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Who will be the Redskins’ key players on offense in three years?

Jul 13, 2016, 10:44 AM EDT

Trent Williams camp RVA 2015

It is the season for looking into the future, both to the 2016 season and beyond.

Let’s look at the Redskins three years from now. Who will still be here? Which players will be top performers? Here’s a possible snapshot of the team going into training camp in the year 2019. We’ll look at the offense today and the defense later this week.

To define the terms here, a blue chip player is one who is one of the top four to six players in the league at his position, is a consistent Pro Bowl caliber performer and occasionally gets All-Pro consideration.

A solid starter is also known as a red chip player. The team is happy with his level of play and is not looking to upgrade, These players are below the elite level but firmly in the top 10 or 12 at their positions. These players perhaps make an occasional visit to the Pro Bowl.

Potential starters are exactly that, players who could be starting in three years or who could be on the bench or playing elsewhere. Even if they are starting in Washington the team may be on the lookout for an upgrade.

Offense

Potential blue chip players: Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Jordan Reed
Solid starters: Kirk Cousins, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Morgan Moses
Potential starters: Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Matt Jones

Williams already is established as a blue chipper and Reed is becoming recognized as one. As long as he stays healthy he will be a bona fide blue chipper this year. Scherff has the talent and work ethic to get to the Pro Bowl in the next couple of years and once he gets in he will be an annual selection.

Cousins could emerge into a quality quarterback but right now it’s hard to see him getting up into the upper echelon of QBs. We’ll know more after next year.

Doctson is a pure projection since he hasn’t taken an NFL snap yet. There is no reason to think that Moses and Crowder will not continue to be very productive players.

Long had a chance to take a firm hold on his future after starting 13 games last year but he finds himself in a competition for a starting job. This is a big year for Jones, who has a chance to either break out or bust. Kouandjio has yet to take any meaningful snaps but he is likely to in the next couple of years.

The chances are that older players like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Kory Lichtensteiger will be gone by 2019.

Under team control through 2019 are Williams, Scherff (with 5th year option), Reed, and Doctson. Moses and Long will be free agents following the 2017 season, Crowder, Kouandjio, and Jones have contracts that expire after 2018.

  1. smotion55 - Jul 13, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    looking at this list sure lets you know how much turnover there is every year. half of your list are just maybe the chance to be good and still here. I am curious What is the average # of new players and changeover every year league wide and where are the redskins on that list. Does this actually show a pattern for being good consistently like New England and Green Bay or always bad like Cleveland.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 13, 2016 at 1:18 PM

      The changeover is massive for every team. They all go through it. But there’s good and bad changes. If you’re consistently drafting well and making good free agent acquisitions, then you’ll do well. If you blow draft picks and make bad moves in free agency, you’ll do poorly. It’s really that simple. And knowing when to let go of guys is just as important as when to retain them.

      The reason teams like NE can cut star players left and right is because their fan base has bought in. Kraft knows his ticket sales won’t suffer for cutting a beloved player. But if you’re the Browns, you hold onto whatever small shred of hope there is on your team to get butts in seats. It’s a business decision, not a football decesion. I think that’s where a lot of the differences are. It’s also why good coaches and GMs can go to crappy organizations and fail.

  2. princewilks - Jul 13, 2016 at 12:22 PM

    Rich,

    How come Ryan Kerrigan is not listed here? Is it because of his age at that time?
    How about Preston Smith? I think he’ll turn into a force, both rushing the passer and stopping the run within the next year or two.

    • princewilks - Jul 13, 2016 at 12:23 PM

      Never mind, I just realized this as on offense. I’m so used to reading your posts on here that I automatically click on the post without reading the title.

      • Rich Tandler - Jul 13, 2016 at 12:58 PM

        Check back tomorrow or Friday. Your questions will be answered.

  3. bangkokben - Jul 13, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    8/11 of the offense is solid for 2016, the remaining 3/11 is in flux. That’s pretty good if they can extend some of those solid players (QB and one WR) as well as find long-term (three year) solutions for LG, C, and RB.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 14, 2016 at 2:59 AM

      I feel OK about the future at LG. Between Long and Kouandjo, we should at least get by. But Center and RB will have to be addressed. Even if Jones breaks out, we need more depth. And if he doesnt….

      Thankfully you can get a decent RB in later rounds these days. But a quality center means we’ll probably have to use a top 3 pick. Most likely first or second round. I also think we’ll need to acquire another quality WR next year. A high (ish) draft pick would be ideal for age and cap reasons. Which give us less picks for the defense. And I’m particularly concerned about our front 7. We will also need some young blood at safety soon.

      So McCloughan has his work cut out for him. If we don’t retain Galette then we need to draft another edge rusher high. And our interior line needs an infusion of youth. I’m optimistic that Cravens can be a good ILB for us but I don’t think he’s an every down ILB. There could be an immediate need for 1-2 bodies there too.

      I will be paying extra attention to what Hall, Cravens, Compton, Fuller, Dunbar, and Ioannidis do this year. As well as Jarrett’s health. Because so much of our future moves will depend on their progress. Including our ability to keep building the offense in the draft and free agency. Then we’ll see how much Garcon/DJax have left and what they’re willing to return for. That could free up that problem, but right now I think they’re both gone.

