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Redskins post-draft depth chart, defense: Starting spots up for grabs

Redskins post-draft depth chart, defense: Starting spots up for grabs

Here is a look at the Redskins’ depth chart on defense after the draft. Undrafted free agents whose signings have been announced by the team are included. Take a look at the offensive depth chart from a post earlier this week.

Defensive line (11)

Starter: Kedric Golston (NT), Chris Baker, Stephen Paea
Backups: Kendall Reyes, Ricky Jean Francois, Trent Murphy, Matt Ioannidis, Ziggy Hood, Cory Crawford, James Gayle, Jerrell Powe

It seems that everyone is worried about who will play nose tackle except for Scot McCloughan, Jay Gruden, and Joe Barry. Apparently they will scheme around the lack of a Pot Roast-sized presence in the middle. In any case, there will be a strong rotation of ends if Paea bounces back after a rocky first season in Washington, Murphy can successfully transition from linebacker, and Ioannidis has some impact as a rookie.

Outside linebacker (6)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette
Reserves: Preston Smith, Houston Bates, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail

Inside linebacker (8)

Starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Reserves: Perry Riley, Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Garvin, Steven Daniels, Carlos Fields

With the move of Murphy to the line the vital outside linebacker position looks pretty thin all of a sudden. Galette, Kerrigan, and Smith all have the potential to produce double-digit sack totals but health, especially Galette’s, will be critical. Inside linebacker is crowded with Riley in the mix with Compton and Foster for starting jobs and all of the rest of them in legitimate contention for a backup/special teams spot.

Cornerback (8)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler, Jeremy Harris, Dashaun Phillips

Safety (7)

Starters: DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho
Reserves: David Bruton, Will Blackmon, Su’a Cravens, Deshazor Everett, Kyshoen Jarrett

Well, you can’t accuse the organization of recycling old safeties from around the league this year. Ihenacho has one season as a full-time starting safety on his resume; the rest of the players on the depth chart have none. There will be plenty of competition to see who makes it and how the depth chart shapes up. The cornerbacks could be a pretty good group, particularly if Dunbar continues to develop after a promising rookie season.

There currently are 39 defensive players on the roster; the Redskins will want to go into OTAs with about 43. They should look to bring in a defensive lineman, an outside linebacker, and one or two cornerbacks.

Seven of the 11 starting positions currently seem to be up in the air. There are legitimate competitions for two of the defensive line jobs, at inside linebacker, and at one of the safety spots.

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!