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Need to Know: Will the Redskins’ Preston Smith start at OLB?

Jun 26, 2015, 5:08 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 26, 34 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

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.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Today’s question is from Twitter:

The short answer is that it’s not very likely. But the other answer is that it doesn’t really matter.

If I had $100 in casino chips to bet on who will be lined up at right outside linebacker for the first snap against the Dolphins, I would put $95 on Trent Murphy, last year’s second-round pick, and the other $5 on Preston Smith, this year’s second rounder.

Why? Murphy has eight NFL starts and 595 NFL snaps under his best while Smith has none of either. During OTAs and minicamp this year, Murphy has done nothing that would warrant him losing his starting job. He has gotten bigger and, presumably, stronger and he during OTAs and minicamp he seemed to be more comfortable and confident in his second season of lining up at linebacker (he was an end at Stanford).

Meanwhile, Smith has look liked someone who has a lot to learn. And that is exactly what you should expect from a rookie second-round pick who is just starting the process of converting from 4-3 end to 3-4 outside linebacker. He has the physical tools needed to be successful but, as I noted in this post from last week, it will take him some time to get up to speed.

But here’s why who starts doesn’t really matter a whole lot. If you are the second-team right guard, you don’t play unless someone gets injured. Backup quarterbacks wait around until there is a five-alarm emergency of some sort. As a backup OLB, Smith will play a substantial number of snaps.

Last year Murphy did not start the first six games of the season; he was behind Brian Orakpo on the depth chart. But he still played about 30 snaps per game on defense, rotating in with some packages including some where he lined up as a lineman with his hand in the dirt. He relieved Orakpo, played alongside him in nickel situations, and occasionally relieved Ryan Kerrigan (although he takes off very few snaps).

Smith is likely to have a similar role this year. His length will help him in the trenches and he will be able to learn how to pass rush from both a two-point stance and from a down position.

And we’ll see what happens from there. My $100 bet discussed above is only in play for the opener. If Smith catches on quickly and proves to be a better option than Murphy he could be starting and Murphy could be the one coming off of the bench.

The real competition for the starting job could come in 2016 after Smith has a season under his belt. Although we have a long way to go, Smith’s realistic chance at getting a starting job starts next year.


—It’s been 180 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 79 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 34; Preseason opener @ Browns 48; final cuts 71

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. colorofmyskinz - Jun 26, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    I will put $100 on Trent Murphy looking like a complete wrecking ball ball behind our new defense of line. I see 10+ sacks out of him and 10+ out of KERRIGAN.

    • manilarizzo - Jun 26, 2015 at 7:40 AM

      might be a bit of a stretch on 10 sacks only because i think they’re going to be had all around this year (more so anyway, not left and right)… but I expect, er trust, Trent will have a significant impact this season.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jun 26, 2015 at 7:06 AM

    I think even Dante fowler and L. Williams would have looked questionable behind our defensive line last year. Our defensive line last year would not have been able to compete in the CFL. Our entire defense will perform completely different with our new front 3. I cannot believe Allen could not see that before Scot M. We have a top 5 defense easily and Murphy, Kerrigan, and Smith will all dominate this year because of it. So what, are offenses going to give up on running and just throw to Culliver, Breeland, Goldston, Johnson, Amerson, and Hall?? LOL NFC east better watch out!

    • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      Allen may have seen the writing on the wall about the d-line but even IF he did, it’s not like he could’ve done anything about it. He signed one d-linemen – Hatcher. This is contract that will eventually result in dead money just like the contracts for Bowen and Cofield. Releasing Bowen and Cofield this year saved $8M or so but also included $6M in dead money. If they had been released last year the dead money would have been significantly more and the savings significantly less. For whatever savings they made, they then would’ve had to sign replacements for bottom dollar. Bottom line: what was done in this year’s off-season wasn’t feasible last year.

  3. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    I still would wager that Preston won’t work out as OLB and eventually get moved along the D-Line. It seems we’ve tried in the past to take talented players and convert them away from their natural positions but not with very good success. This trend seems to have continued. The biggest challenge for Preston is coverage. It’s extremely difficult to find a player who can learn the coverage schemes in the NFL and maintain that coverage with the better TEs. I’ve read how even our already celebrated GM hero for many here talks about how he has the over all athletic ability to lean the OLB position but that is a statement from some in the past about other positions – Cofield anyone?

