Position series: Redskins cornerbacks

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
12:08
PM ET
Our position-by-position analysis of each of the NFC East's teams continues now with a look at the cornerbacks of the Washington Redskins.

Projected starters: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson

Reserves: Cedric Griffin, Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Richard Crawford, Morgan Trent, Jordan Bernstine, Chase Minnifield

[+] EnlargeDeAngelo Hall
Al Bello/Getty ImagesDeAngelo Hall, right, led the Redskins last season with three INTs and 16 passes defensed.
Potential strength: The secondary is not the strongest part of the Redskins' team. Wilson is an OK cover guy, and Hall is not, but he has in the past shown a knack for making plays on the ball. So they may use Hall inside more this year and go with Griffin on the outside. They believe Griffin can play bump coverage and that they can get him help with safeties, and if they do that his physicality could be an asset. The schemes are the key here. The key for the coaching staff will be to deploy the corners in ways that play to their strength and attempt to minimize the impact of their weaknesses.

Potential weakness: If Hall and Griffin get matched up in man coverage, they're going to be at risk of getting burned. Hall seems energized by the move inside, but we've not seen him play there for an extended period of time, and so there's no evidence that he can do it long-term. It makes sense that it could maximize his playmaking instincts, we just haven't seen it to know whether it works. Part of the motivation for the move is that Barnes played poorly in the slot-corner role last year, so if Hall isn't the full-time answer, they'll need to find one. They've used Crawford, Thompson, Minnifield and even Wilson there at times in the offseason, but that area of coverage definitely needs to improve.

Keep an eye on: Minnifield. Undrafted out of Virginia, Minnifield turned a lot of heads in minicamp, and the Redskins' coaches say they're thankful for the knee injury that led to his disappointing 40-time and dropped him out of the draft. They say they had a third-round grade on Minnifield and that the injury hasn't sapped him of his speed. It's clear there's opportunity in this group, and if Minnifield plays in training camp the way he played in OTAs and minicamp, he'll have a better than reasonable chance to make the team and see the field in the regular season.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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