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Need to Know: What is the Redskins biggest need after free agency?

Apr 9, 2015, 5:49 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 9, 21 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

I’m going to give you an answer that will surprise you. I think their biggest need in the draft is the one that just addressed via a trade.

The Redskins desperately need to find a free safety in the draft.

Dashon Goldson, just obtained by the Redskins for a swap of draft picks and $4 million in cap space, is a one-year patch at the free safety spot at best. He’ll be 31 by the time Week 2 of the upcoming season rolls around and his play has been in a steep decline the last two years. Even if he bounces back and plays well this season the Redskins will need a replacement sooner rather than later.

In fact, there is a pretty good chance that they will need someone who can line up at free safety at some point this year. Goldson missed three games in 2013 and two last season so there needs to be a capable backup ready.

The Redskins have the option to keep him for the next two years but the salaries are steep, $7.5 million in 2016 and $6.75 million in 2017. It’s safe to say that it’s unlikely that he will be around beyond 2015.

The Redskins need to do some succession planning and get Goldson’s replacement in house sooner rather than later. Or they will be doing the same one-year rental on an aging and declining safety, like they did last year with Ryan Clark, in 2012 with Madieu Williams and in 2011 with O.J. Atogwe.

This draft is thin at safety but Jay Gruden has talked about the possibility of drafting a corner and converting him to safety. There are several possibilities here. You can take a closer look at two of them that I’ve covered in the Draft Countdown series here, Eric Rowe of Utah and Byron Jones of Connecticut.

There are many other areas where an upgrade would be welcome. But given the situation with the last line of defense, free safety has top priority.

Timeline

—It’s been 102 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 157 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 11; 2015 NFL Draft 21; Redskins training camp starts 112

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Apr 9, 2015 at 6:39 AM

    I am with you. Free Safety and in addition, stability at the QB position.

    • abanig - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Stability at QB won’t be found in this draft, better to continue to build the rest of the team. If Griffin & Kirk don’t take the next steps this year, draft a QB in round 1 next year

    • jtaylor68 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:13 AM

      Durrell Eskridge in the 4th – 5th rounds and let him develop&back-up Goldson.

  2. Stephfan - Apr 9, 2015 at 7:22 AM

    I agree with saftey but I also think dline is also a good area to go with. I don’t think it’s a must be we should try and find someone to replace hacther after this season.

    • sidepull - Apr 9, 2015 at 7:37 AM

      Might be replacing Knighton too if he plays well, or the squad lays so poorly he just wants out and wants to test FA. I am still not sold on the fact the Skins shouldn’t draft a talent like Shelton.

      • redskinscaio - Apr 9, 2015 at 10:23 AM

        I’ve contemplated the move of drafting Shelton, and trading Knighton for a free safety…

        • captblood3000 - Apr 9, 2015 at 5:47 PM

          You can’t do either. The chances that McCloughan will do them are slim and none, respectively.

    • unklewheez - Apr 9, 2015 at 7:45 AM

      I agree Stephfan, I am hoping Williams falls to us or we trade down and get Sheldon. Get a safety in the draft, a blocking TE, and a rb that can pass protect. Gotta hope Moses and Long can step up next year. Oh can’t forget we need a return man.

      • Stephfan - Apr 9, 2015 at 8:03 AM

        To me pass rushers are plentiful in this draft. I would love for them to trade down and get Shelton. If Williams falls that’s great too just as long as it’s not Marcus. I hope they stay far from him. If they plan on tailoring the offense to griffin then keep griffin. That’s what gruden should’ve done in the first place. And if they do that I wouldn’t mind us getting white or cooper. And if that happens I think garçon stays and Jackson leaves

      • abanig - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        That’d be awesome

    • Skulb - Apr 10, 2015 at 8:17 PM

      I was under the impression that the d-line underperformed quite dramatically last season, with the exception of Kerrigan. There was so much talent there that failed to live up and you have to expect some improvement there even without reinforcements. The real problem on defense has to be the secondary, which was up and down like a yoyo last year. After Hall got injured there wasn`t a single consistent performer in the secondary as far as I can remember. Well i guess a couple were consistently bad but you get what I mean.

