Washington Redskins: DeAngelo Hall

Examining the Washington Redskins' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Jay Gruden only had two quarterbacks in each of his three seasons with Cincinnati, but Griffin still needs to prove his durability. If something happened to him, they woulld still be in good shape with Cousins and McCoy. If they go with two then McCoy gets left off.

Running backs (4)

The Redskins could also stash Chris Thompson on the practice squad as further insurance. Thompson can easily bump himself onto the roster with a good summer; he’s a good fit in Gruden’s offense and the new coach liked Thompson coming out of college. But durability is an issue. By keeping four here, the Redskins can go with an extra player at another spot. This means Evan Royster is on the outs, but he doesn’t give the Redskins anything they don’t have in better players. He is insurance only.

Receivers (6)

I am not cutting Leonard Hankerson, rather I’m just not sold that he will be on the active roster at the start of the season. If he shows this summer that he can play, then, yes, I would have him on the 53-man roster. But the Redskins were not sure what to expect from him and when he might be healthy. Therefore, I can see him taking a little longer to return. Gruden likes Moss and they drafted Grant. Robinson needs to take a step.

Tight ends (3)

Rookie tight end Ted Bolser would head to the practice squad, where he can develop. He didn’t look close to a roster spot just based on how he looked this spring. Reed is firmly entrenched as the starter with Paulsen their top blocker and Paul a special teams ace.

Offensive line (10)

In reality, I could see them keeping only nine offensive linemen. It all depends on how Long and/or LeRibeus looks at guard. They love Long -- Gruden has said he could compete immediately -- so if he shows he can play, then they could cut Chester (which I don't think will happen; I think he'll start). Compton is a little surprise, but they like him as well. This position will be fluid and I’m not sold on the 10 I have listed.

Defensive line (6)


This one is fluid as well because it depends in part on Bowen’s health. I like Chris Neild and so do they, but can they keep him? Golston is more versatile and a key player on special teams, but he’s also 30 and they must get younger at some point. But he still helps in too many ways.

Linebackers (9)

As of now I’d have Rob Jackson out, especially if Jenkins develops as a pass-rusher. But this will be a close race. And I have them keeping an extra guy inside in Hayward because of his special teams ability.

Cornerbacks (5)
Chase Minnifield remains eligible for the practice squad. Richard Crawford is coming off a knee injury and it’s hard to place him on here without seeing him play. The one benefit for Crawford is that he can play in the slot; they need depth at that spot.

Safeties (4)

I really don’t feel good about this position and am not confident that I have this one right, at least for that final spot. Robinson’s special teams ability gives him the edge over Bacarri Rambo, who must have a strong camp. Akeem Davis can help on special teams, but with no NFL experience he will be stashed on the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

The Forbath selection is based on never having seen rookie Zach Hocker kick in an NFL game. If Hocker is consistent this summer and shows a strong leg, then he can win the job.
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall is realistic about the rest of his career, which is why he’s not planning to match, say, Darrell Green’s run. When Green turned 30, some in the Redskins’ organization considered the future Hall of Fame cornerback near the end. And a few years earlier, they nearly let him sign with Denver.

Hall
 Hall, who turns 31 during the season, might not want to play another 10 years, and he likely won't match Green's 20 seasons overall. But he does want to know how to extend his career, which is why he’ll occasionally consult with Green.

“I always pick his brain about little things,” Hall said. “He was a freak of nature. The things he can still do now are mind boggling. I don’t think I have 20 years in me, but I pick his brain about what were you thinking to get to this point or at that point.

“He always tells me he was never a guy that beat guys up at the line. He looked like he would press, but he was all feet. They were so great. They’re still great now. Those are the little things I try to get better on, footwork and doing drills.”

But Hall recognizes there were things Green could do that he just can’t. His training regimen is among them.

“It was mind blowing,” Hall said. “He tells me some of the stuff he did and I said, ‘DG, there’s no way I can do that. No way I can run 4 400s, 3 300s, 2 200s and then go run these hills with you. I’m dead doing the hills alone.’ Anytime you have a guy who can run 4 400s [and] at the same time sprint with the sprinters, that’s a beast.”

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

July, 5, 2014
Jul 5
12:00
PM ET
OK, I have to admit that I lied to you: Turns out I could -- and did -- do a second mailbag this week. Saw more questions, got a burst of energy and here it is, with topics ranging from culture shift to Robert Griffin III's study habits, the secondary and the defensive line. Enjoy.

John Keim: Let's not get too carried away with this just yet because the culture was changed dramatically when Mike Shanahan was hired too. A lot of the stories at that time focused on that very topic. He was trying to bring in players with a certain mindset and he had that winning aura. And then they finished last in three of his four seasons. So his changes did not lead to the one change everyone wants. The culture of an organization always starts at the top. But in terms of the coaching hire, that was on Bruce Allen and then the subsequent assistant hires was on both he and Jay Gruden. There is a positive energy right now with the coaching staff and players and a good vibe among the players, but until they win -- and do so consistently -- it will always be about "changing cultures" at Redskins Park. And they'll try to do so every four years. Keim: Griffin receives a lot of credit for how hard he works; part of that includes studying film. I know he watches a lot of film, but the bottom line is right now the area that people want to see him improve involves pre-snap reads, getting off primary reads faster. Once he starts doing that, you'll hear more about the other habits that go into that improvement, like film study. To be honest, not sure I've read a lot or heard a lot about other young quarterbacks and how much film they watch. If you're a starting quarterback in the NFL it's assumed that you watch a lot of film. Griffin is no different. Really, it's not about watching film as much as it is processing what you're seeing. It takes a couple years for any young quarterback (or player for that matter) to reach a comfort level in this area. Many, many times I've talked to players about watching film and they consistently say it took them a while to do it well. Keim: I need to see them in game action. I need to see if the safeties are tackling better, what Ryan Clark has left, if David Amerson has improved and if Brandon Meriweather is more consistent. It is impossible to tell most of that from watching them work in just shorts and a helmet. I do like what I saw from Amerson and in what I heard from him. He had a good grasp on what he needed to be doing to improve. In less than a month we'll get a chance to see how he's really doing. As for the starters, it's easy right now: Amerson and DeAngelo Hall at the corners; Meriweather and Clark at safety. They need Clark's leadership deep, but they also need to make sure he can still play at a certain level. Keim: They'll typically keep five, including one fullback. Gruden kept a fullback in Cincinnati and Darrel Young has improved as a blocker during his time in Washington. He helps the run game and he helps on special teams too. But really this will depend on what they do at other positions. My guess is they'll want to keep nine or 10 offensive linemen. Would they really keep two kickers? How many safeties and corners? Usually 10 are kept, but they were willing to go with 11 two years ago. Would they really want to go with three running backs and a fullback -- or four running backs and no fullback? Last year's fourth running back, Evan Royster, barely played. They could always keep one on the practice squad just in case. Keim: My main issue with their line is not where they rank but their age. They have four potential defensive linemen 30 years or older -- and three of them will be coming off surgeries. So there's concern here. If they're healthy and if Jason Hatcher plays well if Chris Baker comes through to give them a young rusher, then I think this group will be fine. They'd have more depth and versatility than a year ago. The line did a solid job against the run last year; their issue was a lack of pressure. But if Hatcher has durability issues because of his knee and Stephen Bowen does not return to a solid level and Jarvis Jenkins still can't do much in nickel ... then they will have issues. They're a question mark, like many parts of the defense. 
The lone mailbag this week -- yeah, cutting back for a change -- covers the Redskins' potential offensive sets; Bashaud Breeland; Jordan Reed and the Pro Bowl; Robert Griffin III's quiet offseason and more. Enjoy.

