Priority order: (1) S , (2) RT, (3) CB, (4) TE, (5) ILB, (6) WR, (7) DE, (8) NT, (9) RB
QB: RG3-Cousins-Grossman. All set.
RB: I like what the Redskins have at running back, but Mike Shanahan’s love of drafting that position can’t be overlooked. In 17 years of coaching (which doesn’t include his short stint in Oakland), the Broncos & Redskins drafted 18 running backs under Mike Shanahan. The list of picks:
I kind of get it. Running backs get battered more than any other position on the field so it makes sense to bring in fresh blood every year, particularly in the later rounds, although I don’t see it as a position of need.
WR: I’ve seen some people consider WR a need for the Skins. Is it because they don’t have that “#1 WR” kind of guy? Would it be nice to have that kind of player? Sure. But can you win with a deep group of “good not great” receivers? You sure can. Pierre Garcon is one of the best players in the league at getting yards after the catch, and Josh Morgan showed similar abilities once he had the ball in his hands. Meanwhile, Aldrick Robinson is a guy that has shown he can stretch the field and made huge plays with his speed. That trio has the potential of being very good. Plus, Santana Moss restructured his deal, so he’ll stay in DC this year. That’s 4.
The unwritten definition of a “#1 WR” is a guy that forces opposing defenses to game plan specifically for that player, a guy that attracts significantly more attention, and makes it easier for his teammates to be successful. Say, for example, like this:
The problem is that Calvin Johnsons don’t grow on trees.
The one guy that got a fair share of snaps last season that has not impressed me is Leonard Hankerson. Shanahan is wide receiver collector, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they add in a few guys. However, I like what they have at the top, and I think that having a “#1 WR,” while certainly a valuable luxury, is not imperative to a successful offense… and it’s not like they’re easy to find anyway. There has been a lot of talk recently that the Skins could be in the market for a receiver, possibly with their first pick. If they really like a guy there, then fine. But I just don’t see a huge need there.
TE: If you read this site regularly, you know how much I like Fred Davis. But he’s a question mark heading into the season a year after tearing his Achilles.
Logan Paulsen is a nice role player, and Niles Paul remains a project at TE. Even though the Skins were able to bring back Davis, this is absolutely a position that could be addressed, as it’s one that can be a significant weapon in the Skins’ offense, and is a deep position in this draft.
OL: The Skins’ OL missed 1593 snaps in 2011:
That OL was a disaster.
In 2012, with basically the same personnel to begin the season, swapping out an ineffective Jammal Brown for an ineffective Tyler Polumbus, they only missed 239:
That 2012 version of the OL was monumentally better than the 2011 version, but still lacks a legitimate RT.
What the Skins do have at this point is nice continuity. Kory Lichtensteiger signed a 5 year deal to stay in DC. Based solely on talent, Lichtensteiger can be replaced rather easily. However, due to the continuity the Skins have developed, he’s probably worth more to the Skins than any other team. From that standpoint, it made sense to bring him back.
Josh LeRibeus was a 3rd round pick last year, and you typically want those guys to play sooner than later. I had a chance to watch LeRibeus play against the Seahawks in the playoffs last year, and I came away very impressed. For the better part of the day, he won his battles against a really good player in Brandon Mebane. However, the Redskins cannot count on the good health the OL was fortunate to have last season to continue. LeRibeus will provide good depth in the short term, before he eventually takes over at one of the interior OL spots. I like what the Skins have on their interior.
As for RT, it’s a pu pu platter of Tyler Polumbus, Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos. Perhaps they’ll get extremely lucky and have a “2nd tier OT” fall to them at 51, like a Justin Pugh, Terron Armstead, or Kyle Long, although I wouldn’t hold my breath. Still, this is a decent OT class, and the Skins could find a guy a little later on.
DE: Stephen Bowen had 6 sacks in 2011. He had 1 last year. I’m not worried about Bowen. He’s a good player and should have plenty left in the tank, at 29 years of age. Jarvis Jenkins was OK in 2012, and should only get better better, and Adam Carriker is back. This position will probably wait a year, as there are much deeper positional groups in this draft.
NT: I am an enormous Barry Cofield fan. He a good pass rusher, he’s smart, he hustles his ass off, an he’s a guy that his teammates respect. However, he’s not the best run stopping NT you’ll find. I originally questioned Cofield’s fit as a NT in the 3-4 when the Skins plugged him in there. However, Cofield is such a good player that he has made it work. The Skins should think hard about getting a better run-stuffer to ease Cofield’s workload on traditional running downs.
OLB: No worries here, in my opinion. Ryan Kerrigan is a 10-year NFL starter, Brian Orakpo will be returning, and Rob Jackson made a number of HUGE plays this season when he had to sub in for Orakpo. Good to go.
ILB: With London Fletcher in the fold for another season, the Skins have themselves another 1-year reprieve in which Keenan Robinson has a chance to develop. One positive from the 2012 was the play of Perry Riley, who looks like he’s a legitimate starting ILB. Lorenzo Alexander is gone, so the team could look to draft depth in the later rounds.
CB: DeAngelo Hall is back at lower money, Josh Wilson remains a decent starter, and Richard Crawford showed some glimpses that he can play. The Skins also brought in EJ Biggers from Tampa. But clearly, in my opinion, this is a position that needs to be addressed. A player that I absolutely loved at the Senior Bowl was Robert Alford of SE Louisiana. Good cover guy, and he returns kicks. He could be there at 51.
S: Brandon Meriweather played half of one game last season (against Philly), and he was awesome. Unfortunately, the following is on Meriweather’s resume:
- He played a grand total of 44 snaps last season.
- Two teams gave up on him in less than a full calendar year.
- He was pulled over at 2:54 AM last April, and refused a breathalyzer test.
- During an on-field brawl when he was in college at Miami, he kicked a few opposing players.
- He has been involved in bizarre circumstances, like the time someone was charged with raping a woman in his home, and the time he was involved in a gun fight in which one of his teammates was shot. He was never charged with any crimes stemming from those two incidents.
Meriweather is by far the most talented of the Skins’ safeties, and it’s not even close. But would you want to hitch your wagon to him? Meriweather aside, unless DeJon Gomes makes a big leap in his 3rd year, the Skins do not have any other safeties worthy of starting in the NFL. Safety remains the Skins’ biggest need this offseason, but luckily for them, it’s the deepest safety class in years.