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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Safety

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Safety

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

So far we’ve looked at the defensive line, outside linebackers, cornerbacks, and inside linebackers.  Today the focus turns to safeties.

2016 final game starters: Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon

Neither was the planned starter at the beginning of the year. DeAngelo Hall was put in injured reserve in Week 4 and David Bruton was put in IR and later released.

Departures: Ihenacho, Donte Whitner (unsigned)

The Redskins showed no interest in bringing back Ihenacho, who started 10 games. The word was that the coaches thought that he freelanced too much and he led the team in missed tackles with 15 even though nine defenders played more snaps.

Whitner started nine games after being signed off the street in Week 5, a statement on how desperate the Redskins were for any kind of help. The Redskins have not shown any interest in his return.

Projected 2017 starters: Su’a Cravens, D.J. Swearinger

The move of Cravens from nickel linebacker to safety will be among the most scrutinized changes during the offseason program, in training camp, and the regular season. Speed is the primary concern. He ran a 4.69 in the 40 last year at his pro day. Only three safeties at last year’s combine ran a slower time. Jay Gruden said recently that he is confident in Cravens’ play speed; we will see how it turns out.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 8.0

Swearinger will line up at free safety. He was primarily a hard-hitting strong safety in his first two years in the NFL. After joining the Cardinals late in the 2015 season he began to play some free. The Redskins apparently liked what they saw on film enough to sign Swearinger to a free-agent contract. His ability to play in space as the last line of defense also will be under the microscope this year.  

2017 reserves: DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Josh Evans

This is a shaky group. Hall will be 34 before the season ends and he has missed significant time due to injuries in each of the last three years. Blackmon played pretty well in six starts but he turns 33 around midseason.

MORE REDSKINS: Team announces preseason opponents

Evans is an interesting prospect. He was signed in Week 5, cut two weeks later, and then re-signed for the final game. Although he didn’t play a defensive snap in Washington he did start 36 games in three seasons in Jacksonville. Since Hall and Blackmon both converted from cornerback to safety just last year so Evans is by far the most experienced backup safety on the roster.

Everett, also a converted cornerback, played just 40 snaps on defense, all in the last four games. He got a key interception against the Eagles in his first appearance. The third-year player will be an interesting project to watch.   

Where can the safeties find improvement?

I think that the two new starters are the obvious path to improvement. In Cravens and Swearinger the Redskins will start two young safeties who have the potential to be around and improve for the next several years. There may be some bumps at the outset but the hope is that they can be a solid tandem.

This year’s draft in unusual in that it is strong at the safety position. With Hall and Blackmon unlikely to be around in 2018, the Redskins could use some depth at the position. If they take one early, it would take some creativity for Greg Manusky and new defensive backs coach Torian Gray to work him into the lineup. But it would be one of those good problems to have.

Locks and bubble players

Swearinger and Cravens are the only sure locks. Hall probably is, too, assuming he rebounds from his ACL tear and makes a downward adjustment to his $4.25 million salary.

The team will keep four or five safeties so Blackmon, Everett, and Evans all could stay. But adding a draft pick to the mix could have them competing for the remaining one or two roster spots.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins struggling O-line takes hit as Spencer Long gets knee scope, per report

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USA Today Sports

Redskins struggling O-line takes hit as Spencer Long gets knee scope, per report

The Redskins offensive line struggled through the first two games of the 2017 preseason, and more bad news arrived Monday night when CBS Sports reported that center Spencer Long underwent a knee scope and is expected to miss the next two weeks.

Long moved to center last season when Kory Lichtensteiger got injured, and the results were solid. In 2015, Long started a number of games at left guard, but at center in 2016, he seemed a natural fit as a leader and a quick learner calling the Redskins protections. 

With Long expected to miss some time, rookie Chase Roullier will take over the top center job. Rouillier played center his senior season at Wyoming and earned All Mountain West honors. At 6-foot-4 and 312 lbs., Roullier has comparable size to Long, who goes 6-foot-5 and 320 lbs. Both players also played some guard in college. 

Washington coach Jay Gruden has repeatedly talked about the importance of a backup center, and with Roullier now moved to the top line, expect the Redskins to move quick to bring a veteran in for depth. This will make sorting out the offensive line roster even murkier as the Redskins approach roster cuts after their fourth preseason game. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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Odell Beckham Jr. leaves Giants-Browns game after nasty-looking hit

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@jawnes12

Odell Beckham Jr. leaves Giants-Browns game after nasty-looking hit

NFL preseason games usually don't cause a stir on the Internet. That is, until a very important player suffers an injury in one.

That's exactly what happened during Monday night's Giants-Browns game in Cleveland. While going up to snag an Eli Manning pass, Odell Beckham Jr. was cut down by Briean Boddy-Calhoun on what was a gruesome-looking play:

MORE: FIVE MOST DIFFICULT PASS RUSHERS 2017 REDSKINS WILL FACE

At first, Beckham Jr. somehow looked like he was going to be OK. But he eventually had to head to the New York locker room, and the team later said his ankle is what they were concerned about:

If that's all it turns out to be, consider the receiver and the Giants lucky. In looking at replays of the hit, it's remarkable to think that he could emerge from it with no knee issues. 

New York will surely update his status once they find out more.

UPDATE - 10:26 P.M.

The entire Big Apple sighs a giant sigh of relief:

RELATED: THE EFFECT JORDAN REED'S RETURN SHOULD HAVE