 

Something to prove: DeSean Jackson

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
12:00
PM ET
We will be featuring a different Washington Redskins player each day on this list, staying away from rookies or some second-year players still finding their way. This will focus primarily on veterans at or near a career crossroads. Today: Receiver DeSean Jackson.

Jackson
Why he has something to prove: Unless you missed the offseason you’ll probably know the answer. Anytime a team releases you, regardless of the reasons, it’s going to result in a chip on your shoulder. Or, at least, it should. For Jackson, it’s not about his ability. His career is proof that he’s a playmaker. The question surrounds other issues that will take time for him to prove they were either wrong or accurate. Does he handle himself like a professional? Is he good in the locker room? Those sorts of things. Those take time to unveil and they can’t be underestimated. It was a knock on him in Philadelphia, even before his release and the subsequent stories. But one thing that stands out with Jackson is loyalty, as this ESPN the Magazine article spells out once again. The Redskins embraced him immediately (quarterback Robert Griffin III has made it a point to get to know him, wanting to understand Jackson and his motivation better. Griffin gets him, especially his feelings toward his late father.) If that matters to Jackson then he’ll reward his new team with good behavior. He signed a three-year deal but the Redskins can cut him after two years with a cap savings. It would be a bad look for him if that happened. At that point he’d be an aging fast receiver who was cut by two teams in three years. But if he handles himself right, in three years he’ll remain a valuable commodity. Then? Cha-ching.

What he must do: Be himself on the field and a non-issue in the locker room. Handle your business; be on time, etc. Jackson is not a perfect receiver; he’s not much of a blocker, which will hurt in the outside zone run game. But anyone who thinks he’s not dangerous hasn’t watched him. Jackson has a knack for creating several yards of separation for a couple reasons. One, he’s quick in and out of cuts. But, more importantly, defensive backs have to – have to – be concerned with his deep speed. So comebacks and hitches work well. And if you sit on those, he’ll go deep. If you’re a safety or corner who does not turn well, you’ll be exposed. You have to honor his fakes because if not he’ll burn you. There are ways to handle him and good, physical corners have had success. Again, he has flaws and a way he can be contained. But even in those games he’s capable of one huge play that makes a difference (see: Redskins/Eagles, Monday Night Football, 2010, Landover, Maryland). It’ll take him longer to prove himself in the locker room because there are so many situations to go through. How he handles a tough game; a tough stretch; not getting enough passes. The Redskins’ leadership also has to guide him properly – that means players such as safety Ryan Clark, unafraid to speak truth, and corner DeAngelo Hall and Griffin. And it could (will?) provide a good test for a first-time head coach in Jay Gruden and the organization.

Projection: Obviously Jackson will start. The question is, who will get the bulk of the passes? My feeling, still, is that Pierre Garcon will be the volume guy. Before last season’s 82 catches, Jackson’s career high in receptions was 62. If Jackson catches between 60-70 passes, he will be impactful – don’t forget, there’s a trickle-down effect with his presence. Though Jackson was considered a risky pickup, it’s not as if he ruined the Eagles. During his six seasons, they made the playoffs four times, ranked in the top 10 in points scored five times and in the top 10 in total yards four times. The Eagles took a risk on him and were rewarded for a while.
The Washington Redskins didn't ditch their defensive boss, even after a rough year and a coaching change. But they did tweak the lineup and it's possible that nearly half of the players who start this season will be new to the lineup, though only two would have been added in the offseason (Jason Hatcher, Ryan Clark). Washington's biggest change is that it plans to alter the pass rush, which is one reason the Redskins hired outside linebackers coach Brian Baker, a pass-rush specialist. The Redskins also added linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, who will also be a big help.

Here's a look at the Redskins' starting defense and special teams at the end of the offseason:

Defense

Left end: Chris Baker
Nose tackle: Barry Cofield
Right end: Jason Hatcher
Outside linebacker: Ryan Kerrigan
Inside linebacker: Perry Riley
Inside linebacker: Keenan Robinson
Outside linebacker: Brian Orakpo
Cornerback: DeAngelo Hall
Cornerback: David Amerson
Safety: Brandon Meriweather
Safety: Ryan Clark

Change from 2013: Clark, Robinson and Hatcher are newcomers. Amerson was the third corner last year and takes over for Josh Wilson. Baker started three games last year because of injuries to others, but enters with the job now because of his performance.

Note: There is more uncertainty with this group than on offense. Because of Hatcher’s knee, the Redskins could limit his participation early in camp; they used Jarvis Jenkins at this spot during the spring. And what about Stephen Bowen? He, too, has a knee issue and after not taking part in practices during the spring it’s hard to imagine him being ready for a big role early in camp. Also, while Robinson looked good this spring, he’s never started an NFL game and has to show he can handle the run game as well as the responsibilities of the position. He’ll need to hold off veterans Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan for the job. The secondary is pretty well set. They love Clark’s leadership and communication and, yes, he has to show he can still play. He’s firmly ahead entering camp. Meriweather is ahead as well, as backup Phillip Thomas must still show a lot. The coaches liked his progress last summer before he got hurt, but the bottom line is he’s inexperienced and coming off a tough Lisfranc injury.