    With Haslett maybe the team focused too much on coverage instead of getting pressure sooner. Locating LB/DE positions who can get to the QB quicker may be easier to acquire than ones that can hold coverage long enough to allow that pressure to come. Just maybe the better strategy in becoming an elite defense in today’s NFL is reducing time for offenses to allow their QBs 3rd and 4th looks.

    I guess what I’m implying is that the scheme of the defense doesn’t seem to have changed much only the coaching has on the defense has. I wonder how this will play out.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 26, 2015 at 8:16 AM

      The biggest weaknesses on D were up front (no true NT) and in the secondary. We’ve been pretty good a LB.

      So one thing has been addressed, and we’ll see if Safety is still an Achilles heel. CB should be improved, at any rate.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        I certainly agree NT has changed and should improve. Overall this is a group on the defense side ideal at stopping the run. However, the team still severely lacks speed in key positions that I think will continue to be exploited. The opponent QBR statistics Rich provided are telling IMO in demonstrating this weakness.

    • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Misguided your feelings are (in Yoda voice). You base this irrational feeling on what? A misrepresentation of history? Players play one thing in college and another thing in the NFL. The transition may or may not be long or painful. Orakpo did it. Kerrigan did it. Murphy did it. And now Smith will somehow fail? This is the third defensive regime making the switch. College players aren’t all designed to play the college game. There were a whole list of edge rushers in this year’s draft that were ends in college going to play LB in the NFL. This isn’t a Redskin issue and if Orakpo making a few pro-bowls and Kerrigan not getting there but being named as alternate several times is the definition of: “away from their natural positions but not with very good success” then what were reasonable expectations. As for Cofield, he wasn’t a true NT and was no good last year but the year’s he was healthy he was one of the better players on defense and did his job. But that has nothing to do with Smith. Lastly, converting Smith to his NFL position has nothing to do with a change of scheme. Like I stated, this is the third defensive coordinator making the switch here. James Harrison did it. Brian Urlacher was a safety at college. Misguided. Let the professionals do what they do.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:08 AM

        Smith is a great asset and selection but not as OLB and just like Trent Murphy neither are most likely to produce consistent pressure at that position. Orakpo is a completely different player than either of those. Kerrigan, Murphy, and Smith are similar players with similar makeup. However all lack the elite speed that is needed for a 3/4 OLB. That is if you want to limit the QB’s time to scan the field.

        There is nothing irrational about my comment. However your response is littered with it.

        • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:25 AM

          James Harrison didn’t have elite speed. Kerrigan got the quarterback 14 times last year without that speed. Smith and Murphy have similar motors. Unnecessary wringing of hands. Feel free to ‘rush’ to judgement and call it rational. I notice how much you’re making as a talent evaluator. So you keep your opinion and I’ll continue to lean on the professionals.

        • princewilks - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:37 AM

          Common misconception there, Kerrigan relies mainly on speed and technique, not strength. He also was a DE for Purdue. Just like the comment from bangkokben, Kerrigan got 14 sacks last year, he also was second on QB pressures/hurries only to KC’s Justin Houston. There was no one else last year opposite to Kerrigan to convert some of those 50something pressures into sacks.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:48 AM

          Ah, the James Harrison model. How unoriginal and also almost as common as the woolly mammoth. I have a news flash, you trite little fan. This is a discussion forum to hold opinions among fans. It normally comes with counter thought that demonstrates mutual respect.

          In the end everyone leans on the professionals but it doesn’t mean that any decision goes without question. History as you like to use is littered with decisions by professionals fraught with failure. If you want to just lean on the professionals then don’t read the damn comments. Better yet don’t respond like your some authority on the matter.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:51 AM

          It’s true he got the sacks. However I’ll take consistent pressure with limiting the QB time throwing over sacks every game.

        • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 11:04 AM

          You’re the one stating Preston Smith’s failure to convert as if it is a foregone conclusion. Sure, hide behind the FACT that it’s your opinion. But you gave zero rationale as to why it is your opinion. I gave you historical examples of people who successfully made the transition and all you can say is: it is my opinion that Smith is better at d-line and too slow to be an effective OLB. Great! Wow. What an insight. Sorry if I don’t agree.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 11:33 AM

          Really? Hide behind opinion? What else is there in a discussion forum other than opinions built off something?

          Where did I make a foregone conclusion on Preston Smith’s failure. I stated “wager” which implies a complete opposite to a foregone conclusion.

