Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Grading the Redskins Free Agent Acquisitions

 So far in free agency, the Washington Redskins have signed 22 free agents, seven of which were resigned by the team. Those 22 players include Brian Orakpo who was given the franchise tag, Santana Moss, Perry Riley, Deangelo Hall, Brandon Merriweather, EJ Biggers, Chris Baker, Andre Roberts, Shawn Lauvao, Adam Hayward, Clifton Geathers, Darryl Sharpton, Jake Rodgers, Jason Hatcher, Tracy Porter, Akeem Jordan, Brandon Moore, Mike McGlynn, Ryan Clark, Desean Jackson, Colt McCoy, and Rob Jackson. Below is an analysis of each player and the grade for their signing:

Brian Orakpo-Franchise Tag
Cap Number: $11.45 Million
       Orakpo was given the franchise tag rather than the long term deal that he was looking for. With this Orakpo will be even another season to prove that he can stay healthy and produce at a high level deserving of the type of long term deal that he was looking for. Washington didn't want to lose this home grown talent and surely didn't want to leave a void on a defense where there are already so many holes. However, given Orakpo's injury history, an $11 million cap hit is a steep price to pay this season. This is going to be a high risk high reward deal for Washington.
Grade: B+

Santana Moss- 1 year deal $875,000 
Cap Number: $620,000 only $65,000 guaranteed
     This is a very cap friendly deal for Washington as they get a veteran leader to return to their team and they know what they are getting in Moss. A slot receiver who is accomplished and can provide good depth and a reliable weapon for RG3. This is extremely low risk and possible high reward for Washington.
Grade: B

Perry Riley- 3 year deal $12 Million
Cap Number: $3 million 
     Riley has improved each and every season in Washington after learning under London Fletcher. This past season Riley led the team in tackles and appeared ready to take over for Fletcher. Inside linebacker was a glaring need for Washington this offseason and they couldn't afford to let someone like Riley go. Riley is by no means perfect and will make some mistakes but is an overall solid linebacker and always seems to make the tackle. Given the overall worth of the deal and the value that Riley gives Washington, this was a no brainer in resigning Perry.
Grade: A

Deangelo Hall- 4 year deal $16 million
Cap number: $2 Million
     This past season, Hall was often given the assignment of shadowing the opposing team's number one receiver all game long. Hall went up against the likes of Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant twice, and Brandon Marshall. Hall did a good job limiting Calvin Johnson as best as any corner possibly could and even recorded an interception that game and Hall was able to contain Bryant both times the teams played each other. Although Hall is starting to age he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down and his performance this past season was deserving of another contract. The question remains though, will Hall be able to keep up this kind of play for another four years?
Grade B+

Brandon Merriweather: 1 year deal $1 million
Cap number: $1 million 
     The safety spot has been a glaring weakness in Washington's secondary the past few seasons due to injuries, lack of experience or depth, or in Merriweather's case, suspensions and dangerous hits. Merriweather was suspended for two games this past season for an illegal hit after being fined multiple times throughout his career. Merriweather was able to get his suspension reduced to one game but point of the matter is Merriweather is one illegal hit away from an even longer suspension. Throw that in with his inconsistent play and his age, and this resigning by Washington doesn't make much sense other than that it is a one year deal for $1 million. Washington definitely could have used a bigger upgrade in free agency like Chris Clemons or Mike Mitchell but Merriweather still provides a better option than someone like Baccari Rambo. 
Grade C+

EJ Biggers: 1 year deal $635,000
Cap Number: $635,000
      Biggers was brought in last season to provide depth for Washington and compete for the number three corner spot. Biggers is versatile enough to play safety as well as both corner positions but doesn't necessarily mean he should. This was nothing more than a depth resigning for Washington as they appear set with Hall, Amerson, and Tracy Porter as well as the possibility of a draft pick. Biggers comes cheap too which is something beneficial for Washington.
Grade C

Chris Baker: 3 year deal $9 million
Cap number: $2 million
      Washington viewed the defensive line as a priority this off season as they felt that upgrading the pass rush was something that needed to be done to make up for their suspect secondary. Baker had a strong finish to the end of last season finishing as a starter and appears to be a player on the rise and could help out Washington's pass rush. Baker is also young and given his potential and size, this was a good resigning for Washington. Look for Baker to compete for a starting job this season.
Grade: B+

Andre Roberts: 4 year deal $16 million
Cap number: $2.25 million
     One of Washington's biggest needs this off season was to improve their receiving corps and give RG3 more weapons to throw to. As it currently stood, Washington had Garcon, they resigned Moss, Robinson, Nick Williams, and Leonard Hankerson who is recovering from an ACL injury. Washington needed a number two receiver and potentially a slot receiver in case they were to cut Moss in preseason. Roberts was an under the radar receiver in Arizona who has a high upside and can play in the slot or on the outside. He has shown reliable hands and isn't afraid to make the catch. Another plus with Roberts is that in his career against the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys in particular, Roberts has torched them recording two games with 100+receiving yards in each and a touchdown in each as well. Roberts has breakout potential and should be a reliable weapon for Griffin. 
Grade: A-