Spring standout: Probably Robinson. His ability to play on the move was evident, but considering that was his strength before the two torn pectoral muscles, that's not a surprise. Training camp, and preseason games, will reveal a lot more, but he had a good offseason.

Average age at start of camp: 28.18

Combined Pro Bowls: 11 (Orakpo, 3; Hall, 3; Meriweather, 2; Hatcher, Kerrigan and Clark, 1)

Starters 30 or older: 5 (Clark, Meriweather, Hall, Hatcher, Cofield).



Special teams

Kicker: Kai Forbath
Punter: Robert Malone
Long snapper: Nick Sundberg
Returner: Andre Roberts

Change from 2013: Malone and Roberts are new.

Note: Malone had some booming punts during the spring, but he was known for his inconsistency in previous stops. Too many punts with bad hangtime leading to long returns. He must fix that. But his competition, Blake Clingan, has no career punts. Forbath has a slight edge because of experience, but Zach Hocker has a legitimate chance to win the job. You do not base the competition on how they looked in the spring – no coach ever would -- but Hocker is off to a good start. So that battle will be interesting. You don’t draft a kicker unless you like his chances of winning the job. Unless a kicker looks terrible in practice, then the games matter most. The Redskins do have another long snapper on the roster in Kyle Nelson, who took over for an injured Sundberg last year. But the latter has been consistent since joining the Redskins. And Roberts is the best one to handle both return duties. DeSean Jackson should not be used as anything other than a pinch-hitter on punt returns; he’s far more valuable from scrimmage, so don’t wear him down. I’ll be curious to see how Richard Crawford looks returning punts this summer, but he’ll be in a real fight for a roster spot. If they can’t keep six corners then he’ll be in big trouble. The Redskins want Roberts to get as many touches as possible and, with Jackson and Pierre Garcon ahead of him at receiver, having him return punts and kicks is a good way for this to happen.
  1. Ryan Kerrigan did not practice Wednesday because he was a “little sore” according to coach Jay Gruden. He said they’ve liked what Kerrigan has done in the weight room and on the field and just wanted to give him a day off. Meanwhile, Brian Orakpo returned to practice after missing Tuesday because of an illness.
  2. OK, Brian Baker is not only good to watch and effective with his players, but he also provides terrific insight into what he’s doing. It’s the same reason I liked Kirk Olivadotti when he was here the first time. If they’re able to communicate this well with the media, then chances are they do so with their players -- and it enables them to learn. I’ll have more from Baker over the next few weeks.
  3. One little nugget from Baker: He called second-year linebacker Brandon Jenkins one of the more improved players this spring. Baker has gotten on Jenkins quite a bit and there’s little doubt that he needed to improve in a few ways. He’s still not a lock to be on the roster, but if he continues to improve then he’s in a good spot.
  4. Jenkins beat rookie Morgan Moses to the inside on one rush. Moses could not recover to stop Jenkins’ counter. It is an issue right now for Moses and something he’ll have to work on in order to become a starter. Also saw Jenkins get around right tackle Maurice Hurt later in the practice during a hurry-up drill.
  5. Play of the day: Corner DeAngelo Hall made a terrific diving interception on a Robert Griffin III pass intended for receiver DeSean Jackson, cutting to the outside. Hall read it perfectly and made the diving pick as he headed out of bounds. He bounced up, his helmet popped off and he threw the ball in the air as linebacker Adam Hayward led the charge over to him. Yes, it was just a play in a spring practice but certain plays get them fired up no matter when they occur.
  6. At 6-foot-5, Trent Murphy is tall for a pass rusher, but he does a good job of staying low -- and trying to get lower. It hasn’t always resulted in pressure, like Wednesday when he went against Trent Williams. The left tackle stopped him initially, but Murphy tried to get lower and did so. Williams still won, but Murphy seems comfortable staying low. It’s one reason he can use the spin move.
  7. Phillip Thomas picked off a Kirk Cousins’ pass that skipped off Andre Roberts’ hands.
  8. This is when you know it’s time to get to training camp, when you write this line: Quarterback Colt McCoy hit receiver Cody Hoffman on a deep ball down the right side. Hoffman beat corner Blake Sailors on the play.
  9. Saw safety Ryan Clark up at the line of scrimmage in coverage; did a nice job staying with Roberts on a short out route.
  10. Receiver Pierre Garcon beat corner David Amerson to the inside; Amerson was on his hip, but did not react quick enough and the pass was completed, prompting secondary coach Raheem Morris to yell to him, “Come on! That’s a dream throw!” Amerson did a nice job later in the practice covering a double move by DeSean Jackson. Griffin looked their way, but because Amerson played it properly he had to eat the ball and would have been sacked by linebacker Brian Orakpo. Too much pressure allowed Wednesday.
  11. Rookie corner Bashaud Breeland showed good patience on a couple routes. First, in off coverage against Aldrick Robinson he did not fall for a fake and was in good position (Robinson then fell as he cut inside). Later, rookie receiver Ryan Grant stepped back at the line as if he were about to get a screen pass. Breeland did not bite. Grant then took off downfield, but Breeland’s patience meant he had him covered and the ball was thrown away.
  12. I’m setting the over-under on number of scuffles involving Chase Minnifield this summer at three. He did not get in one Wednesday, but the way he plays aggravates the offense. He’s feisty and aggressive with his hands. Wednesday, tight end Logan Paulsen blocked him on a run to the other side and Minnifield was trying to somehow shed a man who outweighs him by about 75 pounds. At one point Minnifield grabbed Paulsen’s facemask.
  13. More on Clark’s value: He quickly recognized a zone read look and called it out before the play happened. The defense stopped the play. As I’ve said before, there’s just a big difference with him back deep and anyone else when it comes to communicating. Thomas was praised after one play for his pre-snap communication.
  14. The defense was just stronger overall against the offense Wednesday. Several tipped passes resulted in a couple interceptions. Also, linebacker Perry Riley made a nice tip on a Griffin pass in zone coverage. Griffin was trying to hit Paulsen and Riley barely got a piece of it, but it was enough. Sometimes the difference between a tipped pass and a perfect one is just a few inches -- and this was an example.
  15. Spencer Long worked at right guard, it’s where he’s most comfortable. In the past, the offensive linemen were worked at one spot only, allowing them to get comfortable before expanding their roles. But that will change a bit this season. The Redskins have enough competition among the young linemen that they all have to show they can help at multiple spots.
  16. Rookie tight end Ted Bolser struggled to block outside linebacker Gabe Miller on a couple plays, allowing him to shoot inside on one play and then pinch the running back inside on another. Miller had a good day, but obviously is a longshot to make the roster. Bolser will need to block better.
  17. Don’t always see strong leg drive from Clifton Geathers; he gets upright and loses his strength. But he did drive guard Adam Gettis back on one rush.
London Fletcher’s play wasn’t the same a year ago, his run as a Pro Bowl linebacker over. Fletcher, though, remained a presence on the field and in the meeting room for the Redskins’ defense.