          Opinion is based on coverage was something Preston Smith rarely did in college. Does it mean he can’t in the NFL? No but it makes it less likely. He was more successful inside and even playing NT at times. He has the long arms and hands to manhandle offensive linemen and most likely not the legs to cover elite TEs or RBs out of the backfield. The opinion is about what is reported where he excelled.

          Your opinion one the other hand follow petty offensive references that is not needed. Look at how Prince responded. You need to read and learn to post to an adult and not some punk teenager.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:00 PM

          Oh Urlacher converted to linebacker in college early on and was used as a “Lobo-Back” which is a cross between linebacker and safety. Nice job of trying to obscure the FACT there Yoda

        • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:18 PM

          Fine. I apologize for the WAY I responded to you. I disagree with your opinion. I think it is misguided. I believe that the NFL game is considerably different than the college game. Just as the high school game is considerably different than the college game. It is therefore that I don’t subscribe to the concept of ‘natural position.’ Brandon Scherff’s natural position is no longer quarterback. Smith was drafted to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. 34 defenses don’t employ 270 lb people in their base scheme. If he was drafted to play DE he’d be asked to put on more weight. Maybe you’re right in that he will fail and they will need him to bulk up. I don’t think there is any reason to think so as many similar players coming out of college have made the adjustment. I also disagree with your assessment about the learning of OLB coverage concepts. Very rarely have any of our OLBs been asked to cover TEs one on one in the past and although there is a new defense, I doubt that that would become one of the changes. I vehemently disagree with your assessment of the past transitions of other Redskin defenders. I also disagree with how you assessed Haslet’s attempts. I think he tried to do exactly what you think he should have done but was unsuccessful due to the personnel across the defense (safeties, inside linebackers, and corners in particular). Once again, apologies for offending you as well as misunderstanding your position and responding disproportionately to it.

        • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:30 PM

          I didn’t know anything about the “lobo-back” or that NM ran a 3-3-5 defense. I just remember when Urlacher was drafted he was a safety being converted to a linebacker and that being an odd transition stuck in my itty-bitty mind. I had no intentions of misinforming you. Technically he was a safety since he played in the defensive backfield. While I’ll agree with you that making the transition from a fifth defensive back/hybrid linebacker-free safety to MIKE linebacker is not the same transition as SS to MLB, denying it as a transition is disingenuous.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 26, 2015 at 1:04 PM

          The crux of my whole comment really just intended to point out the need to add more defense speed to garner more pressure.

          I like Preston Smith and have stated here that he may be the best player we draft in this class regardless of how Schreff performs. I as a fan just want to see Preston utilized where his skills are most capable. I watched how the guy brought pressure. So maybe I think he is best playing off the 3 technique than the 5. I also just don’t like the idea that we waste that capability if he is in the backfield covering somebody. Do I have any say in the matter? No, it’s just opinion. Do I think our new GM knows what he is doing? Yes until proven otherwise on the field.

          I also like Trent Murphy who is similar to Preston in many ways but probably not as physically strong coming into the NFL. So I think we already have someone in Preston’s mold playing OLB. There are certain areas where speed just makes a big difference and there are so few talented enough that excel without it. It can be in the coverage but you still can get burned. Speed is really destructive on the edge and until we add some of that I don’t think we’ll be an elite defense. Kerrigan has more than probably both of the players discussed but can’t a guy at least dream of a Von Miller playing on the team?

        • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:13 PM

          I don’t disagree that we have a general lack of speed on defense and we certainly don’t have speed on the edge. I doubt Kerrigan has more speed than Smith or Murphy. He probably came into the league with more speed but several years in the league can take a toll on the body. Even if what I say is true, (Kerrigan has lost a half-step in pure speed) Kerrigan more than makes up for it in experience and anticipation. And I will agree that Murphy and Smith are similar players and neither’s strength is speed. But do we need that speed to succeed in getting pressure? It certainly can’t hurt but I don’t think it is necessary as long as there are multiple rushers that can get there – hopefully Hatcher is healthy all year, Paea can provide an inside rush, and Baker can show something as well. Of course having a Von Miller type player would benefit the team. But if there are four or five guys on the field that can rush the passer then someone should get there even if there isn’t elite speed. As for an elite defense, I’ll take just plain good for now with 2016 shooting for anything better.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 26, 2015 at 7:57 PM

          You also can’t judge Murphy just on his rookie season. A lot of the better 3-4 OLBs had rookie seasons with low sack numbers. If you’re saying Murphy’s switch to OLB is a failure based off his rookie year, the. You really have no idea what your talking about. The fact that you listed Kerrigan’s transition as a failure further shows how clueless you are.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 27, 2015 at 9:44 AM

          Trey, I’m not clueless you just have issues with reading comprehension. Try reading a few times before commenting by beating the straw man. Find at any point where I stated Kerrigan’s transition was a failure. This may be an original thought so hold on here: Copy and past that statement to prove it. Oh wait you can’t, can you? The only specific reference to a failed transition was Cofield! It may take a few attempts on reading and maybe out loud you might finally get it. I also never called Murphy a failure. My last comment in this string surely indicates that.