Shawn Lauvao: 4 year deal $17 million
Cap number: $3 million
     Another glaring need for Washington this off season was to improve the offensive line and add depth to it. Coming out of Cincinnati, Coach Jay Gruden was a fan of bigger lineman. Coming into Washington, he was going to be dealing with one of the smallest offensive lines in the league. Washington is set with Trent Williams at left tackle and could potentially make changes at the other four spots. In comes Lauvao. Lauvao was the right guard for the Cleveland Browns and plays with a bit of a mean streak. He is bigger but plays inconsistent. His hands aren't the best and could use some work. Given his showings, Lauvao was not worth the amount of money that Washington gave him as they could have gone out and signed someone more proven for that kind of money. Lauvao was a question mark signing.
Grade: C

Adam Hayward: 3 year deal $3 million
Cap Number: $955,000
     With Perry Riley resigned and Keenan Robinson recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, Washington needed to add depth to their inside line backer position. Hayward does just that as he provides depth. He will most likely not be the starter next to Riley but where Hayward really contributes is on special teams. One of the better special teams players in the league, Hayward plays hard and makes tackles. Washington had one of the worst units in the league last year in every aspect of special teams and felt that adding line backers who were quick getting down the field and could make tackles would help. Look for Hayward to contribute on special teams.
Grade: B

Clifton Geathers: 2 year deal $3.2 million
Cap Number: $1.35 million
     Washington added some depth to their defensive by adding Geathers. Geathers will most likely not start and will probably battle players like Kedric Golston for a spot on the roster. Geathers is young only playing in the league for three years and is massive standing at 6'8. This is strictly a depth signing here for Washington as Geathers is inexperienced.
Grade: C

Darryl Sharpton: 1 year deal $1.75 million
Cap Number: $1,862,500
     Needing someone to pair with Riley at the inside linebacker spot, Sharpton was brought in to compete for the starting job. He was a starter for the Houston Texans for 8 games last year and is solid against the run. He is underrated and is someone who Chris Cooley said to keep an eye on. It wouldn't be a surprise if Sharpton was a starter although his lack of experience may hinder that. 
Grade B

Jake Rodgers: Terms of contract were not disclosed
      While kicker Kai Forbath has been pretty reliable for the Redskins in his tenure, Fortbath has often times struggled on kick offs. Rodgers was the all time scoring leader for the University of Cincinnati and has bounced around the NFL from the Cowboys, Saints, and Giants after not being drafted. This is nothing more than some training camp competition for Forbath. 
Grade: D

Jason Hatcher: 4 year deal $27.5 million
Cap Number: $3.75 million
     Coach Haslett stressed the need to improve the pass rush this off season for his plan to set his pass rushers loose this coming season. In comes Jason Hatcher. He was selected to the pro bowl this past season after recording 11 sacks. At 6'6 and 299 pounds, Hatcher provides good size coming off the end and should free up some of the pressure that is applied to Orakpo and Kerrigan rushing off the edges. Look for Haslett to get creative in how he rushes the quarterback this season. 
Grade: A

Tracy Porter: 2 year deal $6 million
Cap Number: $2.8 million
     Washington's secondary is in desperate need of a play maker and needs upgrades all around. Last year Josh Wilson couldn't get it done. Although he wasn't afraid to make a tackle, he was often burned in coverage. Tracy Porter will likely be the nickel corner with Hall and Amerson on the outside. Porter is known for taking risks. He has made some big plays throughout his career like his interception of Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. He has also been burned a lot throughout his career as well. Porter is still relatively young and will be one to watch this season. 
Grade: B-

Akeem Jordan: 1 year deal $920,000
Cap Number: $635,000
     This was another signing to provide some competition at the inside linebacker position. Jordan has experience as a starter, starting ten games last season for the Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded 67 tackles and two forced fumbles last season. He can also help out on special teams as well. He will likely compete with Sharpton as the other starting inside linebacker. 
Grade: B

Brandon Moore: Claimed off waivers from Kansas city
Cap Number: No Cap hit
      This was a waiver claim by Washington after Moore's rookie season in Kansas City. He played college football at Texas and was signed by San Diego after the draft last season. He had stints with San Diego and Denver's practice squads before being let go by Kansas City. At 6'5 and 320 pounds, Moore provides good size for a defensive lineman. He will be a project and will most likely be a practice squad candidate if anything.
Grade: C

Mike McGlynn: 2 year deal $2.7 million
Cap Number: $1.15 million
     After the amount of pressure Griffin took this past season, Washington needed to improve their offensive line and add depth. After the Redskins released Will Montgomery, it was assumed Lichtensteiger would slide over to the center spot. McGlynn is a big body who is capable playing center after spending the last two seasons at center for the Colts. McGlynn is also versatile enough to play guard as well. At 6'4 325 pounds, McGlynn is significantly bigger than Lichtensteiger. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in training camp but for now it appears that McGlynn is more of a depth signing. 
Grade B-