So the Redskins can replace the production of a player since retired. Finding someone who led the way he did will be a little tougher.

“Just as far as lining up, getting everyone right and making sure everyone comes to practice in the right attitude,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said.

They can survive without such a strong leader, but it’s nice to have. Fletcher provided a veteran voice the players could trust. Who might take his place? Here are some players who can help:

Clark
Safety Ryan Clark: The leader in the clubhouse (there wasn’t a pun intended, but after writing it maybe there was). Clark is the most natural leader on the defense and he plays a position where he must communicate every play. So it enhances that leadership role. He’s someone who can get players lined up right, guide them in the meeting rooms and serve as a strong mentor. He has the reputation for telling players what others might shy away from saying. He has the credentials, playing a key role on two Super Bowl championship teams, and he carved a career, like Fletcher did, as an undrafted free agent. Players like that, who last this long, have a different quality about them and others take notice.

The question is, what does Clark have left on the field? It’s tough to be the same leader if you’re struggling. Pittsburgh felt he was done. Of course, the Steelers didn’t suffer through what the Redskins did with their safeties last year (and the past few). I also wonder if it matters to players that Clark spends a lot of time on TV, his transition to post-NFL life having (smartly) begun. During the season his focus will be on the team so it might not matter at all. Still, Clark is the most natural in this role.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall: He’s matured over the years and has been a captain. The Redskins used him to help recruit potential free agents, DeSean Jackson in particular. Money always wins out, but the fact that the Redskins wanted him as one of the players to help in this area says a lot about Hall. He seems to like this role. While it helps Clark to have played for a top franchise in Pittsburgh, does it hurt that Hall has played two seasons in which his team finished with a winning record? Don't know; Hall has lasted a long time in the NFL and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. But it’s difficult for corners to be the primary leaders on a defense, in part because their jobs require them to have less of a big-picture look than other positions. The best leaders that I’ve seen in Washington have been linebackers, safeties and the occasional defensive lineman (Marco Coleman).

Riley
Linebacker Perry Riley: It’s not in his personality to be that sort of guy. Riley is smart, but doesn’t like the spotlight – a leader has to also serve as a mouthpiece for the defense. He’s better as a complementary guy.

Linebacker Keenan Robinson: Tough to be a leader when you’ve played in only 11 games, started none and missed the past year with a second injury. There’s a chance he’ll end up replacing Fletcher in the lineup and this position demands he be a good communicator. But he still has to prove he's better than Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan. Whoever is in this role must call out the defensive signals, get guys lined up, call out changes. A leadership role is a natural outbreak of this, but Robinson is not close to being that sort of guy. He needs to win the job, prove his value in games and then perhaps he’ll grow into a leadership role.

Nose tackle Barry Cofield: He’s comfortable in a leadership role. He’s not the same sort of presence as Fletcher in terms of being a coach on the field, but he was a leader with the Giants and has been one in Washington. He understands what comes with that: always being available, especially during the hard times. Hall typically is, but there have been times in the past when the losses pile up that he stays away from the media for a couple weeks (except for after games). Regardless of who emerges as the defensive voice, Cofield will provide leadership.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo: When Orakpo was injured two years ago, one former Redskins coach felt the team had lost one of its most passionate players. His value comes more in that than in being a guy who will replace Fletcher as The Leader on defense.
The Redskins knew they couldn't count on a draft pick starting immediately, not without a first-round pick. If it happened? Great. So they filled their perceived immediate needs in free agency and hoped several in the draft class could fill roles, some more prominent.

Coach Jay Gruden said the Redskins' free-agency signings should allow the rookies to develop without needing to start immediately. I'll take a look at how the rookies fit in and when they might be needed to play bigger roles.

Player: CB Bashaud Breeland

Why he doesn’t need to start: The Redskins don’t need a starter with David Amerson and DeAngelo Hall in the lineup. Tracy Porter will be the slot corner, provided he can do something he’s never done: Stay healthy two straight seasons. He did not miss a game last season but is coming off shoulder surgery and his history of injuries shouldn't make anyone feel comfortable. E.J. Biggers is another option. That gives Washington four veterans – you can debate the quality – ahead of Breeland. The Redskins also have Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford.

Future role: Third corner/possible starter. Breeland, a fourth-round pick, has skills that will make him a good player to have around because of his special-teams ability. To become a starter he’d need a strong pass rush given how physical he likes to play. For now I’ll say third corner and see how he progresses through the summer and next season. If he becomes a solid third and excellent special-teams player, then that's a win with this pick (assuming two others from this class become starters).

When he might need to be ready: The top three corners are signed through 2015. Barring injuries (again: Porter’s durability has always been an issue so Breeland could be needed sooner) or drop-off in play by Hall, Breeland doesn’t need to be more than a special-teamer and fourth corner until 2016. This is how it should work: draft someone in the middle rounds, let them grow and then stick them in when needed a couple years later. Too often the Redskins have failed at this, failing to develop players then overpaying for a free agent. They need their own to help – and not just those drafted high. Now, Breeland and the coaches just have to make sure this is what happens.

What he must work on: Learning to cover receivers without being too grabby; or, at least, finding veteran tricks to conceal the grabbiness (other corners do it; Seattle’s corners are often physical throughout the route). Breeland has to show that his lack of speed (4.62 in the 40) won’t be a hindrance. His long arms and patience make him a good fit in press or even certain zones, but turning and running with speedier wideouts could be difficult. Seattle corner Richard Sherman isn’t a burner, either, but his combine 40 times ranged in the low 4.5s. Breeland offers versatility because of his ability to play multiple spots defensively and, perhaps, could move to safety down the road if corner does not work. It was evident on tape the kid loves to play the game and that always helps.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen stressed this point a couple times Tuesday: When making decisions in the draft, they're looking as much at the roster in 2015 and '16 as they are this season.

Chances are, that's when most of the players they pick this weekend will be ready for bigger roles. With that in mind, here's how the roster shapes up in '15 and '16:

Quarterbacks

Griffin
2015 roster: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins.

