- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cedric Griffin’s four-game drug suspension has created an opportunity for some of the Washington Redskins‘ unproven cornerbacks to contribute to a possible postseason push.

Newly signed D.J. Johnson and rookie seventh-round pick Richard Crawford are preparing to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Johnson, at 6-1 and 191 pounds, provides more length than Crawford, who is listed at 5-11.

Johnson has been with seven NFL teams since Denver signed him as a college free agent in 2009. He spent three weeks on the Redskins‘ active roster last November, and he re-signed here Oct. 22.

“I’m a tall corner that can run,” said Johnson, his one gold tooth gleaming. “That’s what they’re going to pay me to do.”

Crawford in the preseason had two interceptions and five passes defended, but that wasn’t an accurate indication of his readiness to play, he said.

“I was just kind of out being there freelancing,” Crawford said. “I was kind of being dumb about stuff like that. I feel like I improved on that aspect of the game.”

He helped to replace Griffin in Weeks 4 through 6 when Griffin was sidelined by a strained right hamstring. He played mostly in the slot, though, which defensive coordinator Jim Haslett acknowledged was a tough assignment for a rookie.

Crawford has been inactive for the past five games. That was an opportunity for him to learn in practice and as an observer during games.

Haslett sees upside in both players.

“I like D.J. because he’s long, he’s athletic,” Haslett said. “He hasn’t played a lot of football. He’s kind of bounced around, but I like his skills just from what I’ve seen. I haven’t really seen him live.

Richard’s a guy that has great ball skills. He’s extremely quick. He doesn’t understand the game fully yet, but he’s getting better on the outside than the inside. We just try to utilize what we think they do best, kind of like we do with the safeties.”

Compton promoted

Rookie offensive tackle Tom Compton became the last healthy member of the Redskins‘ nine-member draft class to make the active roster when he was promoted from the practice squad to fill suspended cornerback Cedric Griffin’s roster spot.

Compton, a sixth-round pick out of FCS program South Dakota, is the 10th offensive lineman on Washington’s active roster. Fortunately for the Redskins, though, they haven’t had to test that depth.

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