Ryan Clark: 1 year deal $1.02 million
Cap Number: $635,000
     After resigning Brandon Merriweather, it appeared that either Baccari Rambo or Phillip Thomas would get the other starting safety spot. Either combination of safeties is not good for Washington and safety remained a glaring weakness on the Washington defense. In comes veteran Ryan Clark. Clark is a good signing for Washington as he addresses a need to an extent and is only a stop gap. While it remains to be seen how much Clark has left in the tank, you cannot question his toughness and leadership both on and off the field. From that standpoint, Clark is a great acquisition for Washington. Look for Clark to be a starter and to help mentor the young safeties in Washington. 
Grade B

Desean Jackson: 3 year deal $24 million
Cap Number: $4.25 million
     After signing Andre Roberts and no other news circulating about Washington's interest in another receiver other than Kenny Britt, it appeared Washington would look to the draft for a receiver. While that is still a possibility, Washington went out and got a deadly receiver to pair with Pierre Garcon in division rival, Desean Jackson. Jackson was released by the Eagles due to alleged gang affiliations, attitude problems, and poor work ethic. Jackson however is a three time pro bowler and is coming off a career year. As soon as he was released, RG3 and Trent Williams both contacted Jackson lobbying for him to come to DC. Jackson provides Griffin with a home run threat to help stretch the field. Jackson will also help take some of the pressure off of Garcon and open up the middle of the field for Jordan Reed and Andre Roberts. Jackson's signing makes this offense more explosive on paper and gives Griffin plenty of weapons. The question is though, can the offensive line hold up and can Griffin get his receivers the ball?
Grade: A+

Colt McCoy: 1 year deal $795,000
Cap Number: $635,000
     Let the Kirk Cousins trade rumors resume. Colt McCoy is the likely replacement for the third quarterback spot left open by Rex Grossman. McCoy has starting experience and is still relatively young. While in the past, Gruden's teams have only kept two quarterbacks, with Griffin's health, it wouldn't hurt to keep a third one around. There remains a chance that Cousins could be traded on draft day but appears unlikely. This is a safety net signing for Washington.
Grade: C+

Rob Jackson: 1 year deal $795,000
Cap Number: $635,000
     With Orakpo back as the starting outside linebacker next to Ryan Kerrigan, that leaves Washington now with only three outside linebackers on the roster with second year player, Brandon Jenkins. Jenkins played a minimal amount of snaps last season and still has a lot of work to do. With Orakpo's injury history, Washington needed a capable back up. Washington resigned Rob Jackson to a very cap friendly deal. Jackson is a great back up who can step in and make a play when needed. Just remember the Dallas game two years ago. Although he was suspended four games last season and didn't produce as much, Jackson still boasts starting potential.
Grade: B

Overall Grade for the Redskins Off season: B+

Please Leave any comments below:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Updated Offseason Blue Print: Redskins

     The Washington Redskins so far this offseason have resigned Deangelo Hall on a four year $17 million contract with only five million guaranteed, Chris Baker on a three year $9 million contract with only four million guaranteed, Jose Gumbs on a one year $495,000 contract, and they used the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo which is set at $11.5 million this year. After bringing those four players back, the Redskins now have an estimated $17.1 million in cap space according to spotrac. That still is quite a bit of money but given that Washington still needs two starters at inside line backer with Perry Riley remaining a free agent and potentially two starters at safety to go along with a number two receiver and changes along both lines, Washington will have to be smart in free agency and not overspend. It is likely Washington will turn their focus to the secondary and address the safety spot in free agency and then utilize the draft to help fill other holes. Washington could still cut players to give them more money to use which is very likely given the needs on this team. Below I will post two scenarios for Washington, one with the $17.1 million and the other with more cap space after cuts have been made. 

Scenario 1: With no cuts on the current roster- Estimated Cap Room of $17.1 Million

Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins

Running Back: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Chris Thompson

Fullback: Darrell Young

Wide Receiver: Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Andre Roberts (1-2 million), Draft Pick, Josh Bellamy, David Gettis, Nick Williams

Tight End: Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

Left Tackle: Trent Williams, Tom Compton

Left Guard: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus

Center: Will Montgomery, JD Walton (1 million), Nick Sundberg

Right Guard: Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

Right Tackle: Tyler Polumbus, Anthony Collins (2-3 million) 

Defensive End: Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston

Defensive Tackle: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild

Outside Linebacker: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Jenkins, Darryl Tapp ($840,000) 

Inside Linebacker: Perry Riley (4 million),  Keenan Robinson, Draft pick, Brandon Spikes (1-2 million) 

Cornerback: Deangelo Hall, David Amerson, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield, Captain Munnerlyn (2 million) 

Safety: Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs, Malcolm Jenkins (2 million) 