2016 roster: Griffin (if the team picks up his option. Note: Initially said it was for 2017, it's for '16).

Conclusion: They don’t need a starter, but, perhaps next year, they’ll have to start finding another player to groom as a backup assuming Griffin re-emerges.

Running backs

2015 roster: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young and Chris Thompson.

2016 roster: Thompson.

Conclusion: It’s not a pressing need because they could always re-sign Morris or find another back next year in the draft. However, they have checked out some backs such as West Virginia’s Charles Sims and Notre Dame’s George Atkinson III. There is a need to find someone else; Thompson is not a full-time option.

Wide receivers

Garcon
Garcon
2015 roster: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Nick Williams

2016 roster: Roberts, Garcon, Jackson.

Conclusion: Still a need for depth, but finding another quality starter – right now – is not a must. However, it would be wise to find someone in a receiver-heavy draft who can be developed. They’ll have to make a decision after this year on Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson. Also, Garcon and Jackson’s contracts are up after the ’16 season.

Offensive line

2015 roster: Trent Williams, Chris Chester, Kory Lichtensteiger, Shawn Lauvao, Mike McGlynn, Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, Tevita Stevens, Kevin Kowalski.

2016 roster: Lauvao, Lichtensteiger, Stevens.

Conclusion: I think we all know a right tackle is a strong possibility. Polumbus is not under contract after this season and neither is Tom Compton. Do the math; the Redskins have to find someone here at some point. And look at the ’16 roster; you don’t want to be in a position where you have to re-sign or sign that many players in one spot.

Tight ends

Reed
2015 roster: Logan Paulsen, Jordan Reed.

2016 roster: Reed.

Conclusion: Paulsen could always be re-signed, but regardless the Redskins could use a little more help here in the future. It’s a definite possibility as the Redskins look to bolster their weapons – and guard against Reed’s durability issues.

Defensive line

2015 roster: Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Clifton Geathers, Jason Hatcher, Kedric Golston, Chris Baker, Gabe Miller.

2016 roster: Hatcher, Cofield, Miller, Baker.

Conclusion: Only Hatcher is signed beyond 2016. There’s depth here for the next two seasons, but in 2016 if Hatcher and Cofield are still viable both will be past their prime.

Linebackers

Hayward
2015 roster: Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Adam Hayward, Keenan Robinson, Adrian Robinson, Brandon Jenkins, Will Compton, Jeremy Kimbrough.

2016: Riley, Hayward, Jenkins.

Conclusion: This is one reason the Redskins have looked at a number of outside linebackers during the draft process. Also, thinking long-term, they might not want to pay both Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo big money. But there's also a need to find and develop an inside 'backer, unless they're confident Keenan Robinson could be that guy. Too early to say that's the case given his injury history.

Cornerback

2015 roster: DeAngelo Hall, Tracy Porter, David Amerson, Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, Peyton Thompson.

2016 roster: Hall, Amerson, Thompson.

Conclusion: There’s not an immediate need, but there’s little doubt this position could still be fortified. Also, though Hall is under contract through 2016, where will his game be after the ’15 season? Still, if need be, they could get by with adding a late-round corner this year and seeing if he develops.

Safety

2015 roster: Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo.

2016 roster: Thomas, Rambo.

Conclusion: They need more bodies here. This is not a deep draft for safeties but it would be wise to grab one, especially when you see how it breaks down after this season. There’s a strong need – even if Thomas or Rambo develops into a starter.

Random thoughts: Redskins' schedule

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
8:25
AM ET
Taking another look at the Redskins' schedule and how it should help the Redskins' defense, among other thoughts:
  1. It’s hard to imagine Seattle taking a big step back and probably not San Francisco or Indianapolis. The Colts play in a bad division and the 49ers have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. So let’s assume, barring injury, that all three teams remain among the best.
  2. Beyond that, however, is there a team you can say, for sure right now, will be a playoff team. Philadelphia? I would think so. But its defense still has holes and while the offense should be explosive, does anyone trust Nick Foles just yet? Is it that hard to see the Eagles taking a step back?
  3. The point is, it’s hard to tell from one year to the next who will do what. For proof: The Redskins in 2012; the Redskins in 2013.
  4. Remember how tough that opener looked in 2012 at New Orleans? The Redskins scored 40 points in a win; the Saints struggled for weeks and clearly weren’t the same team without suspended coach Sean Payton. Or this stretch later in the season: Philly; at Dallas on Thanksgiving; Giants; Ravens. The Eagles ended up being horrible and the Redskins won all four. This stretch was why Washington couldn’t get off to a slow start. Well ...
  5. This is why I don't pick records based on who I think they'll beat, but more by what sort of team are they. I was, uh, a bit off last season picking 10-6. Then again, who wasn't off?
  6. And last season, anyone with the Redskins on their schedule had to worry a little bit. Reality? Not so much. The Eagles were supposed to be bad; they weren’t. Atlanta was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. Uh, wrong. Dallas was supposed to be mediocre and Oakland was bad. OK, some of it was right.
  7. Point is, it’s hard to know all the trouble spots with this schedule. Will Arizona be good again (10-6, but missed the playoffs)? I like what Tampa Bay has done, but who will play quarterback? The same question can be asked of Houston, Minnesota, Tennessee and Jacksonville.
  8. The absence of elite quarterbacks, compared to last season, will help the Redskins. But a lot also depends on Foles’ growth and which Eli Manning shows up: Elite and Future Hall of Famer or Overrated Manning Who Throws Interceptions.
  9. Last season, a few teams had quarterback questions, but not like this season. Philadelphia had Michael Vick and though he’s now gone, when the season opened he was clearly the starter. Oakland had questions about its quarterback and Minnesota’s was shaky. But that was it. The other teams had firm starters.
  10. In fact, Washington played eight games in 2013 against quarterbacks who ended up in the top 10 in passer rating – and 11 games against the top 15.
  11. This season? They have seven games against quarterbacks who finished in the top 15. Of course, one who did not? The Colts’ Andrew Luck. But the point is, there’s a big difference in the level of quarterbacks they’re facing. It makes a difference. The Redskins’ defense has plenty of work to do, but facing fewer high-quality quarterbacks will make their task a little easier.
  12. Four of their first nine games are against teams with serious quarterback questions. If the defense does not improve, it’s an even bigger failure than 2013. And they’ll be out of excuses. Of course, the Redskins face six of the top-10 defenses from 2013 (but also six teams who ended up in the bottom five, with two games against both Dallas and Philadelphia). Jacksonville finished low in the standings, but could be improved and be a pesky opponent.
  13. For selfish reasons I’m not a fan, at all, of the Monday night game against Seattle followed by a trip to Arizona. Through a reporter’s eyes: I get home from a Monday night game around 4 a.m., and never quite catch up on sleep. I love Arizona, but a West Coast game means a red-eye flight coming back. I know, you don’t care and you shouldn’t. But now you know – and I still wouldn’t trade this gig for anything.
  14. But even for players that’s a tough one. The Monday night games take a little more out of you and then having to fly four hours a few days later can take a toll.
    It’ll help the Redskins to have a Thursday night game before facing Seattle. But it’s not as if the Seahawks’ defense is all that tricky; they do some things to fool teams, but mostly what they do is execute at a fast pace. They also will play physical with receivers; that’s what works best against Washington’s DeSean Jackson. I love watching this defense. There's also that Richard Sherman-DeAngelo Hall angle plus the Robert Griffin III-Russell Wilson storyline.
  15. The bye week after nine games isn’t bad at all. A midseason break. It worked two years ago for Washington, of course. Regardless of when the bye is, coaches will put a positive spin on the timing. This year the bye breaks up a stretch of four road games out of five.
  16. It’ll now be fun to see what Houston does with that first pick. The Redskins could be facing either Jadeveon Clowney or Johnny Manziel in their home opener.
    It’s always fun when they play Dallas in the season finale, especially if anything is on the line. But it’s not like the Cowboys ever go into that last game needing anything, right?
    And it’s always fun covering a Redskins-Cowboys game on Monday night. But one question the beat reporters face after such a game in Dallas: Do you go to the hotel for an hour’s nap or go right to the airport? The return flights are a bit early. Not a complaint; just reality. Like I said, there’s no other job I’d want.
  17. One more: Here's a good look from Sports Illustrated's Peter King at how the schedules are made.
They’re hardly a new Over the Hill Gang, but they do have a lot of thirtysomethings on their roster. Which can be viewed in multiple ways: A) They didn’t get younger after a season in which they went 3-13 and needed to rebuild, at least defensively; B) A lot of teams ahead of them in this ranking are quite successful; with age comes experience and savvy.

