Malcolm Kelly has won the three-way battle for the Washington Redskins' No. 2 receiver.

Coach Jim Zorn said Wednesday that Kelly earned the nod ahead of veteran Antwaan Randle El and fellow second-year player Devin Thomas.

"He's gone all of training camp really improving along the way," Zorn said. "His overall explosion along the line of scrimmage has been very good."

Kelly was limited by a knee injury as a rookie. The second-round draft pick from Oklahoma played in only five games and caught just three passes.

"This is what we've been waiting for," Zorn said. "We wish we would have had what he's doing now last year. I think he's earned the right to get out there and mix it up."

At 6-foot-4, Kelly gives quarterback Jason Campbell a sizable target opposite 5-10 Santana Moss. Randle El, who caught 53 passes for 593 yards and four touchdowns last year, will see action primarily as a slot receiver on passing downs.

The decision ends another disappointing preseason for Thomas, also a second-round pick in 2008. Thomas struggled to master the offense last year and caught only 15 passes, but he was considered by Zorn to be ahead of Kelly early in training camp.

Zorn said he'll also try to find room for Thomas in the game plan.

"He's shown in preseason he's somebody we want to throw the ball to," the coach said.