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Redskins working Su'a Cravens at inside linebacker


The hybrid player (linebacker/safety) is not a new concept in the NFL, but it is picking up steam of late.

Colleague Chris Wesseling noted as much when talking about Mark Barron in Los Angeles. Now, the Washington Redskins are working to find similar success with second-round pick Su'a Cravens.

On Saturday that meant watching him at linebacker, even if he's listed as a safety.

"We're going to continue to figure that out," head coach Jay Gruden told reporters Saturday. "You know, that's what our job is -- to try to get him in the best situation possible where he's most comfortable. But initially we have to teach him a position, and right now it's going to be the inside linebacker, and then from there we might branch off where it's the nickel and it could be safety later on. But initially, give him something to sink his teeth into, learn it and then go on from there and see what he can do."

Cravens said he got a playbook on the first day of rookie camp and was told to have it memorized by the next day.

With more teams sitting in Nickel for prolonged periods of time -- and teams facing offenses trying to run a no huddle to trap mismatched personnel on the field -- Cravens' situation is the new normal. We saw Carolina seek out Washington hybrid Shaq Thompson in last year's draft for similar reasons. The tight ends are more athletic than ever, and the linebackers need to follow suit.

That's why plugging him in on a depth chart is a fruitless exercise. Gruden has him learning linebacker for now, but that is just one section of the massive playbook he'll need to memorize.