Yesterday I took a look at the Offensive Depth Chart heading into the draft, today I will turn my attention to the Defensive side of the ball. Although it is likely that this is an offensive focused draft, the Redskins could still be inclined to take some defensive players with some of their higher selections.
While it looks like this position is fairly set, I think this is a case where looks can be deceiving. Bowen and Cofield are set as quality starters, but beyond that things are a little blurry. Jarvis Jenkins was a 2nd round pick in 2011, but he missed all of last season due to injury and is a bit of a bit of an unknown. Carriker has started the last two years and figures to be the top back-up, but his play is widely inconsistent and he’s fairly limited in terms of versatility. Golston could be a solid rotational player, but if asked to start or play significant snaps, he’s likely to get exposed. Both Balmer and Nield are on paper solid back-ups, but they can be improved upon. Despite their not being a dire need along the defensive line, the depth is a bit questionable, and the team lacks an individual star, the type of guy opposing offenses have to scheme around. The Redskins could use a value pick in the late rounds to address this position area, but it is more likely something that will need to wait a year.
With outside linebacker fairly set, the attention turns squarely to the inside group. London Fletcher is still one of the best in the game, but he is near the end of his career and an understudy could be targeted. Perry Riley played well down the stretch, but there are still some weaknesses to his overall game. Hopefully he continues to improve because the depth behind him is extremely thin. The Redskins could look to use a mid-round pick to find a successor to Fletcher and add quality depth.
This is one of the Redskins thinnest positions in terms of starting talent and potential. Josh Wilson is a good NFL starter, but beyond that there isn’t much to get excited about. Hall has big play ability, but of late he’s more known for the number of big plays he gives up. He’s just not a strong starter, especially at the mega-contract the Skins signed him to. Kevin Barnes has been a huge disappointment in his first three years and will likely lose his nickle corner position. Cedric Griffin figures to get a look as both a reserve CB and FS, but the one time quality starter has had some major injury issues in recent years and really shouldn’t be relied upon. Leigh Torrence has some experience, but he’s never shown himself capable of handling even the 3rd CB role and his roster spot isn’t safe by any means. Brandyn Thompson is an intriguing developmental CB, but if he is to make this team it is likely as the 5th CB.
On top of all of those issues, even more troubling is that of the top 5 guys none are signed beyond 2013. This means there needs to be a lot of turnover at this position, so at least one pick could be used to address this need.
While it’s hard to believe, but this positional outlook took a turn for the worse with yesterday’s news that Meriweather was pulled over for a DUI. Meriweather has a long history of issues on and off the field, and has been benched by each of his former teams. Meriweather has the size and speed combo capable of making him a quality safety, but it seems doubtful that he will put it all together. Jackson is another safety with some quality skills, but also some major issues and question marks. Jackson has already been suspended by the league’s substance abuse policy. He’s also notorious for missing quite a few tackles, which severely limits his value. Madieu Williams could be a solid spot starter, but its hard to imagine he can play 65 snaps a game. Doughty has been a valuable special teamer, but it’s’ quite apparent that he’s unable to be a starter or primary back-up. Gomes was thrust into the starting line-up last year and the results weren’t too good. He could be a decent back-up, but he needs more development before he is considered a starting option.