FanPost

Evaluations of each offensive linemen on the roster

I posted QBs and HBs a little while ago. Skipping to the end now for OLmen. Receivers are also very in-depth for anyone interested. Check them out here if you want.


Offensive Tackle


1. Trent Williams (25/6'5/328 lbs.) Oklahoma, 1st:4 in 2012 [2 years, $25m]: Since the Redskins selected him fourth overall in 2010, Trent Williams has developed into one of the premier tackles in the NFL. He has had some bumps along the way, both on the field and off, but came into the league with a lot of potential and exceptional athleticism, and has improved and added polish since then. Despite his prototypical size and accompanying strength, Williams also has the quickness and agility of of the smaller linemen on the team. Even if he isn't quite dominant yet, one of the best things about him is that he is one of the few top tackles in the league who really excels at both run blocking and pass protection, with 2013 being his best season yet . Objective analysis of blocking is hard, but for what it's worth, Pro Football Focus rated Williams as their best overall tackle (right or left) on the season, finishing as the second best pass blocker and fourth best run blocker, making him one of only three of the top ten tackles who wasn't middling or worse in one of the two. One of my favorite things about Williams is how frequently and effectively he hustles to the outside on screens and outside runs, succeeding at getting his hands on smaller, quicker defensive backs, and preventing them from making a play. If Williams can keep his head on straight and has matured like he claims, he should be a fixture at left tackle for a long time, and hopefully continue adding to what is about to be his second consecutive pro bowl berth.

2. Tyler Polombus (28/6'8/305 lbs) Colorado [1 year, $1.1m]: I've desperately wanted Tyler Polombus replaced as the Redskins' starting right tackle approximately since he was named the Redskins starting right tackle. He's one of the worse starting tackles in the league, a poor fit for the scheme the team has been running (though not a great option for any at this point) and has been frequently overmatched as a Redskin. The team wasn't completely unaware of that and brought in competition at the position this past offseason, but none of it was overwhelming either and Polombus ended up keeping the job. Undoubtedly, the salary cap penalties contributed to the fact that the players brought in were primarily cheap retreads. Pro Football Focus actually rated him very highly this season after some consensus bad years, but I disagree wholeheartedly with that rating; from what I saw, he was at most marginally better than his previous poor play and still a weak link. The fact that Griffin could see the people who beat Polombus coming allowed him to escape, chuck the ball away, or, sometimes, run into a sack by someone else's assignment, thus lowering the hard totals of sacks and hits Polombus technically allowed, but that doesn't actually mean he was doing his job well; he got beaten far too frequently in pass protection, and was a liability in the run game. I'm hopeful that the new regime sees fit to replace him. There are a plethora of offensive tackles in the draft and the team has a lot of cap space, so I would consider it unforgivable to go into next season without a better option at right tackle.

3. Tom Compton (24/6'5/308 lbs.) South Dakota, 2012 [1 year, $570k]: The Redskins drafted Compton out of South Dakota in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. Coaches reportedly liked what they saw from him and felt he has been developing well. After spending most of his first season on the practice squad, he made the active roster in year two as the team's swing tackle. Neither Williams nor Polombus has had a significant injury, so he has played only a small amount, but keeping him as the third tackle without a fourth even on the roster does indicate a lot of confidence in his ability. I wouldn't rely on him to legitimately compete at right tackle next year, but he should be back with the team, which isn't bad for a young guy taken in the 6th.

Guard


1. Kory Lichtensteiger (28/6'2/284 lbs.) Bowling Green [4 years, $15.7m]: Originally drafted by Shanahan when he was in Denver, Lichtensteiger is significantly undersized for a modern-day NFL offensive lineman at 284 lbs., but has the exceptional quickness and agility prized by Shanahan for his zone-blocking scheme. This allows him to quickly get to the second level to block linebackers or pull outside to open up holes in the run game. However, his relative lack of size and strength, and reliance on cut blocking and getting quickly to a position means powerful and athletic defensive tackles can bully him out of the way, especially in pass protection (see: Kevin Williams' week 12 game this season in which he slid over to nose tackle and got in on 3 sacks, which is his most since 2008). Lichtensteiger had a positive 2010 after signing with the Skins, and started the 2011 season well before tearing his ACL. This didn't stop the team from signing him to a lengthy and fairly sizable contract in the off-season. His 2012 was a little rough coming back from the injury, but this season he's been solid, albeit still with some significant down weeks when going up against tackles who can completely overpower him, and a relatively unimpressive last few weeks, when the entire team was falling apart. One good thing about Lichtensteiger is that he's versatile, perhaps even a natural center, so at just 28 years old, he should be able to continue to contribute for a while by moving around even if Adam Gettis (or someone else) proves himself starting-caliber at some point. He's probably overpaid, but still very useful in this scheme.With Gruden likely promoting McVay to offensive coordinator, it seems reasonably likely that Chris Foerster will remain the offensive line coach and the blocking schemes might not change too drastically. That would be in the team's best interest, as switching to anything more resembling a straight-ahead or power blocking scheme would render many of the players-- Lichtensteiger most of all-- useless to the team.