September will be when we’ll start to see which way the Redskins go. But, for now, we’ll just take a look at their players who are at least 30 years old. Washington is tied for eighth in the NFL with nine such players, according to ESPN's Field Yates. Oakland leads the way with 13, and you never want to be in Oakland’s company, but among the other teams ahead of Washington: San Francisco (12), New Orleans (11) and San Diego (10). All made the postseason. Arizona (10) went 10-6; Chicago (12) and Pittsburgh (10) both went 8-8.

But at the other end: Super Bowl champion Seattle has three such players while AFC champion Denver has six.

So what does it mean? Your players over 30 had better produce. Seven of their nine thirtysomethings play defense; four play along the line. Is it good that a defense coming off a tough season has that many older players? The Redskins appear to have taken a win-now approach with the hope of finding young guys in the draft to groom. That’s fine, but it had better work, otherwise they’ll just be old and slow.

Another note: The Redskins have four players who are 29 (three on offense, all linemen). Their offensive nucleus is young and can help now and in the future. But elsewhere the roster will be in transition for a couple years.

Anyway, here’s the Redskins' thirtysomethings:

Moss
WR Santana Moss (34): He’s not a lock to make the roster and if he does it’ll be as a backup, barring injuries. If Leonard Hankerson is healthy Moss would have to be sixth on the list at receiver (also behind Aldrick Robinson). At this point Moss is insurance.

S Ryan Clark (34): Pittsburgh felt he had lost a step and opted for a younger player in Mike Mitchell. The Redskins did not want to overpay at this position and valued Clark's experience. He’ll be the defensive leader, or should be. And if the younger players pay attention, they’ll improve.

DL Jason Hatcher (31): Coming off his best season and expected to help the pass rush. He did not look like a player slowing down last season. The Redskins worked his contract so that he could be cut after two years and they’d gain cap relief. A wise move. But he should help.

G Chris Chester (31): Not coming off his best season, but in 2012 he was steady and viewed as a smart player. The Redskins wanted to upgrade their interior and he’s still around, at a higher cap figure, too, so they still value him. But he must play better this season. They have young backup guards; are any ready to challenge him? After three years, one of them should be ready. If not ...

Meriweather
S Brandon Meriweather (30): Signed back on a one-year deal. With Clark here, he’ll be able to play more in the box, where he’s best suited. But he needs to improve his consistency with tackling and positioning. Maybe a year further removed from knee surgery will help, too. But his troubles didn't all stem from being slow or late. Had Phillip Thomas not been hurt last summer, Meriweather might not have returned. But he was hurt, so the alternative was to re-sign Meriweather or find another player in free agency. They did not view the non-expensive options as better. As for Thomas, Lisfranc injuries can be tricky, so it’s tough to know how he'll look this summer.

CB DeAngelo Hall (30): Did play well last season, earning a new contract, and has matured. Played better in press coverage. When corners start to go downhill, it can happen fast. It’s hard to see that happening this year.

DL Kedric Golston (30): Valuable and inexpensive backup; prepares and works hard. Good special-teamer, too. Tough to let guys like that go. At some point you need young legs coming off the bench, especially with an experienced (aging) group of starters. But Golston can still help.

Cofield
DL Barry Cofield (30): Still agile, quick and capable of being a quality starter. Hatcher’s presence in nickel situations should result in more one-on-one matchups. He’s taken a pounding the last couple years, but it’s reasonable to expect him to play at a solid level this season and even next.

DL Stephen Bowen (30): It’s tough for players when they hit this age and are coming off microfracture surgery. Heck, it’s tough for any player coming off that surgery. He’s still in their plans, but his cap number ($7.02 million) makes him a candidate for some sort of restructuring – or a release and re-sign. I have not heard they’re going to do so, but it’s logical to wonder. Just like it’s logical to wonder what he’ll be able to do. When healthy he can still help against the run, but he has not provided the needed pass rush since 2011.
The Washington Redskins' defense is optimistic about where it's headed, thanks to the addition of Jason Hatcher and a tweaked philosophy regarding the pass rush. Whether their play matches that optimism always remains the biggest hurdle. What's not in doubt: They will have two players among the most expensive at their positions when it comes to the salary cap. The fact both are in their front seven isn't a coincidence as the Redskins' offseason goal has been to improve the pass rush. So, after breaking down where the Redskins' top cap hits at each position offensively stood in comparison to their NFL counterparts earlier this week, it's time to take a look at the defense.