Kicker: Kai Forbath

Punter: Sav Rocca

Total Projected Cap Used: 15.8 Million

Additions: Andre Roberts, JD Walton, Darryl Tapp, Perry Riley, Brandon Spikes, Captain Munnerlyn, Malcolm Jenkins, Anthony Collins

Scenario 2: Before Cuts- 17.1 Million

Cuts: Adam Carriker (Saves 3.24 Million), Stephen Bowen (Saves 1.98 Million), Sav Rocca (Saves 1.2 Million), Chris Chester (Saves 2.7 Million), Tyler Polumbus (Saves 1 Million), Will Montgomery (Saves 1.95 Million)

Total Cap Savings: 12.07 Million
New Projected Cap: 29.17 Million

Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins

Running Back: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Chris Thompson

FullBack: Darrell Young

Wide Receiver: Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Josh Bellamy, David Gettis, Nick Williams, Andre Roberts (1-2 Million)

Tight End: Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

Left Tackle: Trent Williams, Tom Compton

Left Guard: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus 

Center: Brian De La Puente (3 Million), JD Walton (895,000), Nick Sundberg

Right Guard: Jon Asamoah (2-3 Million), Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

Right Tackle: Anthony Collins (2-3 Million), Tyler Polumbus (895,000)

Defensive End: Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Linval Joseph (3 Million), Draft Pick

Defensive Tackle: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild

Outside Linebacker: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Jenkins, Rob Jackson (1-2 Million) 

Inside Linebacker: Perry Riley (4 Million), Brandon Spikes (1-2 Million), Keenan Robinson

Cornerback: Deangelo Hall, David Amerson, Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, Captain Munnerlyn (2 Million) 

Safety: Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs, Brandon Merriweather (1 Million) TJ Ward (5 Million) 

Kicker: Kai Forbath

Punter: Zoltan Mesko ($750,000) 

Total Cap Used: $27.54

Please Comments Below 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cornerbacks of Interest for Redskins

Heading into the offseason, Washington has uncertainty at the cornerback position. Corners Deangelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and EJ Biggers are all set to become free agents leaving David Amerson in his second year, Richard Crawford coming off a major surgery, and Chase Minnifield who hasn't played in a game other than preseason. While it is likely that Deangelo Hall resigns with Washington, the Redskins are still in need of another cornerback to replace Josh Wilson. Washington could address this position in the draft and give them another young corner to pair with Amerson in the future, but for now here's a look at potential free agents that could come to Washington:

1. Aqib Talib: He was close to coming to Washington last season but opted to go to New England on a one year deal. Talib also has a history with Raheem Morris and Bruce Allen and both are very high on Talib. The only issue with Talib is his injury concern. Talib struggled to stay on the field last season for the Patriots but when he did, he made an impact and shut down the opposing teams' top receivers. There are already reports that Washington will pursue Talib and with good reason given his strong play. 
2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Denver's top corner last season, turned in a very solid year for the Broncos after a disappointing tenure in Philly. Cromartie is still only 27 and is in the prime of his career. He has great speed and size and is a threat to take it to the house when he intercepts the ball. Ask Kirk Cousins. Rodgers-Cromartie will likely cost a lot of money given his play but it is hard to see him leaving Denver given that they need all the help they can get on defense. 
3. Brent Grimes: Another solid corner that Washington could potentially target. Grimes is smaller than the two listed above as he stands at 5"10 but he plays bigger. He made the pro bowl last season in Miami and is likely looking to get paid. Grimes is 30 and would likely be around for 2-3 years but given his play and the desperate need for playmaking corners, Washington could look to bring in Grimes to pair with Amerson and Hall. 
4. Vontae Davis: Only 25 years old and recording 13 interceptions since entering the league in 2009, Davis is only beginning to enter his prime. Davis is strong in press man coverage and often drew the assignment of covering the other teams top receiver. He graded out the third best corner behind Revis and Grimes according to PFF. Davis is also a sure tackler which is something Washington did not have last season. The only red flag with Davis is his ability to give up the big play. Davis often did not have any safety help so if a receiver got by him it usually resulted in a big play. This is something Davis will have to work on but still someone Washington should consider.
5. Sam Shields: Another young cornerback at 26 with potential and speed. Shields is smaller at 5"11 but his 4.32 speed makes up for it. Shields has recorded 17 interceptions for the Packers since coming into the league in 2010 and he will likely be one of the cheaper possibilities for Washington. Shields has shown the potential to be a number 1 corner as well. 
6. Captain Munnerlyn: One of the scrappier corners, Munnerlyn isn't afraid to stick his head in and make the tackle. At 25 Munnerlyn is still young and is improving as a corner. A natural playmaker, Munnerlyn has recorded 7 interceptions in his career, returning 5 of those for touchdowns, and also forced 3 fumbles. He also has experience returning punts on special teams as well which is good for Washington given their mess at returners. Munnerlyn has said he wants to stay in Carolina but given their cap space and Greg Hardy being a free agent, Washington could easily make a strong bid to lure him away and still at a reasonable price. 
7. Alterraun Verner: One of, if not the top free agent corner on the market this year, Verner has improved every year, making the pro bowl this past season. Verner is young at 25 and will likely command a high dollar contract. If Washington can somehow make a serious bid for Verner, they definitely should given his abilities and improvements every season. Verner is quickly turning into one of the top corners in the league. 
8. Charles Tillman: At 33 and coming off an injury, Tillman at this point is just hoping to have a job next season. When healthy though, Tillman is very opportunistic and is great at creating turnovers, something that would be beneficial to Washington as they want to be known as an opportunistic and turnover creating defense. Tillman would still look for some money and would only be a stop gap but if all else fails in free agency, why not call up Tillman? 
9. Walter Thurmond: Lost in the buzz of the Legion Of Boom, Thurmond is looking for his chance to make a name for himself. He is only 26 and has potential to be a starting corner. Assuming Washington resigns Hall, Thurmond would fit in nicely as the teams nickel back. With Amerson and Hall on the outside, Thurmond could play naturally in the slot at only 5"11. There is concern with Thurmond though as he was suspended for drug use last season.
10. Antoine Cason: Cason is entering the prime of his career at 27 years old. He stands at 6"1 and runs a 4.45 forty. His career interception numbers are at 32 to go along with four forced fumbles. Cason is a ballhawk and would be around for a good few years if he were to come to Washington. 