  4. zatoichi7 - Jul 13, 2016 at 5:57 PM

    i think cousins is a potential blue chip. i don’t think matt jones is a potential starter in 2019, that guy isn’t on the team yet.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 14, 2016 at 3:06 AM

      It’s hard to argue with your point about Jones as things stand. He has a lot to prove to justify a 3rd round pick and that he deserves to be a starter (for him and Scot)

      I still wish McCloughan would have just stayed put in the 2015 draft and taken Tyler Lockett in the 3rd and Jeremy Langford in the 4th.

      But I’m also hoping for either a surprise rookie UDFA or a veteran RB to come in and perform well for us. Crazier things have happened and this offense would be unreal with a better run game.

  5. redskins12thman - Jul 13, 2016 at 6:31 PM

    Hopefully as follows:

    Blue chip players: Kirk Cousins, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Jordan Reed
    Solid starters: Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Morgan Moses, Matt Jones, Center and 3rd WR or 2nd TE drafted by Scot
    Potential starters: Spencer Long and Arie Kouandjio will battle it out for starter / first reserve spots

    • mtskins - Jul 13, 2016 at 7:33 PM

      As long as we are indulging in some mid-July pre camp daydreaming and using the word “hopefully” you might as well move Doctson to your blue chip Column. Doesn’t seem like that big reach for a first round draft pick who was touted by some as the best WR prospect in this year’s draft.

      • Trey Gregory - Jul 13, 2016 at 11:49 PM

        I agree that it’s not a stretch to thing Doctson could become a blue chip player.

        But something to keep in mind: there have been some unusually good WR classes the past couple years. I don’t think it’s wise to expect that trend to continue. Doctson could very well end up the best receiver in this class, but the class overall could end up less productive. Doctson was still a late round pick. He would have been drafted high like Amari Cooper or Julio Jones if he was as good of a prospect.

        I have really high hopes for Doctson. I wanted Scot to draft him and I think the kid could be phenomenal. But I’m just trying to keep that in mind to temper my expectations.

        • mtskins - Jul 14, 2016 at 2:08 AM

          Doctson was my personal best WR prospect this year. Love his ability to high point, his wide catch radius, and his 4.5 speed that solidified his first round status.

          That being said you are completely right saying he is the best WR of an average class. If he can learn an NFL Playbook/Route Tree, put on muscle and not lose speed, learn how to run block, avoid injuries, actually play an NFL Snap, all of these are open to question. We have seen better prospects fail. All things considered he will probably end up a good WR2. These are not DayDream Questions. Mid July is the time to hope for the best and quit analyzing. Take a few weeks and be excited. Don’t think many would argue that we have more to be excited about than in previous years.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 14, 2016 at 2:46 AM

          Yeah man. I wasn’t trying to damper your excitement. Sorry if it felt that way. I just like talking football.

          In a vacuum, I actually think Corey Coleman was the best WR in this class. Based off pure ability. But, I value size and that leaping ability too. Which took Fuller and Coleman off my wish list. Unless we got them in the second or third to replace Desean. But I would much prefer for our entire receiving corps to get longer overall. I value size more than speed.

          I watched a lot of Doctson in college. The guy is a phenomenal talent and has a knack for big plays. We need a jump ball guy for Cousins. But I too have some concerns about his weight, which I think is directly related to his injuries. Looking at his recent pictures though, it seems like he added muscle. I think he will be able to put on the weight and not lose his abilities. My 2016 expectations are mostly tempered because of the simple spread offense TCU uses. He has a lot of learning to do. So I kind of hope they bring him along slowly and let him develop. We did it right, we drafted a guy before we needed him and now we can play the vets and develop the rookie. It wouldn’t bother me if Doctson is mostly quiet in 2016.

          But beyond that, I think he will end up more than a WR2. His potential is to be one of the better receivers in the league. I always try to keep a level head and wait to see it before I get too excited. But there’s no reason Doctson can’t be an AJ Green type receiver. I think you’re right that his floor is a good WR2 and you’re right to be optimistic that he can be more. We were near the bottom of the first and we got (in my opinion) the best receiver in the draft. That’s plenty reason to be excited.

        • mtskins - Jul 14, 2016 at 10:02 AM

          You are right that Coleman might have been the best WR especially since he was drafted a few slots before, but as you also pointed out Doctson was a great fit for us. Know you are a fan of his and frankly you know way more than I do about his prospects. Like to keep a level head as well and it is all unknown how he will turn out, but it’s fun to think there is the possibility that he could develop into an AJ Green type player.

  6. lezziemcdykerson - Jul 13, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    Unrelated but this has to be the quote of the week “While Dallas has had little success this century, the Cowboys have always drawn a national audience, for whatever reason.”

  7. Trey Gregory - Jul 13, 2016 at 11:57 PM

    I don’t know if you saw this (that quote looked a lot like one in the article) but the Cowboys are now the most valuable sports franchise in the world. It’s unbelievable. They haven’t won anything in two decades.

    Washington came in number 8 in the world. Number 3 in the NFL. Which is still pretty unbelievable to me too.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2016/07/13/dallas-cowboys-head-the-worlds-50-most-valuable-sports-teams-of-2016/#50d934c56bd7

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