  3. troylok - Apr 9, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    That answer didn’t surprise us, Rich. Unfortunately that position has been at the top of our list for a long time.

  4. tralfaz10 - Apr 9, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    I think we have to address OL later in the draft. The rest of our team is being revamped with quality players. However, the “Trent and the turnstiles” offensive line will leave our offense sputtering. We have great skill position players but no OL other than Williams. That is my #1 concern. Just tired of 3 and outs. We need points!

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    FS is a specific need, but we need more talent on the team generally.

    I’m glad McGlue is committed to BPA.
    ~

  6. bk70 - Apr 9, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Rich, your answer is no surprise. I completely agree. After seeing the free agency signings, we must go into the draft and take the best players available and build for the future.

    As far as free safety, why not invest in Cody Prewitt- Ole Miss or Kurtis Drummond-Michigan State. He won’t need to start in 2015 but work the way into the defense and let the DC get a feel for what they have for DB’s.
    As far as the first draft pick, Danny Shelton- Washington still stands out. There are plenty of pass rushers available.
    Good selections available for OT and OG beyond the early rounds also.

    Is it just me, but shouldn’t any player drafted in the first 40 picks be selected with the intent to become a starter in 2015?

  7. timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Offensive Line, Offensive Line, Offensive Line, Offensive Line. This is an area that has bin killing our Offense and inturn hurts the Defense because they get no rest. When the opposing team gets pressure on your QB in 2 seconds or less on 1/2 of his Drop Backs and pressure gets to him in 2.5 seconds or less on 3/4 of his Drop Backs there is a major problem with your Oline. In fact when the most time your QB gets before he gets pressured is 2.8 seconds and that is only 1/5 of the Drop Backs and 1/4 he has to scramble because no one is open that doesn’t leave a lot of plays to work with. Especially when the opposing team is getting pressure with only 3 or 4 guys. The Coach can call plays to cover up the bad Pass Blocking to give our QBs more time to throw by calling Bootlegs, Shotgun, Read Option, Pistol Formations, Play Action, and Run the ball more. This will help but a major upgrade is needed at LG,C,RG,RT.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      When the opposing team gets pressure on your QB in 2 seconds or less on 1/2 of his Drop Backs

      Do you have a link for that?
      ~

      • Rich Tandler - Apr 9, 2015 at 10:28 AM

        Yeah. The three-man pressure thing, too.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:30 PM

          The 3 guys getting pressure during games I saw a couple times this year which I thought was sad. I saw allot of 4 man rushes that broke threw.

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:37 PM

          Oh.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:27 PM

        Ya I got this off of Pro Football Focus QB time to throw give me a minute

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:38 PM

          Interested in seeing what you’re looking at because what I’m seeing on PFF is a QB who had more time to throw than the average NFL QB did.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:47 PM

          Rich Im not looking at time to throw Im looking at time to pressure because the QB running around avoiding a sack is included in the time to throw Im looking at the Olines Pass Blocking which would be reflected by the time till pressure

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:49 PM

          Rich look at the time till pressure and the amount of drop backs per time and you may very well see what I’ve bin talking about with this oline

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:54 PM

          I’m looking at 2.94 seconds average time to throw. Only four QB’s had more time to throw. It’s right here, I believe it’s premium content.

          https://www.profootballfocus.com/data/signature.php?tab=signature&season=2014&pos=qbt&teamid=-1&filter=25&conf=-1&yr=-1&wk=1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17

          Griffin had more time than Rodgers, Romo, Luck, Rivers, and Stafford, among many others. Either explain to me how that translates to his O-line killing his chances for success or get off of your tedious horse on this.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 1:27 PM

          Rich check out the time to pressure that reflects on the Oline a mobile QB will have a higher time to throw because they can avoid the sack longer.Plus how does that timecompare to drop backs for that highest time? What percent of his drop backs were at that time

