Offseason Position Primers: Defensive Line

Ok, I've done this once already with the Offensive Line, which is a long, but informative read. This one should be a little more simple as we have a lot of players under contract for the 2012 season. Lets take a look at our depth heading into the offseason:

DE - S. Bowen/A. Carriker (FA)/J. Jenkins/K. Golston (FA): Kentawn Balmer and Darrion Scott are also on the depth chart, but I don't really consider them significant. They may be back in camp to compete for a spot. They may not. They key decisions to be made are on Carriker and Golston. I am very inclined to bring both of these guys back, simply because they have been good solid Redskins. They have consistently performed their jobs on Sundays and on the practice field and should be rewarded by Dan Snyder. We paid for it in the past not resigning core guys like Antonio Pierce and Ryan Clark and we need to start rewarding our own players. Besides, they play a position that is heavily rotated and will be on the lower rungs of the depth chart anyway. Carriker may be a little costly, but I don't think too much more than we are willing to pay. He's obviously not going to be at a cap killing number. Pay the man. Bring those guys back and we are set at the position.

NT - Cofield/Nield: Good, but thin. Love the way Cofield played from Day 1. But he could definitely be rotated from NT to DE and everyone knows it. We suffered against the run last year because we didn't have a true plug in the middle of the line. Nield is a nice prospects who projects out to fill a Cofield-type mold himself, with an aggressive, attacking style. He was even very good at times in his rookie season. That being said, I think that we will definitely look to bring in a different style of NT this year so that we can use more effective sub packages against the run. Lets look at the top available players:

FA- Sione Pouha (NYJ), Paul Soliai (MIA), Brodrick Bunkley (DEN)
Draft- Dontari Poe (MEM), Alameda Ta'amu (WASH), Nick Jean-Baptiste (BAY)

Wow. I would be more than happy to land any one of these guys. The market is such that if we do not get one of these guys or a similar guy that Shanahan and Allen have on their radar, it would be a failure. For a reasonable contract a big run stuffer like the above should be a no brainer for the Skins. Poe and Ta'amu are probably first and second round picks, which I have project us using on OT and QB, I would rule them out. Pouha is the oldest of the bunch at 33, so I also rule him out. I've read some promising things about Jean-Baptiste and maybe we could use a 3rd or 4th on him or somehow trade around to get him in that range. He sounds like a bull, and lining him up with Jarvis Jenkins for years to come could cause havoc at the line of scrimmage. I also like Soliai and Bunkley alot. They both fit the mold of what we need in pure run stuffer, rotational run sub nose tackles. I'll take any of the 3, but I'll pencil in Soliai, just because he makes the most sense. He is leaving the Dolphins as they switch to a 4-3 and we will likely over pay a little bit, but won't get crushed on the cap number. The move allows us to save a roster spot with the luxury of rotating Barry Cofield to DE, so you have to like the shrewd roster management as well.

Projected 2012 DL:

DE: Bowen/Carriker/Jenkins/Cofield/Golston
NT: Cofield/Soliai/Nield

Solid. Flexibility to dominate against the run and the pass at the point of attack. I think Haslett's expectation would be that Jenkins and Cofield would be the two every down guys on the line and Carriker, Soliai and Bowen are the main rotational/situational guys. Only one addition which shouldn't impact chemistry to much and the cap allocation is not at all unreasonable for this unit.

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