>\n\nWorst to First: 4. Washington Redskins \n\n\n\n

Worst to First: 4. Washington Redskins

Written by Ben Morgan on 02/16/2010

Apparently NFL owners fear 2010 being an uncapped year. Seriously? All of them? OK maybe I can see it, most of the owners fear it because of the money they'll have to fork out to overpaid free agents. Dan Snyder will probably fear it because he now has competition for those overpriced free agents. I don't know who the Washington Redskins capologist is but they deserve a medal for somehow managing to keep the 'Skins under the cap each year. In spite of spending on free agents that reaches levels that have me reaching for a thesaurus to come up with new superlatives, somehow they escape going over the cap. I can only assume the guy's previous job was as a senior accountant to ENRON. Not that going over would have troubled Snyder, what's the penalty? You surrender draft picks. Snyder doesn't seem to like draft picks anyway. Maybe that's another reason he fears an uncapped NFL. All those expensive free agents aren't likely to be available until they're 30 which means Danny has to do more work and actually research College football. If you want to see what I mean on draft picks take a look at the draft history on our Washington Redskins team page. In 2006, no 1st, 3rd or 4th round draft picks. In 2007 no 2nd, 3rd or 4th rounders. In 2008 no 1st or 5th round picks (though they did swing 3 second rounders that year) and last year no 2nd or 4th round picks. This year is shaping up to be similar. Their 3rd round pick was used in the Supplemental draft last year to pick Jeremy Jarmon, a DE out of Kentucky. Their 6th round pick went to the Dolphins in exchange for Jason Taylor. Who, if memory serves me correctly, actually played for the Fins last year. Nice. More than most teams the Skins need to make their drat picks really count as they often have so few in the top half of the draft. Have they succeeded in doing that? Well they are picking 4th overall so you'd have to say, hmmmm not so good. But let's look at the details and breakdown Washington's roster for a closer look at how close the Skins are to winning another Superbowl. Cos it's been a while now. NOTE: At present it looks like the Redskins will be adopting a zone blocking scheme on the OL and may be at least partially switching to a 3-4 front under Jim Haslett. This could make a huge impact on who stays, who goes and more importantly for us, who they might draft and where.

2010 Free Agent Losses
2010 Free Agent additions
To be updated
Justin Medlock K (CFL)
2010 Unsigned Free Agents
2011 Potential Free Agents
Jason Campbell QB (RFA-CBA), Todd Yoder TE (UFA), Stephon Heyer OT (XRFA), Will Montgomery OG (RFA), Renaldo Wynn DE (UFA), Phillip Daniels DE (UFA), Kedric Golston DT (RFA-CBA), Anthony Montgomery DT (RFA-CBA), Rocky McIntosh LB (RFA-CBA), Carlos Rogers CB (UFA), Reed Doughty (RFA-CBA), Lorenzo Alexander DT (XRFA), Quinton Ganther RB (RFA-CBA), Marcus Mason RB (XRFA), Hunter Smith P (UFA), Chris Wilson LB (XRFA)
Todd Collins QB (UFA), H.B. Blades LB (RFA), Rock Cartwright RB (UFA), Cornelius Griffin DT (UFA), Fred Smoot CB (UFA),

Roster Breakdown
Quarterbacks Minor Need
Is there anyone left out there who thinks Jason Campbell is the future (or current for that matter) face of this franchise? Jason Campbell and his agent perhaps? Well, Campbell's been an OK NFL Quarterback. Not spectacularly good, not spectacularly bad. Campbell is actually coming off the best season of his career. And he's accurate. 64.5% accurate last season. Even so it's highly likely the Redskins will use a high draft pick, possibly their 1st rounder, on a Quarterback this year. That doesn't mean Campbell won't be back, in fact if the Redskins were to draft Sam Bradford for example, having Campbell around for another year while a mostly shotgun guy like Bradford is coached up is some akin to a perfect situation. Bradford is probably not a guy you're going to want to rush into the NFL. Particularly on a team with a strong rushing tradtion that could really make use of the play action. Campbell is probably Mr Stopgap at this point. He's a restricted free agent thanks to the lack of a CBA and as a former first round pick Campbell is not going to cost a fortune to bring back for another year. He also may have trade value. If the Skins can hold onto him I have this feeling we may see something of a Brees/Rivers situation. Campbell's 2009 represents a slightly above average NFL QB's season. When you factor in some poor protection and a lack of the running game of years past, his performance was really pretty good. You get this sneaking suspicion that Campbell may come out firing in 2010 if Bradford or Clausen are drafted #4. Todd Collins is the primary backup currently. He's never really had to do much in the NFL but a couple of years back was plenty efficient when called upon. He's signed through this season. Colt Brennan has had injury issues and might have to fight Collins for a roster spot. I'd tip Collins to win. Look for Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford to land in D.C.

