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Redskins pre-draft depth chart review: Defense

Apr 9, 2016, 10:43 AM EDT


The Redskins’ depth chart is beginning to take shape after some free agency gains and losses. Let’s take a look at where they stand on each side of the ball. Yesterday we looked at the offense; today, the defense goes under the microscope.

Starters are listed first, reserves roughly in the order they would appear on a depth chart.

Defensive line: Kedric Golston (NT), Stephen Paea, Chris Baker
Reserves: Ricky Jean Francois, Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, Corey Crawford, Jerrell Powe (NT), Anthony Johnson, Christo Bilukidi, James Gayle, Kamal Johnson

It seems unlikely that Golston will actually be the nose tackle Week 1 but he was identified as the current starter by Jay Gruden a couple of weeks ago so that’s who we’ll go with. This looks like a bit of a logjam but actually it’s about right in terms of numbers; they will take about 12 defensive linemen to training camp. It’s likely that there will be some roster churn here after the draft as picks and undrafted free agents take the roster slots of some of the players down the depth chart.

Outside linebacker: Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan
Reserves: Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail, Desmond Bishop

They could trim one or two players here but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins go into training camp with most of this group intact. One change could be Murphy moving to the defensive line but that’s something that will be sorted out during OTAs and possibly training camp.

Inside linebacker: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Reserves: Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Garvin, Adam Hayward, Carlos Fields, Derrick Matthews

Hayward didn’t play at all last year after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason game and his roster status is up in the air. The Redskins could go into camp with the group they have now at this position.

Cornerback: Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Will Blackmon, Quinton Dunbar, Jeremy Harris, Dashon Phillips, Al Louis-Jean

Culliver is recovering from a torn ACL and the best-case scenario is for him to be ready for training camp. If the Redskins don’t add a corner in the draft they will probably sign at least one or two undrafted cornerbacks. A veteran acquisition after the draft is also a possibility.

Safety: DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho
Reserves: David Bruton, Kyshoen Jarrett, Deshazor Everett

Jarrett suffered an injury that has left him with limited strength in his right arm. He has gone to visit a specialist. At the moment, he could be ready for the start of training camp and he could miss all or most of the season. In any case, the Redskins will want to bring in two or three more safeties to fill out this unit for camp.

Tomorrow: A birds-eye view of the entire roster and the adjustments that will need to be made before the start of training camp.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    I think we will definitely be targeting some safeties with our mid to later round draft picks.

  2. bk70 - Apr 9, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Rich, thanks for keeping it real.
    A lot can change on the 2016 roster. I’m so looking forward to a “great 2016 Redskins draft”.

    8 or more draft picks added to the 74 man roster today. Camp competition will bring out the gladiators.

  3. goback2rfk - Apr 9, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    So much can change based on what happens in the draft. No need to speculate on what adjustments are needed before training camp until the draft is over. The draft is going dictate the depth chart to a certain extent.

  4. abanig - Apr 9, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    Round 1, NT – either Billings or Reed.
    Round 2, S – Neal, Joseph, Bell or Thompson

    In round 3, trade back into round 4 for more picks. Then, we can take a back up C, CB, RB, QB etc

    • Trey Gregory - Apr 9, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      I would be very happy with your first two picks. But I still want to stay put in the third. Then, if possible, trade back any round after the third.

      There’s just too much talent we could potentially be passing on in the first three rounds. Those are usually where future starters, or solid rotational, players come from. Of course guys picked round 4 or later have contributed or turned into good players, but the odds go down the further back you go; as well as the further back into the round you go. We could get a good receiver in the third and have that safety net for 2017.

      Two other problems with the trade back scenarios: 1) someone has to be willing. Every team wants more picks. But who are these teams who can’t wait to trade up and give away picks? It has to be like the Tyler Lockett trade. The right guy has to be there at the right time for a team willing to give the right compensation. That’s impossible to predict. And 2) If a team does want to trade back, they might want to lessen the blow by giving us future picks. So we would still be stockpiling picks, but for future drafts. Takes some of the glamor away from trading back.

      With the upcoming free agencies of Cousins, Galette, Reed, Garcon, Jackson, and others: I think this team needs as many young, cheap, and quality players as they can get. And they need them now. I don’t envision a ton of cap room being freed up for next offseason if we plan of retaining our own guys. Meaning we’re not going to fill the holes with outside free agents. I would rather get a handful of solid players this draft than a barrel of late round projects.

      • troylok - Apr 9, 2016 at 4:08 PM

        Shoot, I’d trade the first in a heartbeat to get down to the top of the second and pick up an extra pick in the fourth. There is not a lot of separation between the defensive tackles in rounds 1, 2 and 3, but there seem to be a lot of potentially solid, if not spectacular picks and, as McGloughin has said repeatedly, he’s ready to deal to get more picks.

