Ranking the Redskins Cornerbacks
April 12, 2013 in Redskins Personnel
Currently the Washington Redskins have seven options at corner and are likely to keep at least 5. Washington's starters are very much up in the air and they are likely to bring in some additional talent through the draft. Here is how they rank, including predictions for where they end-up. Tiers are based off of what their expected value is for 2013, due to a combination of past production and likely potential. Overall potential, or contract status is not really taken into account.
Rankings: Offensive Tackles | Interior Offensive Linemen | Quarterbacks | Running/Fullbacks | Tight Ends
Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won't face any competition for his job.
Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Should both easily make the team and start.
-The Redskins signed Josh Wilson to a three year deal in 2011, and he rewarded them with a strong year. Last year his play suffered some, though he was still probably the Redskins best player in the secondary. He doesn't make a ton of flashy plays, but he is very consistent, and is the best coverage option the Redskins have. His height is a bit of a limiting factor as it makes it hard for him to cover some of the bigger receivers in the league. Though he has yet to do it with the Redskins, in the past he was utilized as a slot corner, and Washington could look to maybe get the most out of him by kicking him inside when teams bring in a 3rd receiver. Barring any more additions Wilson will likely remain the Redskins top corner next year, though definitely isn't close to being a true number 1.
Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won't consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.
-Hall is a flashy player who always comes up with big turnovers, unfortunately he's also been a player who gives up big plays as well. While most teams could probably live with the big plays allowed, because the big plays caused will kinda equal them out, the real issue with Hall is the sheer number of moderate to good plays that he allows. Hall has consistently graded out as one of the worst coverage corners in the league, allowing high completion rates, with a ton of yards. Last year he allowed over 1,000 receiving yards according to PFF (2nd worst in the league), and a 67% completion rate. Hall would come up with some big games, but would for most weeks be a big coverage liability. Further troubling for Hall is his missed tackles and penalties. Hall was cut do to his exorbitant salary, and brought back at a greatly reduced one year deal. He's not a lock to make the team or be a starter, but the Redskins don't have many resources this year to outright replace him. If he does play in a starting or significant capacity, he will likely continue to be a liability for the Redskins secondary, but make a few big plays to help his case.
-Biggers was a 7th round pick by the Buccaneers in 2009 out of Western Michigan. He missed his first year due to injury, but quickly moved up the depth chart after that as a spot starter/key reserve. He was up and down in that capacity in 2010/2011, but this past year he earned more of a full time starting role and played pretty well. He's got plenty of experience with DB coach Raheem Morris, offers nice size and length and the versatility to play both inside and outside. He's likely a streaky player at best, but does represent an upgrade over the Redskins 3rd corner (Cedric Griffin) from a year ago. Biggers could also challenge for a starting role, given the inconsistencies of DeAngelo Hall, and Josh Wilson coming off a down year.
Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He's a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.
Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn't really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn't even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn't be considered a starting option at all.
-Crawford was a 7th round pick by the Redskins last year and made the squad after a strong preseason both on defense and special teams. He was given some early looks, and struggled especially when asked to cover the slot. The experiment ended pretty quickly and he was put back on the bench. Later in the year after overtaking Brandon Banks as the punt returner and Cedric Griffin getting suspended, Crawford again saw some significant snaps the final two weeks of the year (though with Griffin back wasn't seen in the playoffs). He did a better job of holding his own, but overall the sample size is too small to really make any judgments on his development. Crawford should be expected to be the 4th or 5th corner, but has two advantages in making the squad this year: his return ability and the fact that unlike the three top guys he's under contract beyond 2013.
-Murphy is a former 3rd round pick out of South Florida by the St. Louis Rams in 2010. He offers good size and has some nice press coverage abilities. He got about 200 snaps as a rookie, but lost his 2nd year to a broken ankle. He bounced around the league last year, but couldn't find a team to really give him a chance. With a full offseason (OTA's, minicamps, training camp) this is his best chance to show he's worthy of a roster spot if fully healthy. His size and former draft status is a plus, but he has to show that he's developed some since his rookie year. He's a bit of a longshot to make the team, but he definitely shouldn't completely be ruled out.
Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn't even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.
-Minnifield went into the 2011 college season as a guy with a late first round grade. Even after a somewhat disappointing season, it was expected that he'd still be a top 75 pick. It was later revealed that he had microfracture surgery to go along with his knee scope before the draft, which left teams concerned enough about his prognosis to leave him undrafted. The Redskins scooped him up, but unfortunately he tore his ACL in his right knee on the final day of June Minicamp, wiping out his entire 2012 season. It is know a knee that has had two ACL surgeries and a microfracture surgery. It's unclear at this time when Minnifield will be ready, and how he will return from this latest injury set back. The Redskins may look to start him out on the PUP list so they can get a full look before having to make a final roster decision. He's probably a long shot to make the team, though would be a top target to be on the practice squad and hopefully develop in the future.
-Lindsey was a 7th round pick by the Bengals in 2011 after a good career at Southern Illinois. He has since bounced around a few teams, getting some practice squad time and then being placed on IR by the Colts last season. He's still young and is thought to have some potential as a slot corner. He's still well on the outside looking in for the Redskins and will need to earn a role with good special teams play.
What do you think? How would you rank the Redskins corner options? And do you think they should look to upgrade?