Everyone knows the Redskins have plenty of personnel needs on both sides of the ball and the temptation is to say that they just need everything. And while there isn’t a position on the field where they can’t use some help, some areas are in more dire need than others.
In an attempt to quantify that, let’s put each position group on a needs meter. The scale is 1-10 and here’s the scale:
1—The depth chart at the position is completely set with players entering prime ages with market value contracts.
5—The team has enough NFL-caliber players under contract at the position but it could use quality depth and some replacement planning for aging players.
10—There are no players under contract who could reasonably be expected to start 16 games.
We’ll look at the offensive side of the ball today, the defense next week.
Offensive line—They have four of the players who started most of the year under contract plus Shaun Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger, who missed most of the season with injuries. The unit did well on pass blocking but run blocking left a lot to be desired. They are locked in at two positions, with Trent Williams at left tackle and Brandon Scherff at right guard, and Morgan Moses is probably set at right tackle, although if an upgrade was available in the draft Scot McCloughan might pull the trigger. They have some young depth in Arie Kouandjio and they got some good play from Ty Nsekhe, who is a low-mileage 30 years old.
Need Meter: 5 They need to upgrade a center sooner or later and add some depth as Lauvao is a question mark due to health issues.
Running back—Alfred Morris is a free agent and he is likely (although not certain) to be playing elsewhere. Matt Jones may have a chance to grab the starting job but he has a lot to learn and a lot to prove. Third-down back Chris Thompson should be recovered from shoulder surgery by the time training camp comes around but he’s not a workhorse back. Also returning from injury is Silas Redd but he has a lot to prove as well.
Need meter: 8 Even if Jones proves he can be a starting NFL back there is still a need for depth. Redd may prove to be the guy but some free agent dollars and/or a draft pick must be invested in the position.
Tight end—Jordan Reed is a star in the making if he’s not a star already and Niles Paul should be healthy enough for OTAs and work as Reed’s backup. Derek Carrier is pretty good pass catcher but blocking is not his forte as is the case with the other two.
Need meter: 6 A blocking tight end would be a great addition but as colleges go more to spread offenses that don’t utilize big-body tight ends they get tougher to find.
Wide receiver—There is plenty of discussion about Pierre Garçon and/or DeSean Jackson becoming cap casualties. Whether they are or aren’t, there is still a need to get some quality receivers in the building. Both are approaching the age of 30 and will be in the last year of their contracts. Jamison Crowder is fine in the slot. But with Andre Roberts likely to be gone the only receivers left on the roster are Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross. Close your eyes and envision them at your 2017 starters.
Need meter: 7 This is not quite as urgent as the running back position is as they should be in good shape in 2016. But with the future looking shaky some more quality depth is needed.
Quarterback—The reasonable assumption is that Kirk Cousins will be back either under the franchise tag or with a long-term deal. Then it gets iffy. Robert Griffin III will be released. The Redskins probably will want Colt McCoy back but he might want to go somewhere with a shakier quarterback situation where he has a chance to start some games. And whether he goes or stays the team will still need a developmental quarterback on the roster.
Need meter: 8 This is based on the notion the McCoy leaves for what he perceives to be greener pastures. A veteran backup who could step in if there is an emergency would be needed in addition to the developmental QB. If McCoy stays this drops down to about a 6.