Jimmy over at BloggingTheBeast had an article today addressing an NFL.com report on the Top 5 Deepest Teams in the NFL for 2012. The other teams are the Patriots, Steelers, Lions(?), and Bears(?). As both Jimmy and I agree, the Cowboys being on this list is head scratching, to say the least. I think there are multiple teams in the NFCE alone with more depth than the Cowboys (possibly all of them). Here is the link to Jimmy's article, which breaks down his thoughts on the Cowboys' depth.
My thoughts on the Skins' improved/improving depth after the jump...
2012 Skins Depth
The numbered criteria are the considerations that Pat Kirwin of NFL.com used to come up with his Top 5.
So, look at the 2012 Redskins and ask yourself: Do the Redskins have...
1. A backup quarterback who can go at least 2-2 if he had to take over for a month straight.
Yes. Grossman is a Top 10 NFL backup and had a month stretch where he went 3-1 last season.
2. A second running back who could be a 1,000 yard back if he had to take over or at least generate 75 yards of offense a week as a runner and receiver.
Hightower, Helu, and Royster each averaged 75 yards of offense during the games they got significant time in. Health is a concern, but quality depth is there and this IS a Shanahan offense. Insert name here could and has in the past earned 1000 yards rushing consistently in his ZBS. An emphatic YES.
3. A third wide receiver who could go in for a starter down and generate 4-6 receptions a game as an X or a Z.
4. A second tight end who could be a legitimate threat as a blocker or receiver.
TE is very deep with the Skins. Behind Fred Davis, you have your choice of Cooley, who if healthy is a very strong #2 TE. Even beyond Cooley you have an athletic, pass-catcher in Niles Paul (though inexperienced at TE). Even past that, Logan Paulson is a strong blocker and has made big catches in the offense when needed. An emphatic YES here also.
5. Two experienced backup offensive linemen. A swing tackle for either side and an inside player for the guards/center. Experience required because they will not get many reps in practice until injuries occur.
This is debatable. The Redskins backup linemen (Mo Hurt, Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus) got some experience last year due to injuries. While nothing spectacular came from this, they did gain experience in the trenches in an NFL season and didn’t make too big a fools of themselves (mostly). With the drafting of LeRibeus in the 3rd round as well as Adam Gettis in the 5th, both of whom project well in the ZBS, there is finally some depth on the Skins OL. It is yet to be seen if any of this depth will actually turn into production on the field for a sustained amount of time, but its still depth. I give this a PUSH. Though it seems to be trending the right direction and only time will tell.
6. A third defensive tackle already in a rotation that could play a whole game well if a starter went down.
This is a close one, but I am leaning towards a NO. Behind Barry Cofield, you have Chris Neild who had some moments last year in spot/roation duty. However, behing Neild you have Chris Baker, Kentwan Balmer and Delvin Johnson. I assume they could play the whole game if needed, but most likely not very effectively.
7. A pass rush specialist that could play some run down situations if a starter went down.
The Skins 3-4 makes this one an interesting question. Its hard to count their OLBs as pass rush specialists as they ask their OLBs to be active in run protection and pass protection. So looking at their DE depth, you can look to Jarvis Jenkins as a pass rush specialist at DE in the 3-4 who is also capable of playing in run down situations if Carriker went down. I give this a stong YES.
8. A fourth corner back that could bump up to the nickel corner if that player had to replace an injured starter.
Yes. With Wilson and Hall as starters and Cedric Griffin as nickel, Kevin Barnes is capable of stepping into the nickel if called upon. He played here all last season. There is an outside shot that one of rookies also is able to make that jump. If Chase Minnifield continues to progress off of his knee injury, he may become one of the steals of the offseason.
9. A third safety that can start or provide a defense with an opportunity to play some ‘Big Nickel’ when needed.
Not a chance. While they do have a high number of safeties in camp, they barely have two starters.
10. Four core special team players that could help on offense or defense in a pinch. That is a total of 14 players not listed as starters that become the most important people on a roster when injuries take starters off the field. Which teams look the most ready to answer the challenge of roster depth?
Also tough to tell. Niles Paul was a special teams standout last year as a rookie and he is capable of contributing on offense when needed. Lorenzo Alexander is an excellent special teams Captain who can also fill multiple needs on Defense, if needed. Rob Jackson also plays on special teams and can help out on D. I will assume that Keenan Robinson, 4th round LB out of Texas, will see significant time on special teams and might even get some snaps on D this year. So, I will give this a YES as well.
So, totaling all of that up I come away with 7 YES answers, 2 NO answers and 1 PUSH.
By the same count, Jimmy calculated that the Cowboys came away with 3 YES, 2 PUSH and 5 NOs. In his opinion that is not Top 15 depth.
What do you guys think about the Skins depth using these parameters compared to the rest of the NFCE?