          Neither Murphy nor Kerrigan is that big of a swing on transitioning to the OLB as Smith. I wager, now let me restate wager for you again, Preston is a player who has the build to play at a high level with another 20 pounds or maybe more. Why would I think that? Well I for one I’ve seen his current build and I recall it was Joe Barry who stated it himself that when he first met the kid he couldn’t believe he was already 270. His frame could very well add more pounds once he ages and spends more time in the gym. But wait, that is not the only reason; the kid actually performed really well inside the guard. Oh wait, I stated that once already but maybe you don’t know that is what a 3 technique is. So if you want to comment like a punk teenager then that is how I’ll treat some of you here for now on.

          Every insinuation you made was wrong. So work on that reading comprehension or at least grow up some.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 28, 2015 at 2:37 AM

          Wow man, you really think way too highly of yourself. You’re claiming that you’re just here to share your opinion then you pounce on anyone who disagrees with you and resort to name calling and trash talk. That’s supposed to garner healthy conversation and debate? Bang brought up decent arguments and all you could reply with was that they were cliche and that he’s acting like a teenager. Wow, you’re blowing us away with your brilliance. Also, congratulations on taking logic 101 and knowing what a straw man is, but you didn’t even get that correct. My reading comprehension is great and I was able to understand everything you said, despite your complete and utter lack of punctuation and the fact that you write like a child. You’re trying to say that Smith is less likely to succeed at OLB than on the line based off a few reasons. You might even be correct, but probably not for the reasons you stated. It’s great that you read football for dummies and want to show off that you know what a 3 technique is, that doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. I brought up Kerrigan because you brought him up as someone without the speed you think 3-4 OLBs need. Now, your logic for why Smith won’t be successful is because he too lacks that speed. So, a reasonable person can only conclude, since you think Kerrigan also lacks that speed, that he also didn’t make the transition well. Because if Kerrigan lacks the speed AND had to transition out of college but was still successful, then your argument has absolutely no legs to stand on. Maybe instead of worrying about my reading comprehension, you should worry about how well you communicate. Because you sound like an angry child on a rant, and it appears nobody agrees with you. Not because we’re all stupid, because you’re not making any sense.

          College and the NFL are very, very different. Often, some of the best and most athletic college players are plugged into positions that the team needs them to play, even if it’s not their “natural position” because they can get by on pure athleticism. Almost every college team has that guy that is just bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else. So they can play with poor technique or out of position and still have success. Those are the guys that get drafted. Then, when they go to the NFL, everybody is big, strong, and fast. So it’s up to the staff to figure out where they’re going to have the most success. Since everyone is as athletically gifted, the playing field evens out and these guys have to start relying on coaching and technique to be better than their peers and opponents. That’s why a lot of combine workout warriors are flops and those guys that nobody saw coming succeed. There’s a lot more to NFL football than strength and speed. Guys that run, in a straight line, a little slower than others can have great success by honing their craft. And nobody, not you, me, or anybody else, knows how hard those guys will work and if they will succeed or not. You have to wait and see them put it on the field, and usually after 2-3 seasons. So you can sit here and beat your chest and try to show off your Wikipedia football knowledge all you want, but you don’t actually know if Smith will have success at OLB or not. So take it down a notch, because the only thing your accomplishing is looking like an ass.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM

          “You’re claiming that you’re just here to share your opinion then you pounce on anyone who disagrees with you and resort to name calling and trash talk.”

          So calling someone clueless as you did is not trash talking? I just responded with like vitriol that you left off on your previous comment. If you provided a comment without the trash you initiated then I would never have responded in that fashion.