Runningbacks Major Need
Mike Shanahan seems to take delight in a) finding late round RBs he can turn into All Pros and latterly in Denver b) infuriating Fantasy Football owners by running 2, 3 or sometimes 4 headed monsters in the backfield. On the surface he should like what he finds in Washington, unless he digs a little deeper. Clinton Portis is a once great NFL RB who spent more time last year laying into his team mates than into opposing DLs. He also must be the oldest 28 year RB in NFL history. It seems like he's been around forever and he's likely now in the downturn of his career. He has a tonne of miles on the clock. Ladell Betts can be a decent RB himself and at times has filled in admirably. But Betts is 31 and coming off 2 torn ligaments. Word is he's done in Washington. Quinton Ganther was poor and may not be back except as training camp depth. Rock Cartwright in his career has looked good filling in too. He's 30 too. If you look hard enough there's no escaping the fact that this a major need. Just with this being Shanahan it's possible he won't look for a guy on Day 1. It's just not his style. Expect a day 2 pick and a couple of UDFA/7th round pick ups. Expect Shanny to make a 1 year star out of one of them as well. Speaking of which, watch out for Anthony Alridge. He's got history with Shanahan and he's the type of longshot he loves.

Wide Receivers
Minimal Need
It's not like the Skins WRs have been terribly good. But it may not be a position they address depending on a few things. Santana Moss again flirted with 1000 yards. He's been just above or below that mark for the past 3 seasons. He's decent. But I believe he's due a $3m+ escalator bonus in March. That may be a lot to swallow for a guy who has never dominated as people hoped after his excellent first season in Washington. If the Redskins could find a real #1 WR Moss would be a handy #2. Antwaan Randle-El has a complicated contract situation which I won't pretend to understand. Needless to say as a recipient of one of Snyder's outlandish free agent contracts he won't be worth his production whatever happens. I think he's very likely to have played his last down as a Redskin. He's still a good slot receiver and he will be missed. What's going to be interesting to see is what becomes of Washington's 2 second round picks from 2008, Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Both have been unqualified disappointments in their careers so far but year 3 is where WRs often come of age. Normally they'd have flashed something in year 2 though. These guys really haven't, despite opportunities to do so. Still, new coach, new regime, perhaps a new offense. They may wait to see what they have before blowing a draft pick on another WR who is unlikely to contribute as a rookie anyway. Rounding out the WRs is an interesting big guy, last year's 7th rounder Marko Mitchell. He played very well in training camp and although he faces an uphill task to make the roster, with a new coach and a blank slate he's very likely to have a shot at a starting position. At least as much of a shot as Thomas and Kelly. If Randle-El is gone there may be some interest in free agents. It's possible Snyder may even consider a guy like T.O. or Antonio Bryant to bolster the WR troops. But a draft pick? It's not looking that likely to me right now. Clearly this is a major need for the organisation but as a draft need? Probably Minimal.

Tight Ends
No Need
Chris Cooley's a good NFL Tight End. He was starting the season very well before a broken ankle allowed Fred Davis to showcase his talents as well. This is something of an embarrassment of riches here. In 2010 they're either going to want to keep both these guys on the field more often, or they may see what they can get for Chris Cooley in a trade elswhere. Former Shanny favourite Tony Scheffler plus a draft pick might be perfect for the Skins as a pie in the sky, off the top of my head, scenario. There could be a need for some more depth. At the moment Lee Vickers rounds out the guys on the roster. But we're talking late rounder or UDFA here. Maybe a blocking TE in free agency?