Who do you think Washington will target in free agency this year?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Redskins Mock Draft Version 1.0

With the Senior Bowl going on this week and the scouting combine coming up here shortly, it's about that time of year where mock drafts begin to pop up. These mock drafts will most definitely change after the completion of the senior bowl and especially after the combine as NFL teams have gotten their chances to better evaluate these athletes. So for now this will be the first version of the Redskins mock draft as it will most likely change in the coming weeks leading up to the draft.

Redskins Team Needs:
     Corner back
     Inside Linebacker
     Right Tackle
     Offensive Guards
     Wide Receiver
     Defensive end

Round 2 Pick 34: Ha-sean Clinton Dix Safety- Alabama

  • Clinton Dix is a first round talent and one of the best safeties in this year's draft class. Since this year's draft class is one of the bigger classes and one of the deepest ones in years, potential first round talents are bound to fall to the early part of the second round which greatly helps out the Redskins. The safety spot is one of, if not the biggest need for the Redskins this off season. They have the careless Merriweather, the unreliable Rambo, Doughty as a free agent, and Phillip Thomas who missed all year with a Lisfranc injury as their current safeties. Washington could potentially address this need in free agency by targeting Jairus Byrd but he will likely cost too much. Clinton Dix is an NFL ready player who could come in and start for Washington right away. 
Round 3 Pick 66: Christian Jones Inside Linebacker- Florida State
  • With London Fletcher retiring and Perry Riley set to become a free agent, Washington has a sudden need at inside linebacker. While it is likely Riley will come back, Washington still needs to find someone to take the place of Fletcher. Christian Jones is a second to third round talent that seems to fit the bill for Washington. He led one of the nation's best defenses this past season at Florida State and at 6-3 232 pounds, Jones has good size at the inside linebacker spot. He also has great speed to keep up with tight ends and slot receivers in coverage which is something the Redskins could surely use with their linebackers as they struggle in pass coverage. This pick makes a lot of sense for a team looking to significantly upgrade their defense. 
Round 4 Pick 98: Stanley Jean-Baptiste Cornerback- Nebraska
  • With Deangelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and EJ Biggers all set to become free agents, that leaves only David Amerson at corner back. Washington's secondary struggled mightily this past season with the lone bright spot being Deangelo Hall. Hall will likely return to Washington for a few more years but the under performing Josh Wilson needs a replacement. In comes Stanley Jean-Baptiste. The NFL is experience more corner backs coming into the league with heights generally 6'0 or higher. Jean-Baptiste measures at 6'3 and possesses the same size as does Richard Sherman. Washington could use a bigger corner back to match up with the likes of Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson. He is a third round talent likely to fall to the fourth because of the depth of the draft class. He's an athletic corner who can turn and run down field with receivers and is solid in press coverage. This is another solid pick for Washington as he could potentially come in and start for Washington. 
Round 5 Pick 130: Tyler Larsen Center- Utah State
  • The Redskins desperately need help all along their offensive line. Trent Williams is the lone bright spot at left tackle but the rest of the line really struggled this year. Defensive lines were often times overpowering the undersized lineman this year. While Will Montgomery is versatile as he can play guard and center, he didn't have a good year at all this year as he couldn't hold his own against bigger lineman. That's not to say Montgomery shouldn't be kept as a possible backup. Larsen however stands at 6-4 and weighs in a couple pounds heavier than Montgomery at 312. Larsen is a popular pick in many mock drafts for the Redskins and with good reason. He can anchor down an offensive line well, he's very smart, and he finishes his blocking assignments well. Larsen would be a solid value pick here for Washington as he is regarded as one of the better offensive lineman in the country. 
Round 6 Pick 162: Tevin Reese Wide Receiver- Baylor
  • The Redskins need help at receiver. Garcon needs someone other than Jordan Reed to help take the pressure off of him. Hankerson improved this season but ended the season with an injury. Josh Morgan is a free agent and disappointed all year. Santana Moss saw his production go way down and he too is a free agent. Aldrick Robinson improved as well down the stretch but hasn't been consistent enough to emerge into the starting lineup. With Moss as a free agent Washington needs a slot receiver and a number 2 receiver. Hankerson could potentially be the number 2 receiver but Washington is likely to fill that spot in free agency. Reese is small and quick and could help in the slot. He was a main target for Griffin in college as well. That familiarity combined with Reese's speed could certainly help this offense as a deep threat. While Reese didn't return punts in college, it's worth a shot to try him out there this year given Washington's state at special teams.
Round 7 Pick 194: Zach Fulton Guard- Tennessee 
  • The Redskins need depth along the offensive line and with Chris Chester and Lichtensteiger struggling this season, Fulton would add good depth at the guard spot. He's bigger at 6'5 and weighs in at 324. He's not the quickest but he maintains his balance well and can hold his own at the second level. Fulton would make a good value pick here as he could be someone Washington could potentially develop. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Draft Profile: Kelvin Benjamin

