The Redskins don’t have one running back who fits everything they want. They do hope they have three who can give them everything they need.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the three running backs –- Tim Hightower, Evan Royster and Roy Helu -- competing for the starting job:

Tim Hightower

In his favor: He’s more proven than the other two and has the best all-around game. Hightower was the starter in 2011 before tearing his left ACL. And few work harder than the five-year veteran. His pass protection is the best of this group, an important fact with a rookie starting quarterback. He has good hands and runs with more violence than the other two.

Concerns: Coach Mike Shanahan has said several times that he’s not close to 100 percent after ACL surgery in November. History proves that it’s difficult for running backs in the first year after ACL surgery. It’s not the straight-ahead speed that’s a worry, but the cutting. And this is a running game predicated on cuts. Also, even before his injury Hightower was a feast-or-famine runner with a lot of runs for two yards or less (his longest run in 84 carries was 22 yards) as he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.

Quote: “I want to be the starter because I earned that spot and I’m the best man for that. That’s why I will be when that’s the case. Right now I have a lot to prove. I have to focus on me getting back to where I need to be,” Hightower said.

Evan Royster

In his favor: No running back improved as much as Royster did in 2011. In training camp he stutter-stepped too much before cutting and it slowed him. But when he got his chance late in the year those stutter steps were eliminated. He broke more tackles than anticipated. He’s decisive with his cuts and is an adequate pass protector. He’s worked with the starters through the first week of camp. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry last season.

Concerns: Royster hasn’t proven he can carry the load for 16 games. At 216 pounds he’s not a big back so durability is an issue. His speed and balance were issues downfield in 2011. He excelled at reaching the secondary last season but he rarely got beyond (longest run: 28 yards). Some of that was his balance (he fell on some cuts); some was speed.

Quote: “He seems to always make the right cut. Once he gets that balance after that 10-15 yards like he did in the last couple games I think you’ll see those big plays more and more. He’s got some great instincts and he’s got great control of his body,” Coach Mike Shanahan said.

Roy Helu

In his favor: He’s probably the most dynamic runner of the group, (though his longest run was only 28 yards in 151 carries; that must improve). Helu impressed coaches by running with more power than he had showed on film at Nebraska. No other back on the roster could match his leaping over the defender en route to a touchdown, which he did against Seattle last season. He’s also the most dangerous on screens.

Concerns: Helu’s durability is a major question. After rushing 96 times in a four-game stretch, he carried a combined four times in the next two games. His body appears to be more suited for 15 touches a game. He needs to improve in pass protection.

Quote: “[For me] it’s just knowing the schemes more, being more disciplined in my track going to the hole,” Helu said.

Follow John Keim on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLWAS or @John_Keim.