          I appreciate opposing views from any comment because I prefer to reading others perspective. However, if you have to come out and try to include insults then expect them coming back at you.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

          Trey Stated: “My reading comprehension is great and I was able to understand everything you said, ”

          Trey Stated: “The fact that you listed Kerrigan’s transition as a failure further shows how clueless you are.”
          Trey, that is your last statement from your first response on this topic. It is copied and pasted exactly as written. It is beyond me how you think that is providing an opposing opinion without trash talk. Further, such a comment that was used against my premise is beating the straw man. 1) That was not actually a fact since I never made the comment. 2) Even if I believed such a notion, which I don’t, it would not prove me “clueless” about how the teams scheme on defense hasn’t changed. Also I find it humorous you seem to have no issue making grammatical errors but want to resort to attacking someone who leaves out punctuation. This is a discussion forum not a editorial so to bring up is baseless and a waste of everyone’s time including yourself.

          I certainly admit that the top comment I made came with mixed insinuations. I should have been more clear on my position which really consist of a few positions and not one. I also understand why others like Bang misunderstood my initial points. So my initial comment was poorly written. However many comments between Bang and I followed. With all that followed, those positions were eventually filtered out in the dialog but you still came on here swinging insults and completely misinterpreted those views.

          “So, a reasonable person can only conclude, since you think Kerrigan also lacks that speed, that he also didn’t make the transition well. ”
          Wrong, that is not reasonable and you are instead overreaching! A more reasonable person first would have asked if I’m arguing such a notion instead of calling someone out as clueless. My inference on defense is the lack of elite speed BUT Kerrigan skills are highly credited and very much needed. It’s more reasonable to conclude we need more edge speed to compliment what Kerrigan already provides.

          Your diatribe is still riddled with inaccuracies. The reasons I think Preston will move to the D-line you have oversimplified. My last comments to Bang should have made that clear. I explicitly stated he would have issues in coverage but you still missed that one. I also feel Preston is better suited on the line because his college achievements show he excelled better getting pressure off the interior line as he did at defense end. His frame also suggest he could very add more pounds since our own DC thinks he is light at 270. That was also cleared up later but you STILL missed it.

          If we want to discuss the issue of speed alone then that’s fine but let’s make sure we are discussing edge speed which is the crux of my argument on the outside at this point.

          Lastly if you think my knowledge of the game and especially on the defense side comes from a book then I happily invite you to meet me on the field for a friendly. I can’t bring it like I used to but I still got plenty game left in me.

  4. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 26, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    This is one of the picks I didn’t agree with. Not because I don’t think he will be a good player, because he very well could be dominant. I didn’t agree with the pick because there was better players that would have made an immediate impact on the board We had Trent Murphy who was a second round pick who I thought played pretty well for being a rookie.

  5. bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Kerrigan hasn’t practiced yet this off-season and is in the final year of his deal. The merits of this pick should not be debated but most fans will because they wanted an instant starter from the 2nd round. Most fans also want an all-pro starting front seven and couldn’t care less about the depth or the different sub packages that played a significant part of a game.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      Depth usually comes from the later rounds. The only teams that Draft depth that high are teams that already have pretty good rosters with few holes to fill we don’t have that luxury.Drafting that high in the 2nd round there usually is a starting caliber player there and this year there were multiple players that where better.

      • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:51 AM

        If Kerrigan can’t get signed, you have a starter. I know folks would be up in arms if that happens but the Steelers and Ravens did that for years. As Rich pointed out, your 3rd edge rusher is not the same ‘depth’ as a back-up in other positions. He plays almost as much on defense as a slot receiver or 2nd TE on offense. Maybe more depending on the foe and the game situations. Murphy played about 40% of plays before starting. Once Orakpo went down, there was no one to fill that role. Preston Smith is the equivalent of an NBA ‘6th’ man.

      • bangkokben - Jun 26, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        Teams also usually don’t draft starting right tackles with the fifth pick. Maybe the combination of those two picks will be the GM’s downfall. Maybe he got both of them right. But if the argument is an instant starter for the 2nd round pick then the question is what position and then who. The argument against Scherff is Leonard Williams. What is the equivalent for Preston Smith?

        • berniebernard666 - Jun 26, 2015 at 6:57 PM

          there are no ARGUMENTS at all. The Skins drafted who they drafted and we’re all waiting to see if our opinion of them is correct. You don’t see Scherff as worthy of the 5th pick and I do. That’s all there is too it. Now we’re just waiting for July 30.