With the college football season now officially over, it is decision time for young athletes to decide if they want to forgo school and enter the NFL draft. The draft is always an interesting time as college athletes either enter the draft or stay in school and surprise many experts like the Marcus Mariota decision. The Washington Redskins are limited to only 6 picks this year with their first pick coming early in the second round. The Redskins have obvious needs after a very disappointing 3-13 season. They need help in the secondary, an inside linebacker to replace London Fletcher, depth along the offensive line, a number 2 receiver, and a pass rushing defensive end. When time is convenient I will be posting draft profiles on players who would potentially fit the Redskins needs. The next player up is Florida State receiver, Kelvin Benjamin.

Kelvin Benjamin:

  • Red shirt Sophomore
  • Height: 6'5"
  • Weight: 235
  • 2013 Season Stats
    • Games Played: 14
    • Catches: 54
    • Touchdowns: 15
    • Receiving Yards: 1011
  • Massive size
    • At 6-5, Benjamin is taller than most defensive backs and automatically creates a mismatch in the secondary. With his weight at 235, Benjamin looks like a tight end. Using his size and weight, he isn't afraid to get physical and go up for the ball in the air. He measures similarly to receivers Alshon Jeffery and Calvin Johnson in terms of size. His freakish size would be welcomed to a relatively small Redskins receiving corp. 
  •  Speed
    • While Benjamin is very good at using his height and measures similarly to Johnson, he does not have the speed like Johnson does. Benjamin runs anywhere in the neighborhood of a high 4.5 forty to a low 4.6 forty yard dash. While Benjamin won't kill you with his speed, if he can use his body to box out defenders and develop consistent hands, speed won't really be a concern. 
  • Hands
    • While Benjamin has all the tools necessary to become a very good receiver, he is considered to be quite raw in his talent. Most of that is due in large part to his route running and his inconsistency with his hands. Benjamin has been known to drop passes. With reps in practice and constant work, Benjamin can improve.
  • Route Running
    • Benjamin is still raw in this category. His route running needs improvement and is considered to be his biggest weakness. Often times, Benjamin finds himself turning around and back pedaling on routes when the ball is being thrown. Benjamin needs to work on turning his head and not his body and just run through his routes. This can all be fixed with reps though.
  • Projection
    • While Benjamin is relatively raw in his talent and skill set, he is still rated as one of the top receivers in this year's draft class. Benjamin is thought to be a mid to late first round pick and could potentially fall to early in the second round. With the Redskins needing all the help they can get at receiver, and especially with the size and physicality Benjamin has to offer, the Redskins should definitely select Benjamin if he is still available when Washington selects in the second round. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Draft Profile: Shayne Skov

With the college football season now officially over, it is decision time for young athletes to decide if they want to forgo school and enter the NFL draft. The draft is always an interesting time as college athletes either enter the draft or stay in school and surprise many experts like the Marcus Mariota decision. The Washington Redskins are limited to only 6 picks this year with their first pick coming early in the second round. The Redskins have obvious needs after a very disappointing 3-13 season. They need help in the secondary, an inside linebacker to replace London Fletcher, depth along the offensive line, a number 2 receiver, and a pass rushing defensive end. When time is convenient I will be posting draft profiles on players who would potentially fit the Redskins needs. The first player up on this topic is Stanford line backer, Shayne Skov.

