This will be the first of many position primers I am going to do on the Redskins as we head into free agency and the draft. I am starting with the offensive line, because it is the most intriguing and enigmatic of all the positions. There may be lots of change this offseason, there also may be no change at all. It is supposedly an area we believe we need to upgrade, however they performed quite well last season, even on its final legs. It will also probably be the most in-depth because I am lumping in 3 positions (G,C,T). First lets take a what we had in place at the end of 2011 (under contract or significant expiring contracts):
LT- T. Williams/W. Smith: Williams is solid and potentially still improving, not to mention a good fit for the ZBS. Willie Smith proved he can be a quality backup at either tackle position. We are definitely set at the most important position on the offensive line.
LG- M. Hurt/K. Lichtensteiger (RFA): Lichtensteiger is coming off a major injury and wont be ready for the start of training camp. Hurt seemed to play well down the stretch last season, especially for a rookie, with the running game firing on all cylinders. I wouldn't mind seeing Hurt retain the starting job in training camp and having Kory push him when he returns, but we could choose to upgrade the position or add depth if we decide not to retain Kory. Lets look at the top options:
FA - Carl Nicks (NO), Ben Grubbs (BAL),
Draft - David DeCastro (STAN), Cordy Glenn (UGA), Kevin Zeitler (WISC), Nate Potter (BSU)
We aren't getting DeCastro and I don't see us throwing a huge contract at Nicks or Grubbs, though if we were to spend big bucks at G, I would say Grubbs is the more likely of the two. Glenn is probably as unlikely as he is unfit for the ZBS, though I like his versatility and is not completely out of the question. However, I love the idea of using a lot of picks on the OL this. Specifically, I would love to use our 3rd round pick on Zeitler or our 4th or 5th on Potter, or a similar quality of player the front office may be looking at in the draft. Hurt and Zeitler could play either guard position and we could also bring back Kory, who can play all 3 interior line positions.
C- W. Montgomery (UFA)/E. Cook - Montgomery is very good within the ZBS, but Cook doesn't seem to be a fit. Unfortunately, Cook is under contract and Montgomery is not. This is another position that could turnover. Let's take a look at the top options.
FA- Chris Meyers (HOU)
Draft- Michael Brewster (OSU)
Meyers is probably the best fit of any free agent on the market this offseason and would be an obvious upgrade at C and the offensive line as a whole. The Redskins also have tons of money to spend in free agency. I don't have the going crazy this year in free agency, but they will spend. Signing Meyers just makes too much sense, basically. I also love taking Brewster in the 5th. He is ideal for the ZBS and we could groom him for a few years while Meyers mans the position.
RG- C. Chester - He is solid here, but doesn't excel in the run or pass game, so there is certainly room for upgrade here. However, with Lichtensteiger, Zeitler and Hurt also being able to play the position, a move here isn't really neccesary. Have Kory, Zeitler, Hurt and Chester compete for the guard spots during camp. That is the type of depth and competition that builds strong offensive lines.
RT - T. Polumbus/J. Brown - I believe that Jamaal Brown is sadly not going to be able to bite this injury bug and may need to retire at this stage. In any case, the Redskins need to release him and his mammoth contract. Even if he is healthy his play has declined far beyond his price tag and it would be stupid for the Redskins to not release him. Polumbus provides good depth at tackle and is a perfect fit within the ZBS, but is not really starting material. This is the position that I would most love to upgrade on the offensive line, but also possibly the the thinnest in FA and draft. Lets take a look at the top options:
FA- Demetrius Bell (BUF)
Draft- Riley Reiff (Iowa), Mike Adams (OSU), Zebrie Sanders (FSU)
Bell actually makes some sense, but I have little reason to believe the Redskins have interest. I strongly believe the Redskins are targeting some combination of QB/T with their first and second round picks. If we take Tannehill at #6, then Sanders will probably be the second round pick. We could also take Reiff at #6 and hope Tannehill falls to the second round or take Brandon Weeden with the second. We could also get really clever and trade down to take Adams and Tannehill. Neither scenario would surprise me, but I would be surprised if we don't see one of the above scenarios come to fruition. Without crossing to much over into the QB Position Primer, the thought of bringing back Grossman and Jamaal Brown on this offense makes me ill. Alas, lets split the difference and slot in Mike Adams as our new starting RT.
Potential offensive line in 2012:
RG - Zeitler/Chester
RT - Adams/Polumbus
This was the offseason to overhaul the offensive line and it can be down with a similar scenario as this where we wouldn't have to spend to much money in free agency. There is a lot of youth but Meyers is a leader and Williams and Lichtensteiger are coming of age. Chester is a veteran too and could hold down the job at RG for another year while Zeitler learns the ZBS. Overall I think it is very solid and best of all everyone fits the ZBS and holdovers/misfits from the Gibbs and Zorn era are at last purged this offseason.