2. Chris Chester (31/6'3/309 lbs.) Oklahoma [2 years, $9.1m]: Chris Chester seems like a great guy, but he isn't a good blocker. Since the Redskins signed him in 2011, he has been consistently and all-around sub-par in all facets of the position. Even at 31, he's still a pretty athletic player (at his combine in 2006 he led all linemen with a 4.83 40-yard dash), but the frequency with which he's beaten in both pass protection and run blocking leave him better suited to a reserve role. He had a decent-but-not-great 2012 season while Lichtensteiger was struggling coming back from his ACL tear, leading some people to believe that left guard is the big issue with the Redskins' line but that isn't the case. Chester regressed back to his norm in 2013, and has 2 seasons of close to 5 million dollar cap hits coming up. The team would be best served cutting him (a savings of $7.5 million over the next season) if he won't take a pay cut.

3. Josh LeRibeus (24/6'3/315 lbs.) SMU [2 years, $1.6m]: It has been an up-and-down road for LeRibeus since the Redskins drafted him in the third round in 2012. I was skeptical of the player at the time, though I was happy with drafting a guard. Since then, he hasn't done much to change my mind, playing sparingly. The Rib showed some promise when he saw the field for two games at the end of his rookie season, but I hoped that he'd oust Chris Chester by now. He may have had a chance this year, but disappointed by coming into camp overweight and out of shape. There's still a chance, but I'm not confident enough that he will ever be more than a solid backup at guard and center to keep me from hoping the team gets a new starting-caliber guard.

4. Adam Gettis (25/6'2/292 lbs.) Iowa [2 years, $1.3m]: This pick greatly pleased me. Undersized and quick, with sound footwork, Gettis is a great fit for a zone blocking scheme and was a good value when he was selected in the 2012 draft's fifth round. It wasn't a game-changing pick, but I definitely preferred it (and still prefer it) to LeRibeus in the third. He has hardly seen the field since being drafted, but may have jumped LeRibeus as the go-to backup guard this season when he was improving while LeRibues was busy getting back into shape. Though I'm not confident in him having never seen him play extensively in the NFL, I wouldn't mind him getting a shot to win a starting spot next year, and if he doesn't then I hope he remains the top backup if any of the interior guys get hurt.

5. Maurice Hurt (23/6'3/329 lbs.) Florida [1 year, $650k]: Hurt is a versatile lineman who has backed up nearly every spot on the line since the Redskins drafted him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He spent his first few months on the practice squad, and once promoted ended up starting a number of games in relief of Lichtensteiger. In 2012, he played both guard and right tackle once Tyler Polombus got injured. This past season, he spent the entire season on the physically unable to perform list and injured reserve. When he's played, he has been unimpressive but showed some promise. He has good speed and agility for his size and seems to work hard at whatever coaches lay in front of him. He should probably never be a starter, but has some value as a versatile backup, going into the final year of his rookie contract.

Center


1. Will Montgomery (30/6'3/309 lbs.) Virginia Tech [2 years, $7.4m]: To an even greater degree than Lichtensteiger, Montgomery is useless when going up against a strong nose tackle. He's a smart center who has had a few good years with the Redskins and reportedly has a lot of responsibility making line calls, but his upside is fairly low and a big tackle can just feast on him. He's not very big, not very strong, and doesn't have the outstanding explosion to get into exceptional position before they can start to work on him. In general he does a great job getting to the next level and blocking linebackers in the run game, which Shanahan liked from his interior linemen, and avoids major gaffes in pass protection if his opposition isn't anything special. Unfortunately, there are too many times I've seen him thrown into the backfield by an athletic tackle, giving the skill players no chance to do anything regardless of whether it's Griffin hoping for a pocket or Morris trying to get to a seam. He had a big hand in the Kevin Williams debacle I referenced in Lichtensteiger's entry. He is still a good center, but with significant flaws. Maybe having a bigger guard to his left or better guard to his right would help him out. I'd be fine with having him back, but he's not likely to be a terribly long term solution, and in the next year or two, I wouldn't mind seeing Montgomery and Lichtensteiger competing for the center position between a better pair of guards.

2. J.D. Walton (26/6'3/305 lbs.) Baylor [free agent]: Walton was drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos in 2010. Starting every game as a rookie, he was sub-par, but improve noticeably as the year went on, allowing no sacks or quarterback hits in the eight games after the team's week 9 bye compared to five in the first eight games. His 2011 season was largely a disappointment, though he again started every game. 2012 saw him start fairly strong before an ankle injury in week 4 landed him on IR. In December, he was waived by the Broncos. The Redskins claimed him even though he wasn't going to play to allow them to get to know him and have a chance to re-sign him before the start of free agency. Walton was also RG3's center at Baylor for two seasons before entering the NFL. With largely lackluster play so far, there aren't any guarantees, but it's a low-risk move that could end up paying dividends. I like it. Even with the coaching staff that claimed him ousted, it wouldn't be surprising if he was kept around and given a shot to make the roster next season.

3. Tevita Stevens (26/6'3/300 lbs.) Utah [reserve/future, 1 year]: Stevens was an undrafted free agent who spent this past season on the Redskins' practice squad. They liked him enough to keep him around through the off-season and see if they think they have anything, but don't expect a future.

4. Kevin Kowalski (25/6'3/298 lbs.) Toledo [reserve/future, 1 year]: After being undrafted out of Toledo, Kowalski spent 2011 and 2012 with Dallas, playing sparingly at center and occasionally guard across a number of games as a backup. He spent this past season as a free agent before the Redskins signed him to a reserve/future contract to spend the off-season evaluating him.

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