        I think some players could be available to trade. Murphy is kind of a man without a home right now and they might consider letting him go for something like a fourth or fifth rounder. A team running a 4-3 would consider him valuable as a defensive end. LeRibeus and Paulsen could also be bait. None of those players were McGloughin players and they are down the depth charts at their respective positions.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2016 at 4:59 PM

          Trading down to the top of the second would get you a high 3rd rounder, unless one team is really willing to give up too much. You can quibble with this chart, but it gives a good idea of the baseline NFL GMs use.

          For example, if we traded our 1st for San Diego’s 2nd rounder, San Diego’s pick in the 3rd round would be typical compensation.

        • Trey Gregory - Apr 10, 2016 at 2:51 AM

          Can you name the projected second round defensive tackles that don’t have that much separation from the projected first round defensive tackles?

          That’s obviously slightly a matter of opinion, just curious who you’re talking about. Because I think we could get a potential star at 21. I don’t really see that with the second round guys. But, of course, that’s all projections.

        • troylok - Apr 10, 2016 at 7:11 AM

          Trey, I like Austin Johnson from Penn State. I’d scoop up DJ Reader from Clemson in the third and be happy about it – he’s one of the biggest NT’s in this draft. I see 9 – 10 NT’s taken in the first three rounds of the draft. A lot depends on what Barry is looking for in a nose tackle. It seemed last year they used Knighton more as a traditional nose tackle lining up over center and attempting to occupy other blockers while the other d-linemen shot the gap. If that is what he wants, then Reader is his guy – big, powerful and not the fastest runner on the field.

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 9, 2016 at 5:03 PM

    I think I was the first to pound the drums for Billings on this blog. And I still like him.

    But now I’m feeling this: There are a plethora of two-down run stuffers in this draft. And while both Andrew Billings and Jarran Reed have the potential to be much more than that, it’s no sure thing.

    And when you have guys like Hassan Ridgeway who should be available around our 2nd pick, there’s not a reason to panic and pay up because we need a nose tackle so bad.

    That’s why I’ve lately become a fan of trading back a bit to get a 3rd-rounder, or maybe just taking a guy like Josh Doctson if we can’t get a good deal.

    • Docholidae - Apr 9, 2016 at 5:18 PM

      Ridgeway is a guy that popped off the screen in the games I saw on TV last year

      • sidepull - Apr 10, 2016 at 6:46 AM

        Agree. I take Ridgeway. He is really a guy that will apply pressure. Lots of it.

        • sidepull - Apr 10, 2016 at 7:07 AM

          Late round project pick w upside Justin Zimmer

    • bangkokben - Apr 10, 2016 at 11:33 AM

      This the equivalent of betting on an outside straight after the flop. You think with two cards, your chances are pretty good. The problem is that the market on DTs could go either way. With a bunch of talent the majority of teams may think they can get one later on. Or a bunch of teams might trade up to the top half of second to ensure they get the guy they want. You have a chance to get the guy you want. Take him. Now the reason you don’t take him is that you are SURE he’ll be around later or you have several guys equal that you think one will be there later.

      • Trey Gregory - Apr 11, 2016 at 1:36 AM

        @Bang: I completely agree with everything you said there. Perfect post.

    • Trey Gregory - Apr 11, 2016 at 1:47 AM

      @ifthethunder: What a strange way to start your comment.

      But also, Billings is a 3 down player. He’s not a true nose tackle. I just made a big long post about why at the bottom of the comments, so I’ll spare you, but he can excel in a 3 or 4 man front. In fact, he played as a 4-3 DT in college, and excelled. He doesn’t have to potential to be a 3 down player, he is one.

      He’s really not even a BIG run stuffer. He’s quite a bit smaller than traditional nose tackles at 6 ft 311lbs. But he’s very strong, athletic, and fast. If you want a guy who can do it all, at a high level: it’s Billings. If you just want a big body to check off a box: then sure, take Jones or Ridgeway. They absolutely do have potential. But there’s a reason guys like Reed and Biklings are ranked higher.

      To be clear, I think Billings will be a special player we can’t pass on. But if he’s gone, then I hope we do take someone like Doctson and get our DT in the second. In a conference with Dez and ODJ, we could use our own star receiver to compete.

  6. smotion55 - Apr 9, 2016 at 7:38 PM

    We got 3 weeks of this before the draft. It is amazing the interest in the draft this year. I have total faith in what they do but would trade out of 1st round or the 2nd round in a heartbeat to get a couple of quality picks later. Most likely to trade back in the 3rd or later is this GMs MO. The compensatory picks come into play then and hopefully somebody with a couple of extra picks really like somebody and move up to the Skins pick and hope this trade up happens a couple of times.

