Ranking the Redskins Position Groups:
*starting talent, injury concerns, and depth are the biggest factors in determining the rankings
1. Outside Linebackers:
-The Redskins have a pair of Pro Bowl caliber starters here and both look to be in full health for this season. Depth isn’t as strong with Rob Jackson’s suspension, but rookie Brandon Jenkins could add a valuable pass rush element.
-While it is tough to beat a top two QB pair of RGIII and Kirk Cousins, they are in the two spot due to Griffin’s injury concerns. Unlike Brian Orakpo, who is back to full strength, Griffin’s prognosis for the start of the season is a bit more murky. Even if Griffin is healthy he may have some rust to start off the year, which is why the quarterbacks took the 2nd place spot.
3. Running backs/Fullbacks:
–Alfred Morris and Darrel Young are two of the best in the business at their respective positions and crucial to the Redskins success. While there are definitely some question marks in regards to depth at running back, the Redskins should be in a better position than a year ago. Roy Helu Jr. looks to be healthier and the team drafted Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison in the later rounds. Though both Helu and Thompson have injury concerns, there are hopefully enough bodies in camp this year to have a quality back-up option.
4. Tight Ends:
-The Redskins return their top 3 tight ends from a year ago and added a high upside guy in Jordan Reed in the 3rd round. Reed and top TE Fred Davis have some injury concerns, but the Redskins should still be in a good position this season. Even if both Davis and Reed were to miss serious time (or have their effectiveness compromised), Logan Paulsen last year proved to be an effective option. Niles Paul also came up with a number of big plays in limited opportunities last year and could do better in his 2nd year transitioning to the position. Paulsen and Paul are both good blockers, which is key given the Redskins run first mentality.
5. Defensive Line:
-With Adam Carriker’s status up in the air and Doug Worthington on IR, depth is a real concern here. The starters though are all above-average to good players, which helps their ranking this high. The group lacks a true impact player and depth is an issue, but overall they should produce fairly well for the Redskins.
6. Wide Receivers:
-The Redskins lack an elite WR, but have four good quality options in Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson. Aldrick Robinson is an intriguing young guy who proved himself as a deep threat last year. It’s not a great group, but it’s solid-good, and the depth is nice because it lessens concerns like Garcon’s potentially foot issues.
7. Inside Linebackers:
-London Fletcher struggled some last season and while Perry Riley stepped up, he has some limitations as well. Neither will likely be on their way to Hawaii this year, but if Fletcher bounces back some it should be a good starting pair. Depth is a slight concern, but 2nd year LB Keenan Robinson has some potential.
8. Interior Offensive Line:
-Chris Chester and Will Montgomery had two very strong years last season. Unfortunately Kory Lichtensteiger did not. He led the team in penalties and was a liability for stretches as a blocker as well. Top guard back-up Maurice Hurt, struggled at the position as a rookie in 2011, and could end up entering the RT mix. Second year players Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis are thought to offer depth, but some early question marks are already surrounding LeRibeus. If Chester and Montgomery can stay healthy they should be fine, if one of them were to miss some significant time the Redskins could be in trouble.
9. Offensive Tackles:
-Trent Williams broke out in his third season and had a Pro Bowl caliber year. While LT looks strong, right tackle is a mess as Tyler Polumbus is back as the starter, and his top competition (and likely back-ups) all have question marks. To make matters worse, no one seems like even a viable back-up LT option if Trent Williams were to miss any time. While one starter looks to be elite, the other is one of the weaker ones in the league and the depth is highly questionable. Not a good mix for the season and definitely an area of concern.
-The Redskins upgraded the position with E.J. Biggers and drafting David Amerson, but there are some real potential concerns for this season. DeAngelo Hall is back, and while his contract is more in line with his production, it is still likely to be pretty poor production. Josh Wilson is coming off two major offseason surgeries and may see his effectiveness limited, particularly early in the season. As for Amerson, he’s considered a boom or bust type of prospect and a guy who needs some real developmental time. If called upon this year he’s unlikely to make a positive impact.
-Top safety Brandon Meriweather is coming off a November ACL tear and may not be 100%. The other starter will be between 4th rounder Phillip Thomas and 6th rounder Bacarri Rambo. Whoever wins the job will likely have some bad growing pains as a rookie. The one that doesn’t win will likely be the primary back-up and also have his fair share of miscues early on.