Offensive Line
Major Need
Well this was something of an unmitigated disaster in 2009. That Jason Campbell is still breathing is a minor miracle. There's already rumours of Tony Pashos coming to Washington from the 49ers to play Tackle. Don't you just love how everyone seems to know who the Redskins are going to sign weeks before they'd even be allowed to speak to their representatives? Draw your own conclusions. If that happens it would presumably reduce Stephon Heyer to a backup Tackle role. Which may be a good thing. For a lot of the other guys their future may depend on Shanahan installing his preferred zone blocking scheme. I can't see how guys like Dockery would ever fit it. Too big, too powerful, nowhere near quick enough. A guy like Kory Liechtensteiger though? Well firstly he fits the bill, more notably Shanny drafted him in Denver. He probably has an inside track to a starting slot on the interior line somewhere. Chris Samuels at LT seems likely to retire following neck/spine injury. Making LT a big big need regardless of which blocking scheme the Skins may employ. Randy Thomas is 34 and coming off an injury hit season... in fact is it even worth going on here? The 2010 Redskins OL will bear little resemblance to the 2010 one. I'd call the situation a train wreck but train wrecks rarely generate this many injuries. The Skins could look hard at Russell Okung with their #1 pick, they need a LT almost as much as they're likely to want a QB, tough choice. Maybe someone like a Bruce Campbell or Charles Brown might fall to their second rounder. Both could fit a zone blocking system well too. Shanny had a rep of picking up useful zone blockers later on in the draft. Look for multiple picks.

Defensive Tackle
Major/Minimal Need
The hiring of Jim Haslett could herald a shift to a 3-4 Defense but that's not exactly been confirmed or denied yet. The Redskins have some players who look capable of the shift but I'm not convinced their most expensive free agent to date, Albert Haynesworth is a great fit for either NT (which is something of a waste of his skillset, and for which I think he's a bit tall) nor 3-4DE where he's probably too hefty. Haynesworth is ubertalented and he could play either position but he's going to be even better at DT in the 4-3. If they do shift there are some very good experienced 3-4 NTs in free agency this year. Vince Wilfork and Casey Hampton are two of them. Neither would be cheap but in an uncapped year will that really bother Snyder? If Haynesworth could lose 20lbs he'd be one hell of a 3-4DE and a scary prospect for any OL to deal with. But still, it's not the best way to use him in my opinion and I think Haslett might not introduce a 3-4 immediately. At least not fully convert over. Despite the offense struggling in 2009 the Defense performed pretty well. Perhaps just outside being a Top 10 D and on the cusp of getting better. We've talked about Haynesworth, but what of the others? Well I love Kedric Golston in the 3-4 at DE. I had him pegged as a perfect fit for it out of college. I'm a Steelers fan and we've run the model 3-4 for years now. Golston? He reminded me of Kimo von Oelhoffen who did a great job for us for years. Cornelius Griffin should be a good fit there too. I also think Anthony Montgomery would be a good rotational guy at DE. But there really isn't that NT on the roster, *maybe* Lorenzo Alexander? Got good size but I confess I don't know much about him. So if there's a switch this is going to become a Major Need position. If there's no switch then the Skins have a pretty good situation, and with no CBA Golston and Montgomery are restricted free agents again. Griffin is 33 years old and if the right player came up in the draft they could look to upgrade him, perhaps with a guy who may be more suited to playing NT in 2011?

Defensive End
Minor Need
Andre Carter's continuing what's turned into a very good NFL career as a pass rusher. If the 3-4 switch comes I've really addressed Defensive End in the DT section, 3-4DEs generally being more like DTs anyway. So let's talk about the pass rush here. You've got Carter who's great. You get rookie phenom Brian Orakpo on the edge on passing downs as well. That's nasty. With the talk of a 3-4 this is the likely pairing you'd be looking at in the OLB positions. Carter's done it before, with varying levels of success in San Francisco but I think he's improved overall as a player since then and he'd handle it a lot better now if he's pressed into it again. That pairing is probably the biggest reason to shift to a 3-4. But swings and roundabouts, perhaps you get more disruption on the edge, you're going to lose disruption up the middle from Haynesworth. There's not a huge amount underneath these guys either in terms of a pass rush and that's a problem. Rotations are becoming more and more important so getting another guy who can spell in and hurry the QB would be nice. If they stick with the 4-3 they'll hope for a bit more from supplemental pick Jeremy Jarmon but he may not be a real option as a 3-4 OLB. In fact I'm not seeing an awful lot of depth at 3-4 OLB at all should they switch over, just Chris Wilson who has some pass rush ability but is still a work in progress. So yeah there's definitely scope there to improve depth in the pass rush here but it's not the biggest need on the team. One other thing worth mentioning, Andre Carter has a big option due this offseason, if it's not paid he'll be a free agent in 2011. That could be a consideration.

