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Need to Know: The top five free agents the Redskins could sign

Feb 27, 2014, 4:44 AM EDT

NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 27, 12 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Here are the top five free agents from Evan Silva’s list of the top 150 free agents he recently published on Rotoworld who I think have a legitimate chance of signing with the Redskins. Note that these are necessarily the top five needs, just the best players on the list I think the Redskins will be interested in and who should be in their price range. And I’m not considering the team’s own free agents.

26. (in Silva’s ranking) DL Arthur Jones, BAL—Silva calls him a “classic five-technique 3-4 end”, which is exactly where the Redskins need help. Jones has a total of 8.5 sacks the last two years so he checks the pass pressure box as well.

31. G Geoff Schwartz, KC—He can play either guard spot or even right tackle but he’s best suited to playing right guard. That would be fine with the Redskins who could use some of his power blocking, mauling style. And at 6-6, 340 the era of the smaller, finesse O-line in Washington would be over with his arrival.

47. ILB Brandon Spikes, NE—He had a nagging knee issue last year but he should be good to go. Spikes is only a two-down player and the Redskins prefer their inside backers to play every down but they may have to settle and substitute.

49. FS Chris Clemons, MIA—Not a classic ball hawk with just four interceptions in 72 career games. But he is a solid last line of defense as one of the better coverage safeties in the game.

92. SS Mike Mitchell, CAR—Silva notes that Mitchell had a breakout season last season, his fifth in the NFL, “setting career highs in starts (14), tackles (66), sacks (3.5), pass breakups (8), interceptions (4), and forced fumbles (2).” And he hits hard.

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Timeline

—It’s been 60 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 192 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Free agency starts 12; Offseason workouts start 39; NFL Draft 70

In case you missed it

  1. shermanp79 - Feb 27, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    I like a few and think I would stay away from Spikes I would prefer a 3 down guy. Even if we have to draft one. Clemons is solid and I guess if you couldn’t get a guy with some picks. Then OK. The more I think about the S position, I think I like drafting one isn’t a bad idea. I think Thomas can be good and Rambo has some learning to do. Who knows he was in Shanahan’s Doghouse so maybe with the renewed energy at HQ’s maybe he matures Nothing brings out your best is to have to fight for your job. I wanted to sign FAs and wait to draft one next year when have a 1st rd pick. The other thing is Defenses are using 3 S now so if they all were great….good for us. I like I like Swartz and Mitchell. I also like Jones they all are young guys . I think they definitely upgrade their positions. With Jones and Baker at Ends we can Draft a BIG NT. Even if he is only good towards the run right now it would be ok. Baker could move to NT on 3rd downs. I want guys that can do certain thing. We then can have a good rotation. We need to get bigger. I guess with that theory Spikes would fit. He is a run stopper but IDK just something about him I just prefer a different guy. He has chance to be an issue. He has been bottled up in ME does he just let it all out. The main reason is we haven’t had luck with Patriot guys neither has the league If they let them walk, it’s probably for good reason. Unless its money or Bill being angry at the guy..

    • jaxjoe - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      My issue with drafting a Strong Safety with intention to start is we would effectively be placing to rookies on the field as Phillip Thomas hasn’t played snap in regular season yet. We would likely need to sign a vet strong safety to pair with Thomas. Or, as insurance, we would more likely need to sign two starting-caliber veteran safeties. Plus, this draft is woeful with respect to strong safeties, much less ‘starting year one’ strong safeties.

      • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        My issues with our safeties is people say they cant tackle and arent fast enough to play nickelback (I know usually a CB), so where do we put RAMBO on the bench or do we cut him.

        • jaxjoe - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:57 PM

          I’m hopeful Phil Thomas can start at FS and be productive. He’s fast and he’s a ball-hawk. But Rambo is a poor tackler and takes bad angles. Fixable? I doubt it for this season. Heck, he was a poor tackler in college as well. I think we have to go vet for a Strong Safety as a stop-gap this year. Dare I say, Merriweather. But who do we have to groom for the future at strong? Or, even as a competent back up? IDK. Big weakness. Hopefully we can improve our pass rush to mask this weakness.

  2. jaxjoe - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Another good article I was looking forward to reading. Do you sleep, Rich? Another receiver I’d kick the tires on is Riley Cooper. Not a very high Catch Rate (Football Outsiders) but a reliable red-zone threat. He’s not a No. 1 receiver in this league but could be that element to get us over the hump in improving on 3rd down conversions and red zone touchdown production.

    • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      Doubt the eagles let him go.I

      • jaxjoe - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        I agree… but there isn’t a ton of FA wide receivers out there that fit our needs. Plenty in the draft but I doubt we would get much production out of a 2nd or 3rd round pick for this season.

  3. internetcareer - Feb 27, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    Jones from Baltimore might be a good replacement for Bowen. Chris Baker is the Skins best defensive end right now, and Cofield needs to be a defensive end. What you left off this list was the best Nose Tackle option for the Skins because that is their number ONE need on the defensive line. Unless Bowen is placed at NT the Redskins do not have one, and have never had one…in the most important position in a 3-4 defense. Simply Baffling!!!!

    Clemons is a pretty good choice for Free safety and would be a good signing. Mitchell at strong safety is not an upgrade since Meriweather posted more tackles. That would be about an even steven trade off unless Haslett just doesn’t like Meriweather.

    Spikes was a high draft pick and might be the next London Fletcher for the Skins. and then again might not. But they better focus on Perry Riley first cause he is a beast.

    • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      Yea and people told me I was crazy for suggesting a 4-3 def. If Kerr or Rak had thier hand in the dirt and were rushing the passer two out of three downs, in a 4-3, i dont sound so crazy anymore. Hey lets think of all the packages that could be put together with Jarvis, Coefield, Baker and RAK/KERR. Just saying, use the talent we have and expand with someone like Spikes, and dont over pay for him or Perry. If were not gonna utilize players like Jenkins and R. Jackson who could play outside LB in a 4-3 then what are we developing.

      • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Lets not forget Keenan Robinson in his thrid yr should be expected to atleast be in a rotation as well.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 27, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Gonna say this one last time. JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE A LINEBACKER DOESN”T MEAN THEY CAN PLAY THAT POSITION IN ANY SYSTEM. OLB in a 4-3 is a totally different skill set than a OLB in a 3-4. Just because a guy is a OLB in a 3-4 doesn’t mean they can play the position in a 4-3 Jackson can’t play OLB in a 4-3 He’s too big him and Jenkins would have to move to DE which Jenkins played in college. OLBs in the 3-4 are essentially your pass rushers like DEs in a 4-3 that’s why they convert 4-3 DEs to play OLB in a 3-4. If you switch to a 4-3 you have to replace your whole LB group. LBs in a 4-3 are used for coverage and run support.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 27, 2014 at 12:04 PM

          Jackson can drop back and cover the flat in a zone but he cant cover 1 on 1 with a TE or RB which a OLB has to do in a 4-3

        • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM

          Ive also been told that rob Jackson is too tall to play ILB but hes only an inch taller than K. Robinson ( a 3rd round ILB), were splitting hairs that dont need to be split. But hey im no scout or GM.

        • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

          Where is our KEY NT. The main cog of a 3-4. Thats all im saying. Is it TRUITT from ND, because its def not Coefield, hes soft.

        • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

          Where is our KEY NT. The main cog of a 3-4. Thats all im saying. Is it TRUITT from ND, because its def not Coefield, hes soft.

        • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

          Where is our KEY NT. The main cog of a 3-4. Thats all im saying. Is it TRUITT from ND, because its def not Coefield, hes soft.

        • Rich Tandler - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:07 PM

          Cofield is the nose tackle. Just get used to it. Its a passing league, the old fat boy NT is going the way of the slow, in the box safety.

          > >

  4. captblood3000 - Feb 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    I’d also look at WR, Jeremy Maclin and Julian Edelman appear in the 30s in that list.

    I’ve been playing with one of those draft simulators (I know, buyer beware!) and I keep getting defensive tackles as best players available when the Redskins pick in rounds 2 through 4. If that’s where the most value is in the draft (a big if, of course) I see one or two rookies in the defensive line mix along with a free agent signing.

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Looks like Al Davis knew what he was doing when he Drafted Mike Mitchell. I remember everyone bashing him for it. I wouldn’t mind signing him

  6. manchild157 - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Love to see them get Schwartz, just the kind of player that I like and think we need, for all the reasons you stated.

  7. stoptrippn - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    Gruden loves Taylor mays. He thinks he got jacked around by Zimmmer

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