Safety

NFL's top five cap hits
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs $11,619,700
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers, $10,100,000
Antrel Rolle, New York Giants, $9,250,000
Dashon Goldson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $9,000,000
Michael Griffin, Tennessee Titans, $8,000,000

Meriweather
Redskins' top cap hit
Brandon Meriweather (59th), $1,000,000

Summing it up: Notice who’s not in the top five? Jairus Byrd, after his new deal with New Orleans. But don’t worry: He’s set to take up the most cap room in 2015 at $10.3 million. I like Byrd, but not at that figure (I’d have paid Sean Taylor that sort of cash). But Byrd was never really a legitimate option for the Redskins. Mike Mitchell was and he’ll count $2.2 million this season and $4.95 million in 2015. But the overriding point is Washington views the best way to help this position is by bolstering the pass rush. Starters Meriweather and Ryan Clark both are on one-year contracts, so this position is still a question mark beyond this season (and still will be one entering the year).

Corner

NFL's top five cap hits
Brandon Carr, Dallas, $12,217,000
Johnathan Joseph, Houston, $11,250,000
Lardarius Webb, Baltimore, $10,500,000
Brandon Flowers, Kansas City, $10,500,000
Tramon Williams, Green Bay, $9,500,000

Porter
Redskins' top cap hit
Tracy Porter (43rd), $2,800,000

Summing it up: Next season, Darrelle Revis' cap hit jumps to $25 million. Which means he’s playing on a one-year deal. Is it a good thing the Redskins’ biggest cap hit here belongs to Porter, who has battled injury issues along with consistency during his career? Of course, it’s not like he occupies a lot of space. DeAngelo Hall's cap hit is $2,062,500 but that jumps to $4,812,500 in 2015. By then the Redskins need young corner David Amerson to have fully emerged -- can he become their best corner? If not, then they’ll have to start looking for a No. 1 corner. By the way, the top five on the list for 2014? They’ve combined for four Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro spot (Joseph). But Carr did do a good job vs. Washington last year in the first game but not the second (and in at least one game against then-Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson).

Linebacker

NFL's top five cap hits
Lawrence Timmons, $11,816,250
Tamba Hali, Kansas City, $11,464,706
Brian Orakpo, Washington, $11,455,000
Clay Matthews, Green Bay, $10,943,750
James Laurinaitis, St. Louis, $10,400,000

Orakpo
Redskins' top cap hit
Orakpo

Summing it up: That’s quite a list for Orakpo to be part of, but to stay on there after this season -- at least in Washington -- he’ll have to be a little more productive. But even if he has another season like last year, Orakpo will still be in the $10-million range. When Hali got paid, he responded with sack totals of 12, nine and 11 in the next three seasons (with nine forced fumbles and one interception). I don’t think anyone says Hali's overpaid (well, at least not many). In Orakpo’s last three full seasons, he has a combined 27.5 sacks, but only four forced fumbles. More game-changing plays and he’ll get the contract he desires. Another interesting part on this is that two of the five are inside linebackers, though Timmons plays in a 3-4 and Laurinaitis in a 4-3.

Defensive tackle

NFL's top five cap hits
Ndamukong Suh, Detroit, $22,412,000
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore, $16,000,000
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay, $15,627,253
Geno Atkins, Cincinnati, $9,000,000
Barry Cofield, Washington, $7,667,500

Cofield
Redskins' top cap hit
Cofield

Summing it up: Cofield’s base salary jumped from $840,000 last season to $4.55 million (the lower figure was the result of a restructuring last spring in which $3.5 million in base salary was converted to a signing bonus). This is as high as Cofield’s cap number will be and in two years it falls to $6,877,500. I know the coaches felt he would become the NFL’s top nose tackle by this time. That’s not the case, but Cofield does have his strengths and has done a nice job with Washington. For a short stretch last season he was playing as well as anyone on the team defensively, and he always plays hard. He’ll be helped by having Hatcher in the pass rush, perhaps giving Cofield more one-on-one matchups. If that happens, then perhaps Cofield will have the sort of season in all phases that coaches have hoped for.

Defensive end

NFL's top five cap hits
Mario Williams, Buffalo, $18,800,000
Charles Johnson, Carolina, $16,420,000
Chris Long, St. Louis, $14,900,000
Greg Hardy, Carolina, $13,116,000
Calais Campbell , Arizona, $11,250,000

Bowen
Redskins' top cap hit
Stephen Bowen (15th), $7,020,000

Summing it up: All of the top five on this list play in a 4-3, where ends can excel as playmakers and, therefore, command big bucks. The 3-4 ends, typically, are not -- with some exceptions. Bowen has not been a playmaker, though for a while he was an effective player both against the run and as a rusher. However, he has just one sack since the 2011 season (26 games). And after microfracture surgery and being 30, I wonder about the level at which he’ll be able to play. Multiple Redskins sources said they still expect him to be in the Redskins' plans, but will it be at this cap figure? That's a big hit for someone in his situation. If Bowen returns healthy and plays well, the Redskins will greatly benefit. If not? That's a lot of cap room to occupy. One more note: Johnson and Hardy combine for approximately 23 percent of Carolina's cap.
In the fifth part of our re-examining series, I take a look at cornerback where the Redskins made a couple moves, though only one key addition. Already this week I've discussed safeties, the pass rush, receivers and the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeDeAngelo Hall
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliDeAngelo Hall is back for his seventh season in Washington.
What they’ve done: Re-signed DeAngelo Hall, re-signed E.J. Biggers, signed Tracy Porter, let Josh Wilson leave via free agency.


Problem solved: Tough to say that considering it’s largely the same group that’s returning. But the corner play wasn’t nearly the same issue as safety. Porter is coming off a solid year and should be improved over Wilson in the slot in coverage. Amerson’s progression will be a big key here. Hall isn’t going to get better but if he duplicates last season they’d be happy; Biggers is fine as a fourth corner. They still could use one more corner to compete with Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford. Overall this group still has a lot to prove.

Projected starters: Hall and Amerson with Porter in the slot.