Linebackers Minimal Need
I'm tempted to say London Fletcher can't go on forever, but he'd probably only prove me wrong. He seems to do that every year, maybe this year I'll draft him in my Fantasy Football team finally! And hey, congrats on the Probowl big fella, long long long overdue and richly deserved. At 34 there must come a point where you're looking to replace him but it doesn't need to be with an impact rookie. Fletch has experience in the 3-4 as well. Perfect. Rocky McIntosh is a solid guy, should fit in nicely in one of the ILB slots in the 3-4 or just continue doing a good job at OLB if they stick in a 4-3. Orakpo is the strong side guy in the 4-3 right now. Depth could use a bit of an upgrade, most of the other guys are more suited to special teams, H.B. Blades looks to have bulked up a bit to play more of a role. A day 2 depth pick with promise would be a smart move but depth is really all they require this year.

Cornerback Minor Need
DeAngelo Hall has one slot locked down. Carlos Rogers is definitely upgradeable but they drafted Kevin Barnes out of Maryland with their second pick last year (3rd round). Big things are expected of him. He has great athleticism and good size. But he is a project and may take time. As for Rogers, he was benched this season but it looked more like punishment over one game. But still no interceptions despite starting most games isn't exactly awesome. Rogers is a free agent this year. Fred Smoot is due a lot of money this year and next which makes him a candidate for the chop as well. All of this is meaning they're hoping for a lot from the likes of Barnes, Byron Westbrook and Marcus McCauley. Unless they're willing to fork out to keep Smoot and/or Rogers they really need to be looking for someone who could start if Barnes isn't ready. Chances of finding a starting CB in the draft are pretty slim unless you're willing to spend the #4 on Joe Haden. So I'm leaving this as a Minor need as it couldn't hurt to draft a rookie as well but the immediate need (if Rogers is gone) really needs to be filled with a vet.

Safety Minimal Need
When they get all their players back from injury things look fairly good in the Safety slots. LaRon Landry hasn't lived up to his draft slot but he's a Safety. He's just not going to make too many plays on the ball, which of course a lot of teams want from a guy drafted so high. Part of me wants to say he'd be better as a Strong Safety than at Free Safety but it's not like the Skins pass defense did badly last season. The combo of Reed Doughty and Chris Horton filled out the SS role and contributed hugely to that as well. Maybe they could look to add more of a ballhawking FS type and gradually shift Landry to SS? With the needs on Offense and other slots needed if they switch to a 3-4D that seems like something of a luxury pick given that the pass D was pretty solid anyway.

Specialists Minor Need

On the kicking side they're bringing Graham Gano (who nailed 4 out 4 FGs at the end of the year) and Justin Medlock, a promising kicker who spent the 2009 season kicking almost everything for the Toronto Argonauts. It might not inspire the greatest confidence but it's highly likely one of these two will be the opening day kicker for the Redskins. It's highly unlikely they'll be looking for another Kicker before Week 2! Hunter the Punter (aka Hunter Smith) is the incumbent Punter but he's a free agent this year having had just one injury interrupted season with the Skins. These things mean there's a possible need for a Punter in the draft. You can get Punters most places but I'm a big fan of burning a draft pick on a really good young one. It's tough to find starters in the 6th and 7th rounds, meaning a specialist is a good value pick if there's some talent there. Smith did ok last year when he played, high percentage inside the 20, forced a lot of Fair catches... not an outstanding average but without looking at the play by play or the videos the number of fair catches and inside the 20 punts suggests he was kicking to a short field fairly often. That makes your punt average look pretty lousy.

Return Game
Major Need
Needs a big upgrade. Rock Cartwright used to be a good return man but he got phased out in favour of Devin Thomas, who didn't do much either. The punt return units didn't do much better. Whether they'd be willing to spill a draft pick on a return man is a question mark but I'd expect a few guys to be in for tryouts. Perhaps a guy they get in at RB might offer some return abilities?

Dream Day One

1.4 Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma
2.36 Charles Brown OT USC

Player Visits
To be updated

Last Edited: 02/14/2010

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