Quick Links

Skins’ D-Line a blue-collar group

Skins’ D-Line a blue-collar group

Many have questioned the Washington Redskins' "failure" to address the defensive line in the recent draft. They did not draft a defensive lineman until taking Rob Jackson out of Kansas State in the seventh round. Jackson is a prospect but for 2008 he'll be, at best, a long-term project.

Even without the addition of a high draft pick, however, there will be some lively completion for jobs along the defensive line. To say that it's a star-studded group would be giving them too much credit, but it's not a rag-tag unit by any stretch, either.

Andre Carter is the closest thing to a star player the unit has. While he did not have what I would call a Pro Bowl caliber season in 2007, I will say that any player who wore a star on the side of his helmet and who posted 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles would have been flying to Hawaii in February.

Phillip Daniels will start at the other end position. He's been a warrior for the Skins and for a few other teams and he's a leader in the locker room. He stayed healthy in '07 and he's was involved in competitive power lifting over the offseason. The 35-year-old, however, is the player with the target on his back, the one that everyone wanted to replace with Calais Campbell or Quentin Groves.

In choosing to upgrade the offense in the second round and by staying away from taking a D-lineman until almost everyone at Radio City Music Hall had gone home, the Redskins expressed confidence in Daniels' ability to get the job done this year. We'll see how well-founded that confidence is. He might have another good year or two left, but 35 is 35.

Plan B here could be Erasmus James. The Redskins took a flyer on him and, if he can regain his health, he could be the long-term answer as Daniels' replacement. The health is a big if, however. Since his freshman year at Wisconsin, he's been dogged by hip, ankle, and knee injuries. Jim Zorn had him on the list of injured players who may not be ready for the start of training camp.

James almost certainly makes the team if he can get back into playing shape. Demetric Evans will be back as a solid backup. As the Skins will keep four or five ends, that leaves at most one more DE spot available. Chris Wilson had four sacks last year, including two in the playoff-clinching win over the Cowboys and the team likes his potential. Ditto for Alex Buzbee, who was on the practice squad last year. Unless James winds up on the PUP list or on IR, Jackson will be joining Buzbee on the PS.

On the inside, Cornelius Griffin hasn't been the force he was in 2004, when he was the MVP of the defense and was robbed of a Pro Bowl berth. Injuries have taken their toll. At 31, it's unlikely that he has another monster season left in him, but he can be more than adequate.

At the other tackle spot, Anthony Montgomery beat out '06 starter Kedric Golston and started 15 games last year. He could continue the improvement and become a stud DT, but it's more likely that he'll continue to be more steady than star.

Who else besides those three will stick may depend on how the Skins count two-way player Lorenzo Alexander. He played the Jumbo package as a sixth lineman on offense and he got some action as a defensive tackle as well. It's possible that he'll setting into one position or the other or he may continue to go both ways.

The only other DT's on the roster are Ryan Boschetti, who keeps on getting cut and keeps on getting asked back, and Matthias Askew, a fourth-round pick of the Bengals in 2004. If Greg Blache and company keep four ends and Alexander is counted in his own category (perhaps using a slot that some other teams use for a kick returner), all of them could make it.

That's unlikely, though. Daniels is capable of moving inside and, in fact, he did so last year in some passing situations when Marcus Washington moved up into a three-point stance to rush the passer. Evans also can hold his own at tackle. It would make more sense to keep an extra end and cover any injury situations that may pop up during the season by moving someone inside. That's good news for Wilson and Buzbee, bad news for Askew and/or Boschetti.

No matter who stays or goes, there is a decided lack of sizzle about the unit. Somehow, some way, however, the Redskins finished the 2007 season fourth in the NFL against the rush with most of those same guys on the front line. It should be a solid, blue-collar unit again this year.

Quick Links

NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

A lot has changed since the end of the college football season, and that's obvious when you consider all of the names the Redskins might look at with the 17th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

Some players have surged up draft boards on the strength of strong combine or pro day efforts. Other have dropped, due to unfortunate incidents, injuries or poor measurements.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

Think about players like Teez Tabor or Zach Cunningham. Those guys play in the SEC and seemed like first-round locks two months ago. Now the 'Skins might be able to value shop for those players in the second round.

The flip side: A plyer like Haason Reddick. A star at the Senior Bowl who really busted out at the Combine, the Redskins might love to have him but he could be a Top 10 selection.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

All sorts of legal trouble and diluted urine samples will also impact draft night. Injuries too, or even the thought of possible injuries.

Few sporting events are as wild as the first round of the NFL Draft. Stay tuned with CSN for all your Redskins coverage. Chick Hernandez and Rich Tandler will be in Ashburn with the team, JP Finlay will be live in Philadelphia as the chaos unfolds. 

RELATED: A LOOK 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!

Quick Links

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 27, 27 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 15
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 27
—Training camp starts (7/27) 91
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 136

Setting the odds one last time

So, today’s the day for the NFL draft and our final chance to make some Monopoly money on who the Redskins first-round pick will be. I’ve chosen five names from the various mock drafts out there and from my own analysis to come up with the five most likely players to be picked at No. 17. Then I broke out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and spread them out on the five players.

LB Haason Reddick, Temple, $30—Reddick could give the Redskins some versatility and learn the inside linebacker spot in the base 3-4 defense and then move to the edge in nickel situations. I’m nearing he’s a “hot” name but I’m not so sure I believe he’s a top-10 pick like I’ve been seeing in some mock drafts lately. Pick 17 seems to be about right for him.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, $25—Foster has more red flags than an interstate highway construction project, including a diluted drug test sample at the combine, multiple shoulder injuries, and getting upset during a wait for a medical test, also at the combine. But at some point, the talent makes the player too good a value to pass up at that point would be at No. 17.

Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, $20—Of the five names on here this is the one with the least buzz. But the Redskins need an edge rusher and McKinley, who can win with speed and by being relentless, may be the best one available. A lot of fans may be surprised by this pick but nobody should be mad if it happens.

RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, $20—I’ve been going back and forth about Cook. He’s undoubtedly a talented runner with breakaway potential. But some injury concerns and his fumbling problems create doubts about him. Then again, as with Foster there is a point where the talent outweighs the flags. I’m not so sure that No. 17 is the spot where that happens but I would not be shocked if the Redskins think that it is.

RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, $10—This is another player who supposedly zoomed up draft boards over the last few weeks without playing a single down. Five or six weeks ago he was a late first-round pick. Then he was a lock to go to the Eagles at 14 overall. Now everyone has him going to the Panthers with the eighth pick. The movement seems to be based more on pack journalism rather than any actual information coming out of teams. I’m not going to completely dismiss the chatter but I think there is a good enough chance that McCaffrey will be there when the Redskins pick to throw a few long shot dollars on him.

Bonus bet: As far as possible trades go, with an additional $100, I’ll go with $15 on a trade up, $35 on trade down, and $50 on staying put at 17.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it