Shayne Skov: 

  • Senior inside line backer
  • Height 6'3"
  • Weight 244
  • 2013 season stats
    • Played in all 14 games
    • 109 tackles
    • 5.5 sacks
    • 3 Forced Fumbles, 2 recovered
  • Run Support:
    • This is Skov's strength. He excels in run support as he has a knack for reading and reacting. Skov relies on his instincts well, he studies formations well, he diagnoses plays quickly, and he reacts well after diagnosing the play. He pursues the ball well and is strong at the point of attack. Skov shows off his strength in the run game as he keeps his head in the backfield as he can hold his own on blocks and take down the ball carrier quickly. 
  • Coverage:
    • Skov is not known for playing in coverage. At Stanford he was rarely used in coverage. He was always rushing at the line looking to make a play. Skov's speed hurts his ability to cover running backs coming out of the flat which is why at Stanford he was either playing the run or blitzing the quarterback. 
  • Pass Rush:
    • Skov isn't known for his pass rushing either. He shows great explosiveness coming through the line but timing is everything for him. He doesn't have many pass rushing moves which is why he has to time his runs perfectly. Skov can also at times over shoot the gap. He can come too reckless into the backfield that he doesn't make a play on the quarterback. He may still force the quarterback to react but if he can work on body control, Skov could greatly improve his pass rush.
  • Tackling:
    • Skov is very good at tackling and generally posts good numbers in this category. He hits hard and always makes an impact. He wraps up well and makes direct contact with the ball carrier and is effective at getting people to the ground. He has a relentless motor and is always playing with an attitude trying to make a play every down. Skov has a tendency to tackle high which won't work well against bigger ball carriers in the pros. If he can change some tactics which is coachable, Skov should have no problem becoming a solid line backer in the NFL.
  • Projection:
    • Skov does have a history of injury. He had a severe leg injury which required him to miss a significant amount of time. He returned in 2012 from injury but was no where near the level of play that many had expected. This year however he had no problems as he led one of the nations best defenses in Stanford to a BCS bowl. Skov is projected as a mid second to third round pick. Depending on how Washington approaches free agency will likely depend on this selection. Washington is in desperate need to find a line backer to fill the spot of Fletcher and Skov appears to fit the bill. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Off Season Blue Print: Free agent edition pt. 2

The Redskins will have an estimated $30 million to spend in free agency as of right now. That number is expected to change once the players with expiring contracts, officially become free agents themselves after the Super Bowl. Washington will most likely look to be aggressive in free agency as there are many glaring needs that need to be addressed. Washington needs to upgrade their secondary, particularly at the safety position, they need to add another solid corner back or two, an inside linebacker, a pass rushing defensive end, a number two receiver to start opposite Garcon, potentially a slot receiver as well, and upgrades along the offensive line, particularly the right tackle spot. There are some very high quality free agents that Washington should aggressively pursue.

1.) Jairus Byrd: He is arguably the best potential free agent at the safety position this coming off season. He was voted to the pro bowl despite being plagued by injuries this year. Buffalo would love to maintain Byrd and he is a possible franchise tag candidate. If Byrd does indeed test the market he will likely command top dollar. Washington has the cap space to pursue him and rightfully should. He could easily help solve their problem at safety as he has big play potential and is young as well.
2.) Bernard Pollard: Pollard helped sure up the Raven's defense on their Super Bowl Run and when he left for Tennessee this past off season, he helped lead the Titan's defense which turned out being one of the surprises in the league this year. He would be an upgrade over Merriweather or Rambo and would be an instant starter on the defense. He is 29 and should have a few more good years left in him.
3.) James Ihedigbo: He filled in at safety for the Ravens this season when TJ Ward went down due to injury. Ihedigbo plays the run well which is something the Redskins need to improve on. He is aggressive and physical and isn't afraid to make a tackle. Again, qualities in which the players on the Redskins defense could desperately use. He is 30 and likely would only have about 3 maybe 4 good years left in him and since the Ravens likely won't give him a starting job due to Ward and Elam, Ihedigbo would likely take an opportunity to start for Washington.

1.) Aqib Talib: Washington was so close to signing Talib last off season before he decided to return to New England on a one year deal. Talib has been plagued by injuries this season but when he's been on the field, his play has been solid. He played a great game against Denver helping the Patriots defense shut down Peyton Manning in the second half. Look for Washington to pursue Talib again this off season.
2.) Vontae Davis: Davis had a good year with the Colts and is still only 25. He has potential and is a good cover corner. He does have injury concerns even though he was able to play a full 16 game schedule this season. Davis struggled against the run but would still upgrade a rather weak Redskin secondary.
3.) Alterraun Verner: Verner is a young corner back at 25 who earned a starting job for the Titans out of training camp. He was one of the bigger surprises in the NFL this year as he helped lead the Titans secondary. Tennessee will likely make it a priority to keep him next year as the sky is the limit for him. If Washington is able to lure him away from the Titans, he would make for a very good signing for the Skins.

