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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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Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

Picking 10 Redskins players to protect in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft

With the NHL adding a team in Las Vegas and the league's expansion draft taking place Wednesday, the internet started thinking about a hypothetical NFL expansion draft.

Since it's June and there's more than a month until training camp, why not give it a shot with the Redskins in mind? 

Remember the rules: In the NHL, no first- or second-year players were eligible for the Vegas Knights to pluck, so the same applies here. Nobody in the last year of their deal, either.

Going off of those parameters, check out this list of Redskins players who'd be wise to protect against possible expansion.

  1. Kirk Cousins - Obvious. Every team needs a QB, and with a long-term deal or not, Cousins is very likely under contract with the Redskins at least for the next two seasons. That has a huge amount of value.
  2. Jordan Reed - This contract jumps big time in 2018, but Reed is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. An elite route runner and gifted athlete, in his last 17 starts Reed has posted more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only thing that can slow Reed is his health, and that's a guy any team would want. 
  3. Trent Williams - Five straight Pro Bowls and perhaps the best left tackle in football makes this is a gimme. Williams is under contract through 2020, and by then, the money will seem like a bargain. 
  4. Jamison Crowder - Only two years left on his rookie deal, Crowder probably has the most valuable contract on the Redskins roster. Poised for his first 1,000 yard season in 2017, Crowder should emerge as one of the best slot WRs in the NFL. 
  5. Brandon Scherff - He was drafted to play tackle but it quickly became obvious that guard was the correct spot. Even with the shift in position, Scherff made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and looks primed to do the same for the next five years. Still on a rookie deal for two more years too. 
  6. Josh Norman - Don't be surprised that the first five protected players on this list come from the offense. Norman is an elite talent, yet he's being paid as such. In 2017, he will make $20 million. From 2018 to 2020, he will make at least $14.5 million per season. His skills are undeniable, but if you're building a team from scratch, that's a lot of salary cap. 
  7. Ryan Kerrigan - Pencil him in for double digit sacks. Count on him to work hard. Oh yeah, his contract runs through 2020. This one is easy. 
  8. Morgan Moses - Fresh off a new deal that will keep him with the Redskins through 2022, Moses is developing into one of the top right tackles in football. This contract would get snatched up in an expansion draft.
  9. Preston Smith - Two years left on his rookie deal and he still has all the potential in the world. Smith flashed serious sack potential as a rookie but fell off a bit in his second season. Year 3 will tell a lot, but in an expansion situation, the Redskins would rather have him than lose him.
  10. D.J. Swearinger - New to the Redskins, sure, but he played quite well for the Cardinals in 2016. Washington is desperate for some stability in the back end of the secondary, and Swearinger should provide it. Plus, he's signed through 2019. 

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Need to Know: Facebook Redskins mailbag—Media disrespect, Cousins risk

Need to Know: Facebook Redskins mailbag—Media disrespect, Cousins risk

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 22, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 80 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 25
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 72

Fan questions—Facebook edition

I put up a post on Facebook to get some questions from fans and while I got a lot of good ones I didn’t get any that would require an answer long enough for a full post. So I picked some questions to answer rapid-fire style.

I will do the same thing with questions I got on Twitter tomorrow.

Marc, the reality is that the Redskins took a step back last year. Their record was worse and they didn’t make the playoffs. Looking at the recent history of the Redskins, what reason would an analyst have to think that they wouldn’t continue to backslide. Quite simply, the Redskins are going to have to prove it on the field if pundits are going to predict that they will improve from year to year.

He takes risk but how much depends on why the hypothetical decline in his numbers happened. Is it simply because they passed less often? Was he less accurate? Did the receivers have trouble getting open and/or drop a lot of passes? Did game situations differ? Where there injury issues? NFL teams aren’t simply going to look at top-line numbers and determine his value from there. The “whys” will be very important.

I’m very confident that Su’a Cravens and D.J. Swearinger will be an upgrade over what they had at safety last year. Neither is going to the Pro Bowl but the new safeties should represent more than baby steps towards impriving the position. I also ask you to recall all of the talk of Josh Norman getting burned in training camp last year. He turned out to be pretty good.

I don’t make much out of them. He’s not going to bluff anyone into thinking that Nate Sudfeld is going to be a 2018 replacement for Cousins. And Mike McCartney isn’t going let a Williams “take one for the team” statement affect what he sees as a fair deal for his client. Carry on.

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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