What must happen: Amerson must be able to handle a starting role after serving as the No. 3 corner during his rookie season. Amerson definitely improved throughout the year, cutting down on his mental lapses in coverage. He was better with his eyes throughout the play later in the year. He learned to play press coverage last season, which should be a good tactic for him because of his long arms. He needs to show consistency and prove he can handle consistently tougher assignments as a starter (though it’s not as if he only played lesser receivers; he did a good job vs. Denver’s Eric Decker, for example). Amerson will have to show he can handle run game duties, too.

Porter has to play at a comparable level to 2013 -- I know what some rankings say about him, but those who watched him every game and in practice called him the Raiders' most consistent corner. In the games I watched of him this offseason (Indianapolis, Denver and Dallas), he was solid. He showed good patience in the slot while facing receivers such as Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker and Miles Austin (and occasionally Eric Decker or even Dez Bryant, who was a mismatch inside against him). When Porter allowed bigger catches, it typically came off an excellent move and good throw because he still had tight coverage. He’s willing to play the run, but Wilson was stronger in this area. And Porter showed he could blitz from the slot. Porter’s previous seasons weren't that strong, which is why he’s on his fourth team in four years. Injuries have been an issue in his career; last season was his first playing 16 games and only his second of more than 12. So staying healthy is a big key. Hall needs to maintain the same level of intensity he showed in 2013 when facing many top receivers. He played well and was most effective in press coverage. Hall also turns 31 this season and he was not as consistent in other coverages.

Address in the draft: Sure, but not until the later rounds. It would be a waste to select a corner in the second round knowing they would serve as a No. 4 at best. It’s not like, say, outside linebacker where they’d be used in packages to bolster the pass rush. What if the corner is by far their best on the board? OK. But short of that, they can address the position later in the draft and try to develop the player. They need depth right now, not starters (you can debate the quality of them; but they’re invested and it’s not a need). Next year? Different story. Minnifield and Crawford still have something to prove; the former spent most of the year on the practice squad and the latter missed all season with multiple torn ligaments. It’s asking a lot to expect him to be at the same level he was entering camp last summer. When he entered camp he and the coaches felt good about how he had improved in the slot. The feisty Minnifield has to show he can be effective in more coverages than just press.

Last word: This group will definitely be helped by increased quarterback pressure. Too often last season the coverages didn’t seem to match the rush, for whatever reason. And when they’d play zone, that’s when they’d get into trouble. They’re not good enough to just play press man all day. Few corners are so they must be able to play a variety of coverages. But if you know the pressure will get home, then you can play tighter even in zones. If safety Ryan Clark has anything left, he’ll also help in two ways: making sure everyone is lined up right (sounds little, but it’s not) and providing trust that he’ll be where he’s supposed to, allowing the corners to play accordingly. It matters.
When you take a look at the Redskins’ salary-cap breakdown defensively, it becomes clear – if it wasn’t already. They’re spending a lot more on their front seven, compared to the NFL average, than the back four. That means they’d best hope that an improved pass rush compensates for what they couldn’t add in the secondary.

For the record, Washington has approximately $2.8 million of salary-cap space remaining, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Anyway, here’s a defensive breakdown by position (and click here for the offensive breakdown) with numbers courtesy of the ESPN Stats & Information gang:

Defensive line

Number on roster: 11
Total percentage of cap space: 20.57
Total cap value: $26,516,642
NFL average: $21,632,204
Biggest cap hit: Barry Cofield ($7,667,500).
Underpaid: Tough to say anyone is here, though if Jason Hatcher produces, then his $3.75 million cap hit will be a huge bargain. Jarvis Jenkins has a $1.5 million cap hit, which is below average for an NFL defensive lineman. Chris Baker will have a higher cap figure this season ($2 million). But I wrestle with calling Jenkins underpaid; I’d like to see more plays.
Looking to the future: Jenkins and Chris Neild are free agents after this season. But if Baker and/or Clifton Geathers show they can be more than part-time players then it gives the Redskins option should they let Jenkins walk. Stephen Bowen has a $7.02 million cap hit this season and it jumps by another million in 2015. I can’t imagine he plays at those numbers, not coming off microfracture surgery. But if he does play at that figure this season, the Redskins – if they want – could release him next offseason and get a $5.5 million cap savings. Multiple people in the organization have said Bowen remains in the plans for 2014.

Linebacker

Number on roster: 12
Total percentage of cap space: 18.5
Total cap value: $23,901,881
NFL average: $15,201,455
Biggest cap hit: Brian Orakpo ($11,455,000)
Underpaid: Ryan Kerrigan will count $2.8 million against the cap, a much lower sum than he’ll soon receive. If Akeem Jordan wins the starting inside linebacker job next to Perry Riley, then you could consider him underpaid as he’ll only count $635,000 against the cap and also would be a big help on special teams.
Looking to the future: Kerrigan is in the last year of his rookie contract, but the Redskins have until May 3 to decide whether to extend it by one year (at an average fourth through 25th highest-paid players at his position). Jordan, Rob Jackson and Darryl Sharpton all signed one-year deals this offseason. If the Redskins don't draft an inside linebacker, they have to hope Keenan Robinson stays healthy and shows why teammates have praised his talent since his arrival.

Cornerback

Number on roster: 7
Total percentage of cap space: 6.1
Total cap value: $7,873,638
NFL average: $12,316,626
Biggest cap hit: Tracy Porter ($2,800,000)
Underpaid: DeAngelo Hall is coming off his best season in Washington and will count only $2.1 million against the cap – 55 corners will occupy more cap space.
Looking to the future: E.J. Biggers is the only corner who will be a free agent after this season. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft someone else, in case Hall’s play slips that much or Porter doesn’t help or just to add depth. Richard Crawford still has to prove his knee is sound and that he’ll continue improving. Same with Chase Minnifield.


Safety

Number on roster: 7
Total percentage of cap space: 2.91
Total cap value: $3,746,719
NFL average: $8,237,006
Biggest cap hit: Brandon Meriweather ($1 million)
Underpaid: No one here is underpaid, though if Ryan Clark can coax out another good year and help groom some young safeties, then his $635,000 cap hit will qualify. But they also have to have young safeties worth grooming.
Looking to the future: Meriweather and Clark have one-year deals, which means the Redskins could well be in the same position next offseason in looking for starting safeties. Of course, they could still draft one (I would) and hope that between the rookie and the two young holdovers from last year, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, that they’ll find one starter and then only need to find one more. Thomas must prove that he’s not only healthy but can move as he did before the Lisfranc injury. Rambo has to earn a job this year. Neither holdover is a given to be a starter – in 2014 or beyond.

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