The Redskins’ contract talks with Brian Orakpo remain at a standstill. The team has yet to make their outside linebacker a firm contract offer, according to the Washington Post. The deadline for using the franchise player tag on Orakpo comes this Monday at 4 p.m. and there is no indication that the Redskins are going to use it. That would greatly increase the chances that the Redskins will have to prepare for a future without their leading pass rusher for the last five years.
Although we don’t know what they will do, the best move might be to move Ryan Kerrigan, who was second on the team in sacks last year, from the left outside linebacker to the right side. That would put their best pass rusher on the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks.
Kerrigan would represent a minimal downgrade from Orakpo on that right side, arguably the most important position in a 3-4 defense. The issue would become replacing Kerrigan on the left side.
The only legitimate candidate who the Redskins have under contract at that spot now is second-year player Brandon Jenkins. The staff was very high on him last year but he played sparingly and is very much an unproven commodity.
They also could bring back Rob Jackson and/or Darryl Tapp. Jackson started 14 games on the right side in 2012 when Orakpo was out with an injury. He is good in pass coverage but does not provide much pass pressure. Tapp is solid against the run but he also is limited when it comes to pass rushing.
Another option would be to bring in somebody in free agency or the draft. But premiere pass rusher are expensive in free agency (if they weren’t the Redskins may have locked up Orakpo a long time ago) and, like most years, the draft is not loaded with them.
Some NFL teams have been hesitant to draft Alabama defenders. Not the Redskins. They have added two in two days.
With their second-round pick, the Redskins have drafted linebacker Ryan Anderson of the Crimson Tide. He had nine sacks and an interception for the national runners up last year.
Anderson was a five-star recruit coming out of high school but he didn’t become a full time starter until 2016.
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The Redskins may use him at outside linebacker as an edge rusher. At 6-2, 253 they may want him to add a few pounds to defend against the run. Some scouts believe he also could play at inside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 base defense.
On Thursday the Redskins made Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen their top pick.
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The Redskins continued a trend on Friday with their second round selection: drafting Alabama defensive players. This time it was an edge rusher in Ryan Anderson, a pick that surprised many.
Most draft experts pegged Anderson as a third or fourth round pick, and Washington took the 'Bama linebacker with plenty of more notable names still on the board. The biggest knock on Anderson is a lack of speed, his 40-time came in at 4.78.
Beyond that? There is plenty to like.
Despite coming to Tuscaloosa as a five-star recruit, Anderson earned his minutes over time. In four seasons, he incremantally improved, became a starter as a senior and posted his best statistical year with 18.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
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What Washington might like most is he is a well disciplined player that plays assignment perfect football. And, oh yeah, he's extremely motivated.
On a conference call, Anderson said his goal is to be the best outside linebacker in the draft. Asked about the pre-draft process, where his lack of speed was highlighted, Anderson was clear.
"I'm not a combine warrior. I'm a football player."
Scot McCloughan famously wanted football players. Though he's gone, that desire likely remains within the halls at Redskins Park.
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