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Redskins pre-draft depth chart review: Defense

Redskins pre-draft depth chart review: Defense

The Redskins’ depth chart is beginning to take shape after some free agency gains and losses. Let’s take a look at where they stand on each side of the ball. Yesterday we looked at the offense; today, the defense goes under the microscope.

Starters are listed first, reserves roughly in the order they would appear on a depth chart.

Defensive line: Kedric Golston (NT), Stephen Paea, Chris Baker
Reserves: Ricky Jean Francois, Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, Corey Crawford, Jerrell Powe (NT), Anthony Johnson, Christo Bilukidi, James Gayle, Kamal Johnson

It seems unlikely that Golston will actually be the nose tackle Week 1 but he was identified as the current starter by Jay Gruden a couple of weeks ago so that’s who we’ll go with. This looks like a bit of a logjam but actually it’s about right in terms of numbers; they will take about 12 defensive linemen to training camp. It’s likely that there will be some roster churn here after the draft as picks and undrafted free agents take the roster slots of some of the players down the depth chart.

Outside linebacker: Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan
Reserves: Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail, Desmond Bishop

They could trim one or two players here but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins go into training camp with most of this group intact. One change could be Murphy moving to the defensive line but that’s something that will be sorted out during OTAs and possibly training camp.

Inside linebacker: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Reserves: Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Garvin, Adam Hayward, Carlos Fields, Derrick Matthews

Hayward didn’t play at all last year after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason game and his roster status is up in the air. The Redskins could go into camp with the group they have now at this position.

Cornerback: Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Will Blackmon, Quinton Dunbar, Jeremy Harris, Dashon Phillips, Al Louis-Jean

Culliver is recovering from a torn ACL and the best-case scenario is for him to be ready for training camp. If the Redskins don’t add a corner in the draft they will probably sign at least one or two undrafted cornerbacks. A veteran acquisition after the draft is also a possibility.

Safety: DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho
Reserves: David Bruton, Kyshoen Jarrett, Deshazor Everett

Jarrett suffered an injury that has left him with limited strength in his right arm. He has gone to visit a specialist. At the moment, he could be ready for the start of training camp and he could miss all or most of the season. In any case, the Redskins will want to bring in two or three more safeties to fill out this unit for camp.

Tomorrow: A birds-eye view of the entire roster and the adjustments that will need to be made before the start of training camp.

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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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