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 9, 2015 at 1:32 PM

          Do you have a link to what you’re talking about or not? Was looking for it and found this:

          https://www.profootballfocus.com/data/signature.php?tab=signature&season=2014&pos=olp&teamid=-1&filter=&conf=-1&yr=&wk=1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17

          Showing the Redskins ranked 12th in pass blocking efficiency. Better than the Lions, Colts, Saints just to name a few teams that have good to excellent quarterbacks.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM

          Rich check your Facebook it wont let me post it on here Im using a cell phone. I gotta go to work I will check back and respond tonite

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 9, 2015 at 2:56 PM

          Rich I wish you would give us the Time Till Pressure with the amount of Drop Backs. That will show how good the Oline is. The Time To Throw includes the QB scrambling so a Mobile QBs nubers will be better than a statue

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2015 at 5:40 PM

          Timwill, RGIII has a knack for moving into pressure when he’s in the pocket. Thus actually making things worse than less mobile QBs who have any pocket presence at all.

          Agreed, our o-line isn’t good. It’s an aging ZBS line with some bandaids*, save for TWill.

          But that is not an excuse for RGIII, you’re going to have to face reality. RGIII has to get better, or he is going to get released.

          * Discount brand bandaids at that. I’m still not seeing the point of Lauvao. Right tackle, same lousy stuff, new year. But these are not RGIII’s main problems. His main problems:

          Stares down his primary receiver.
          Waits until his receiver is open before throwing, rather than anticipating that guy getting open.
          Has no pocket presence, moves into trouble.
          Holds the ball too long.
          ~

    • Skulb - Apr 10, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      But you just think this without any stats to back it up. It is annoyingly hard to find some NFL stats but the best research I have been able to find places the Redskins clearly in the upper half of the league in time given by the O-line to the passer. The O-line just isn`t bad. It`s average to moderately good and this whole thing is a myth if you go by the stats. Somehow it`s easier to just blame the line I guess but I can not find any evidence supporting this anywhere.
      As Rich points out below the pocket collapse times and time to pressure times for the Redskins just aren`t all that bad. What is bad is the average time to pass numbers of Griffin. He would probably be fine behind the Seahwaks O-line (In fact Wilson is very slow too) but that`s about it. He needs to get faster or he needs to not be playing QB on the Redskins. You can draft all the offensive linemen you want and it isn`t gonna make a lick of difference when the QB needs six seconds to get the ball out. I keep coming back to this blog: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/greg-cosell-s-film-review–robert-griffin-iii-s-issues-214738329.html
      You just cannot play like this as a QB and expect to win anything. And you also can`t blame the O-line for this stuff.
      The second problem with your The O-line Sucks Mantra there is that about 40% to one half of the sacks last season didn`t come from poor play on the line but from missed defensive assignments by the backs and TEs. How many times have you heard Alfred Morris being dissected in the media for allowing the uncontested blindside sack on McCoy against St Louis? He totally missed his guy and McCoy got hammered in about 1,8 seconds off snap and never even had a chance. Where are the calls to replace him for his apparent inability to block defenders?

    • greg pett - Apr 21, 2015 at 9:45 PM

      Build ur team from the trenches,u can have Trent dilfer behind center n as long as he has time to throw ,u will b successful, d line eating up the front demanding double teams with linebackers free to roam,y in the world has teams not realized this,so sick of our team goin after the sexy picks,look at big d,finally getting it right,line line line ,can’t say it enough httr

  8. bharris757 - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    Oline . Oline . Oline . Oline . And again Oline . Doesn’t matter who we have back there it showed all last season our Oline is by far the weakest link on the team as to date .. Please address this need I hate to say it but look at the cowgirls they did it now they set for years .. We haven’t had a beast line since the hogs .. It’s well past due !!!

    • abanig - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:39 AM

      We do have some young Olinemen to develop, 4 to be exact. Doesn’t it make sense to develop those guys before spending all our top picks in OL?

      Last time I checked, most of the hogs were mid round picks, late round picks or undrafted. I’d like to see Callhan do a better job of developing Compton, LeRibeus, Long and Moses than Forester did the previous few seasons.

      • ET - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:48 PM

        It’s make-or-break time for LeRib. He’s been massively underwhelming.