    • Mr.moneylover - Apr 9, 2016 at 7:57 PM

      Scot m. Kept his first three picks before trading back in the draft last year I believe him when he said no we like the spot we in when asked about trading the first pick

  7. Mr.moneylover - Apr 9, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    I don’t believe Kendrick golston will be the week 1 starter I think jay gruden know who got the edge in winning that nose tackle spot but he’s not gonna say he will rather let the guys battle it out before making a decision and speaking about ut…when he talked about will blackmon he explain fully and went into details why they wanted blackmon back he didn’t do the same with Kendrick golston or Andre Roberts and Kendrick golston contract is setup to battle for a roster spot…scot m. And jay gruden not stupid they know what they doing to the media I think he got some lessons from scot m.

  8. Mr.moneylover - Apr 9, 2016 at 8:01 PM

    Scot m. Don’t only want to hit in the first round he want to strike gold at least with the first three picks…last year we strike gold 4x with Matt Jones Jamison Crowder Preston smith and Brandon Scherff

    • John - Apr 10, 2016 at 12:37 AM

      I could see them trading back with NE. NE lacks a 1st but has 2, 2nds. The Bengals might trade to move up to get a WR after losing 2, WRs in free agency. There are a lot of decent players that will be other in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and we could get a DLineman, Safety, Center, LB, WR, etc.

      • Trey Gregory - Apr 10, 2016 at 2:46 AM

        So the plan is to take picks from a team who already had a draft penalty levied against them? Oh and a team whose picks are at the very end of each round? Why is that idea even appealing to you? Let’s miss out on a probable starter for a guy who could maybe start mid season. Or just be a depth player.

        Has Bellichick ever even traded up before? I know he’s traded back, as GMs love extra picks, but trading up? Who are these GMs who want to give away picks?

        I’ve heard a bunch of fans from other teams call NFL radio and their plan is to trade back too. They’re also confident other teams want to give away picks to move up a few spots. And I’ve heard multiple guys say “the Redskins are sitting back at 21 but need x,y, and z. Maybe they would trade up with us.”

        Nothing is impossible. I would just like to dial back the enthusiasm on the trading back talk. There’s pros and cons. As well as the difficulty in finding a team who wants to lose picks. I just don’t see this happening unless a team wants a QB at the end of the first round. Not sure there’s a RB or WR worth trading up for in this draft.

  9. Dan Fleck - Apr 10, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    Needs the biggest badest runstoper in the draft and safety and a. Big bad running back and receiver lf others are already gone

  10. John - Apr 10, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    The way they were talking during the owners meetings a few weeks ago (how a true nose is not necessarily the answer as the way offenses play, they are in a 4 down nickle a lot more) and based on what Scott M likes in D Linemen, I could see them being hot and heavy for Chris Jones. Long arms and really good with his hands. Makes for a nice pass rusher but also good in the run game. Butler from LSU is another good candidate. Both are more versatile than the guys from Obama, etc.

    • Trey Gregory - Apr 11, 2016 at 1:35 AM

      That’s a funny auto correct.

      I think Billings is very versatile. Maybe the most versatile DT in the draft. He’s not a true nose tackle based on his size. I do, however, expect him to add a little weight. More than the usual college to NFL thing. He’s very young and his body should still be growing.

      But he’s ridiculously strong. It’s likely he has the strongest legs in the whole draft. So what he lacks in size, he makes up for in power. They will have to double team him or he’s going to plow through guys. I saw him put double teams on skates, and I mean skates, multiple times at Baylor last year. Obviously NFL centers/guards are bigger and stronger. But he should still be a handful as a 0 technique.

      But he can also play a 1 technique in a 4 man front. He’s strong, but he’s also fast for his size. He can pass rush. He should also be able to move plenty fast laterally to grab runner. The guy will also get downfield and chase people if a play breaks down as evident by that play against Kansas that went viral. That’s good for if a QB breaks the pocket and starts running around. He has the speed to chase. Most traditional nose tackles aren’t as athletic as him.

      This guy is the total package. I think there’s a big separation from him and a guy like Chris Jones in the second. He hurt his knee early last year, played out the season injured, and still dominated. That’s something people need to keep in mind when watching his tape. Also that Baylor’s offense scores in about 10 seconds. Big 12 defenses play a ton of minutes compared to a school like Alabama, and fatigue sets in. I’ve watched most, if not every single one, of his college snaps and I’m convinced he will be a special player. I also know he’s a pretty good guy and should stay out of trouble. If we’re looking for a DT/NT, this should be our pick if he’s still available. Archives

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