he was available for the Redskins at No. 79.

Here’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s take on Hankerson after Wednesday’s practice: “He’s shown his talent. He’s a very natural receiver and he’s got a chance to be very good, but he’s very inconsistent right now, like a lot of rookies are. He’s been real up and down, and until he can get more consistency, he’ll never get to that point.”

Dropping passes in practice is one thing; dropping them in games is another. So let’s see how Hankerson does on Friday against Pittsburgh.

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I mentioned on Tuesday how QB Rex Grossman snuck a throw from the right hash to the left sideline past SSReed Doughty. Well, FS Chris Horton got his hands on a similar throw Wednesday. Grossman’s pass to TE Fred Davis near the right sideline floated, giving Horton ample time to close on the play and break it up. I’ll say it again: Grossman is living dangerously with those long throws to the outside. He doesn’t have the arm strength to consistently complete them and avoid turnovers.

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FB Darrel Young pancaked rookie LOLB Ryan Kerrigan during 11-on-11 drills. Young relishes contact after playing linebacker in college, and that was a fun one to watch. He stuck his shoulder in Kerrigan’s chest. Young is impressing coaches in his audition with the first string. He caught another touchdown Wednesday during red zone drills.

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I watched RG Chris Chester for a few snaps, and he was good except for when he committed a false start. On one running play, he got wide and mauled ILB Perry Riley as Riley tried to fill the hole. On a play-action pass, he sold his run block well by running hard to the right and then pushed LDE Adam Carriker out of the play. Chester seems to have fit into the line smoothly since he started practicing last week. We’ll know more Friday.

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Wednesday’s kicking update: Incumbent Graham Gano finished practice 7-of-8 on field goals. He made two from approximately 54 yards that would’ve been good from 60-plus. Challenger Shayne Graham made 3 of 6 attempts. He badly shanked his 54-yarder. It came off his foot awkwardly, and I’m not sure it even reached the end zone. Advantage: Gano.

The kickers will alternate field goal attempts during preseason games, coach Mike Shanahan said.

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Rookie RB Evan Royster squared up a pass block against blitzing ILB Perry Riley during team drills. He’s been good in pass protection during practice, and I’m eager to see whether it carries over to defenders running at game speed. Something tells me that he’ll have plenty of chances to prove himself on Friday behind the Redskins’ offensive line reserves.

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OLB Rob Jackson beat OL Corey O’Daniel during one-on-one drills by hacking down on O’Daniels hands and getting to his outside shoulder. OK, so Jackson is a three-year vet who should beat an undrafted free agent. But he needs to do that consistently to show that he’s worthy of being the top reserve outside linebacker—and prove that he can make plays in space.

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WR Niles Paul ducked his head on a backside run block. When the play went to his side, he moved against the flow and blocked the backside linebacker with poor form. Perhaps Paul should get a pass on that one, though, because players weren’t wearing pads. Overall, Paul has blocked well in camp, and he could separate himself more with a good game Friday.

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CB Kevin Barnes drove hard on WR Terrence Austin’s comeback route and broke up the pass. Austin (listed at 5-11, 175) doesn’t have the size to effectively use his body as a shield, but Barnes made a nice play. Barnes still has to prove that he’s worthy of the No. 3 cornerback spot while CB Phillip Buchanon is suspended. The Redskins always could go out and sign someone; free agent Kelvin Hayden recently took a physical at Redskins Park.

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WR Anthony Armstrong beat CB Byron Westbrook on a deep post for a long touchdown from QB Rex Grossman. It was a great throw with nice touch, but most importantly it provided a learning opportunity for rookie S DeJon Gomes.

Westbrook expected Gomes to help him over the top. Gomes, however, told me after practice that he didn’t read his keys properly. He locked onto the outside receiver on the right side of the formation instead of recognizing that Armstrong, who lined up in the right slot, was going deep.  

Several coaches have described Gomes as talented but raw. We’ll see where that lands him at the end of the preseason.

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I still haven’t seen G Selvish Capers do anything to prove he deserves a roster spot. It seemed as though his feet were cinder blocks as LDE Adam Carriker and ILB Rocky McIntosh ran past him for a sack during team drills. Capers was too slow and overmatched. In OL-vs.-DL drills, Carriker beat him on a stunt. Maybe Capers will improve in the game. Goodness, he has to.