        I’m curious to see whether Tyler Larsen develops under Callahan’s watch. Larsen seems to have a lot of potential. A smart pickup.

        • brucefan1 - Apr 9, 2015 at 1:32 PM

          “Massively” may be the key word in Josh’s case.

  9. abanig - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    1. OL
    2. LB depth
    3. Young FS to develop
    4. Blocking TE
    5. RB depth
    6. WR depth

    • bk70 - Apr 9, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      7. QB future_Practice Squad development

      • jtaylor68 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Connor Halliday in the 7th. Reminds me of Tom Brady when he was a rookie coming out, just watch his game tape.

        • bk70 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:31 AM

          Isn’t he too light in weight for the NFL?

        • jtaylor68 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:48 AM

          Nothing that a few buffets and some work in the weight room could fix.

      • brucefan1 - Apr 9, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        I’m not sure that I’m seeing where you going with this choice, bk. Please help me out.

        Are you saying the Skins should take a QB late to have on the practice squad in case of emergencies (but I doubt you mean that, because they could prolly get an undrafted guy afterwards, or sign a vet FA on the cheap for that role and not waste a pick.)

        Or do you envision stashing a late-rounder on the practice squad and developing him into a serviceable QB for the future? (More probable … but I can’t recall any decent QB on an NFL roster who was developed in that way. Who am I forgetting?)

        Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • jtaylor68 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      I’m with you, If only we had say………14 picks.

    • ET - Apr 9, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      LB depth: I agree, this is vital.

      We’ve been hearing a lot about the OLB options, which is fine, but not nearly enough about ILB. We’re dangerously thin on the inside given Keenan’s injury history and the mediocre talent beside / behind him.

  10. cowboyhater - Apr 9, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    Rich hit the nail on the head…I actually made those same comments about Dashon, and needing to draft a competent FS that can learn for a year (or 2) and turn into a full time starter. I will leave all of the decision making to our GM….he gets paid for that, anyone on here spewing about this player, or that player…relax. Our GM will pick up the players he feels will most benefit our ball club. Don’t panic if he doesn’t pick your player because he knows more than you do. In Scott I trust…… Give him 2 full drafts and we should starting seeing the fruits of his labor.

  11. babyteal1 - Apr 9, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    Its safe to say its unlikely he’s around after the 2015 season???….What if he does bounce back and is solid? They aren’t going to release him.

  12. goback2rfk - Apr 9, 2015 at 3:32 PM

    1. Owner
    2. QB stability
    3. Safety
    4. O-Line
    5. Defensive Line
    6. Slot Receiver
    7. Kick Returner

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2015 at 6:21 PM

      Agree on 1. Owner.

      Unfortunately, that means either put up with The Danny, or stop being a Redskins fan.
      ~

  13. deepball1 - Apr 9, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    but wait Rich…I’m confused. Scott M. said he will draft the highest rated player on his board. In fact he specifically pointed out that teams get in trouble when they draft for NEED….and yet your entire article is about forcing a draft pick into a NEED.

    Of course the Skins can draft somebody in the 6th or 7th round if he is the highest rated player on the board, but I fail to see how a 6th round pick automatically fills a need because the Skins have a history of cutting late round draft picks who cannot even make the team. Like I said….I’m confused.

  14. wvredskins - Apr 10, 2015 at 3:36 AM

    I agree with you Rich. Free Safety is one of the hardest positions to get right and that’s why we have been doing one year deals for quite some time. D Goldston is in upgrade but that is not saying much. and with his salary going up tremendously in 2016 and 17 he would have to return to form from when he was with the 49ers for the redskins to consider keeping him at that cost. Maybe he would restructure his contract, but the fact remains we have to find a long term answer. Easier said then done. Converting a Corner to Free Safety would take time but im all for that just for the fact one thing about a converting corner they already or should already have the covering a WR down pretty good, just finding a Corner that is physical enough to A. Cover and B. make solid sound tackles. Hope SM can get this right because I am tired of these one year deals! BUT easier said then done and if it was that easy then every team would have an Earl Thomas

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