Redskins needs analysis: Cornerback

Redskins needs analysis: Cornerback
March 9, 2014, 12:45 pm
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If you’ve read any Redskins related articles lately, you’ve no doubt encountered the phrase “lots of needs to address.” Indeed, the team has many holes, ranging from wide receiver to punter, that it must fill between the start of free agency on March 11 and Week 1 in September.

In the coming days, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will indentify those needs and present various ways the team can fill them.

Position: Cornerback

On the roster: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield. Hall has re-signed and will be counted upon to start and provide veteran leadership in 2014. Amerson, last season’s No. 3 corner, figures to get more responsibility in his second season. How much more? Likely depends on what the Redskins do in free agency. Crawford is coming off a serious knee injury; we won’t know how much he’ll be able to contribute until later this offseason. Minnifield, meantime, has yet to appear in regular season game and must prove he’s progressing in order to stick around.

Pending free agents: Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers. It’s unclear what the Redskins intend to do about Wilson, who had his share of good and bad moments last season while playing the second most snaps among defensive backs (behind Hall). But this much is clear: If the Skins indeed want to improve, not everyone from the NFL’s 20th ranked pass defense will be back. The team has expressed interest in re-signing Biggers as a No. 4 corner, but the front office has other priorities at the moment.

Free agent possibilities: Things have evolved a little since our cornerback edition of Free Agent Fits was published Feb. 20. Brent Grimes has re-signed with the Dolphins (four years, $32 million w/$16 million guaranteed). Sam Shields has re-upped with the Packers (four years, $39 million w/a $12.5 million signing bonus). And a Bleacher Report article has linked New England’s Aqib Talib to the Redskins. Which didn’t really come as a surprise. Talib is one of the top corners available and he was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2008 when Redskins GM Bruce Allen and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris held similar titles with the Bucs. Talib, however, reportedly wants to be paid like a top-of-the-market corner and if the Redskins comply, it could damage their chances of filling numerous other holes. If they don’t sign Talib, there will be many other options including the Indianapolis’ Vontae Davis, Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn, Denver’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, to name a few.

Draft possibilities: Without a first round pick, the Skins won’t have a shot at top prospects like Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State) or Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State). Corners in that next tier, though, could be in play. Some names to remember: Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State), Pierre Desir (Lindenwood), Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) and Keith McGill (Utah).

Prediction: The Redskins will let Wilson walk, allow the smoke to clear after the opening days of free agency and make a move on a second tier free agent like Munnerlyn. Also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team target a big corner like 6 foot 3, 218-pound Jean-Baptiste in the draft to groom as eventual starter a year or two from now.