1.) Brandon Spikes: He is young at 26 and still has potential to be a very good linebacker. He is aggressive and is decent in coverage. He struggles against the run but with the right coaching, things could change. Spikes is worth considering since he has experience in a 3-4 defense and has potential to be better.
2.) Jon Beason: Beason was a good linebacker in Carolina and helped make the Giants a top defense in the league this year. He is a tackling machine and is aggressive against the run. He gave the Redskins problems Beason is 28 and would be a good addition to the Redskins defense to partner alongside another tackling machine in Perry Riley.
3.) Johnathan Vilma: When healthy Vilma is a leader on the field. He would bring a veteran leadership to the Redskins defense and could help Perry Riley grow even more as a player. Vilma is a great defender and is very aggressive. He is 31 however and with his injuries, it does make it seem unlikely Washington signs him but is still someone who they should consider.

Defensive Line:
1.) Arthur Jones: With their not being much on the market for defensive ends that fit in a 3-4 defense, Jones is one of the best available. He totaled 4 sacks this past season for the Ravens and with the cap space being tight in Baltimore, he will likely test the market. He was rated the 12th best 3-4 defensive end by PFF and would be an upgrade over Stephen Bowen.
2.) Ziggy Hood: He is a young and durable defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh generally has one of the better defenses in the league and Hood is aggressive on the line. He recorded 39 tackles, 3 sacks, and a fumble recovery this past season at the age of 26. His durability would be welcomed in Washington and would still be an upgrade at the defensive end position.
3.) Terrence Cody: He is a big body that could help clog up run lanes for opposing offenses. Signing him to be their nose tackle would allow Cofield to slide over to defensive end which he could very well do with his strength and quickness. A move like this is highly unlikely but is still a possibility.

Right Tackle: 
1.) Zach Strief: At the age of 30 and a history of injuries, a signing like this looks unappealing. However when healthy, Strief is a very solid right tackle. He is rated 7th best overall by PFF and first at right tackle. Signing Strief would be taking a risk but when your right tackle spot is owned by Tyler Polumbus, that risk is definitely worth taking.
2.) Michael Oher: He is 27 and the star of the blind side. Oher by no means had a great year this past season but is still an upgrade over Polumbus. He has potential to be better and is someone Washington should at least consider this off season.
3.) Austin Howard: He is 26 and still needs some time to grow but could provide depth to the offensive line and push Polumbus for a starting job. He measures at 6-7 and 333 pounds so he would provide more beef to a rather small offensive line. If he can improve his run blocking, Howard would make for a good signing.

Other Offensive Line Help:
1.) Jon Asamoah: He was the starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs who had a very good rushing attack this season and at age 25 is just now starting to hit his prime. He is rated as a top 20 guard and would be a significant upgrade over Chris Chester. He is definitely someone Washington should consider.
2.) Geoff Schwartz: He was the starting left guard for the Kansas City Chiefs and had a terrific year this season. He is still only 27 and would be an upgrade over Lichtensteiger. He is rated the 8th best guard and is worthy of attention. If Washington can pry one of these two guards away from Kansas City, it would be a major success.
3.) Alex Mack: He was the starting center of the Cleveland Browns and at 28, will be one of the most sought after offensive lineman this off season. He is regarded as one of the best centers in the NFL and likely won't come cheap. He will be worth the money though as any chance to upgrade Washington's bad offensive line should be taken.

Wide Receiver: 
1.) Eric Decker: He is a big receiver at 6-3 and has put up number 1 receiver type numbers with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. He will likely ask for number 1 receiver type money and is someone who Washington should really consider. He has big play potential and isn't afraid to be physical. He would give Griffin another weapon with a big frame. However I do not see Decker leaving Denver but if for some reason he does, he is someone to consider.
2.) Jeremy Maclin: At 25, Maclin still has the potential to be one of the best receivers in the league. However he is coming off a torn ACL. Maclin should definitely be considered by Washington because when healthy, he is a great receiver and would give RG3 a reliable weapon with big play potential. Washington could potentially use his injury as a reason to not overpay for him but still good a high quality receiver in return.
3.) Hakeem Nicks: Like Maclin, he is 25 but has a long history of injuries. Nicks is a big receiver who isn't afraid to go up and catch a pass but he can't seem to stay on the field. If the price is right, Washington could potentially take the gamble on Nicks. He would be a high risk high reward kind of guy if he can stay healthy as he has the skill set to be a number 1 receiver.
4.) Dexter McCluster: He isn't one of the flashier names when it comes to receivers but he is a speedy dual threat. He can come out of the backfield like a running back and can also go out and catch a pass. Where he is most dangerous is as a returner. McCluster was one of the best return men in the league this season and Washington desperately needs help on their special teams. Washington should really consider bringing him in to help provide depth at the receiver position, but more importantly to help improve the poor special teams unit.

My Top 5 Players Washington should sign:
1.) Jairus Byrd
2.) Aqib Talib
3.) Jeremy Maclin
4.) Zach Strief
5.) Jon Asamoah

Who do you think Washington should sign in free agency?