My pick is nose tackle Anthony Bryant, who was inactive for most of the 2010 season until Albert "Head Case" Haynesworth was suspended for the final four games. The Redskins are in dire need of a nose tackle to operate in the 3-4 defense, and Bryant, unlike Haynesworth, is indeed a true nose tackle. He has the body for the position (6-3, 350 pounds) and has proved he’s able to blow up plays in the middle of the line. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has said, however, that Bryant has a tendency to play too high at times. Bryant had 18 tackles last season, eight solo.
Bryant began seeing solid playing time in the Tampa Bay game on Dec. 12, and his reps remained steady the rest of the season. Haslett had this to say about Bryant on Dec. 30, a few days after the Redskins beat Jacksonville, 20-17, and held the Jaguars to 78 yards rushing: "I thought he read things well. They were running power and running a lot of things. He read things well, held his gap, pushed the pocket. He didn’t give ground on a lot of things. I bet the linebackers appreciated that. I thought the front three did a great job on the run game."
Bryant, who’ll be entering his fifth season, has been a journeyman. He signed as a free agent with the Redskins in April 2010, marking the fifth stop in his NFL career. Given that it’s a virtual certainty Haynesworth will never again be a Redskin, Mike Shanahan and company will likely be eyeing a promising nose tackle in next month’s draft. That could push Bryant out of the picture. Then again, with Haslett’s tutelage, he could become the dominant man in the middle that the Redskins are seeking.
Mike Richman (a.k.a. Redskins Historian) is the author of the Washington Redskins Football Vault and The Redskins Encyclopedia. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his Web site is www.redskinshistorian.com.