        • bangkokben - Jun 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM

          Bernie, now that we (the ‘skins) made the pick, I’m 100% behind it. I never thought it would happen because modern history shows that it hadn’t been done in this current era of football and there are legitimate reasons for that. Offensively, it has been this team’s biggest need since Jim Zorn coached. I’m simply responding to ‘what team’s usually do.’ And the Redskins drafted for need in the 1st (BPA perhaps) and didn’t feel the need to find an instant starter in the 2nd round.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM

          There were multiple Olinemen on the board a group we are still weak at also DGB another position we are weak at which is even uglier than OLB next year. Kerrigan will get signed or be franchised. The team has already stated that. Get over being wrong about the #5 pick he was the best Olineman one the board and was much needed well worth the #5 like I said before the Draft. I didn’t like the Matt Jones pick either. Again plenty of Good Olinemen were still there with other positions that are now still weak. We could have easily gotten a back up Olinemen laterin the Draft oora free agent.

        • bangkokben - Jun 27, 2015 at 2:05 PM

          Tim, I’m way over it. Me being over it still doesn’t change the fact that it is unusual – or that you correctly predicted it for that matter. Your crush on drafting o-linemen in every round is unnecessary. You can only keep nine o-linemen on your team and all but Lauvao and Lichtensteiger will be Redskins’ draft picks – that’s seven for those of us counting. Furthermore give specifics. Which specific o-linemen was a better pick than Smith in the 2nd or Jones in the third. The draft is about needs down the road; not perceived immediate need. Agreed that Kerrigan will likely sign an extension or can be franchised – just like Trent Williams. Both are injured now and the team would be prudent on waiting on their full recoveries before completing any deals. Although that I believe Kerrigan will be fine and will sign an extension, I think that his injury is the same that Cooley and Arrington were never quite same again afterwards.

  6. Skulb - Jun 26, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    The OLB spot has to be one of the best on the team though, right? I know Orakpo had some problems last year, but Kerrigan certainly didn`t. And Murphy did alright as well.

    • abanig - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      Hard to tell atm. We think Murphy is going to take the next step and Smith has skills but who knows

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 26, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      Yes, right now I would say OLB is one of the stronger position groups. Especially with Smith in the mix. He should at least be solid in the run game after training camp, and good enough to not be a total liability in the passing game. If people honestly look at the rest of the NFL, that’s more than quite a few teams can say.

      • Skulb - Jun 26, 2015 at 8:27 PM

        After last season I would say the two biggest worries is the defensive secondary in general and the QB/OL problems on offense. They just gave up way too many big plays, created too few of their own, took too many sacks and had a terrible TO statistic.
        I would pin that on QB, PP and blocking on offense and on the secondary on defense. I might be simplifying it too much though.
        But if they can improve there then I think they might stand a chance at an 8-8 or something. Maybe even a winning season if Griffin can find himself again. If they can`t then it`ll be another long autumn for Redskins fans.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 28, 2015 at 2:47 AM

          You’re simplifying it a little bit but I think you’re generally correct. The only thing I would add is that all these separate units effect the success of the others. A better pass rush usually leads to a better secondary. A better secondary creates more time for the pass rushers. A better defense puts the offense in better position. Being up in the game creates a different game plan on both sides, etc. etc.
          Generally speaking, this team needed an almost complete overhaul after 2014. There are only a couple units that would be hard to upgrade, and our depth is lousy. So I look forward to a couple offseasons of solid rebuilding.
          I do, however, think this team could win 8 games. But that all hinges on the QB position. If they get solid, not fantastic, just solid play from the QB, I think they’ll make major strides. If not…. you know.

  7. abanig - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Murphy will start and have a Kerrigan type year similar to Kerrigans first few years in the league. Imo

  8. berniebernard666 - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    Preston is an ATHLETE. He has great hands. He can run and move. In fact, I will not be surprised if at some point they occasionally use him as a tight end. I would. This kid should have been a 1st round pick. I am as much of a talent evaluator as the so called experts. Haslett was a talent evaluator….he was terrible.

    Just cause you get hired as something doesn’t make you good at it. Everybody has 2 eyes and an opinion but it doesn’t make them equal in the brain department.

  9. Percy d - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    Trent starts but Preston versatility and athleticism gets him more pass rushes and sacks from multiple positions.

  10. mr.moneylover - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    He can start and the redskins will confident if he the opportunity presents itself but jay gruden dont want to pile up Preston smith plate he want to bring him along slowly and strongly at the same time but joe barry said its very possible to see trent Murphy Preston smith and Ryan Kerrigan playing very often together

  11. mr.moneylover - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    In the near future preston smith will be the leader of the redskins defense….this year Ryan Kerrigan is the leader and he damn sure deserve to be Archives

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