clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Redskins Offensive Line Dreams are Made of

New, comments

A Redskins all-drafted offensive line...say it ain't so!

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ten years ago, Redskins fans could only dream of an offensive line where every starter was drafted by the team, under 30, and over 6'4" 320 pounds. This Sunday when the Redskins host the Cleveland Browns at FedEx field, that dream will become a reality.

Sure this may not be the Hogs 2.0, but it's as close as we may ever get...

When general manager Scot McCloughan was first hired, he shared his philosophy on offensive linemen with the public in his press conference - "We want big, tough, nasty, strong guys. I want this team when they go out - when you get done playing the Washington Redskins, you know you're playing them. You're going to feel it. I want those guys. We get late in the year and playoff runs and cold weather and nasty games and field conditions, you need to be able to run the football."

More specifically, here is what Scot McCloughan wants from his offensive linemen:

"With tackles, especially with left tackles, we know - we're lucky to have Trent here - size, are length, foot quickness, flexibility in the lower body, being able to adjust, movement. I think you want your tackles to be your bigger guys - taller and longer. With our guards and with coach Callahan and what our plans are is power. You know, in-line power. We're talking 320-plus pounds hopefully, coming off, head-butting and going."

"The center, of course, is usually the leader. He needs to be highly intelligent, be able to read the defenses and make the checks he needs to make. I'll give a little bit on athletic ability  - especially inside at guard and center - for just a consistent football player that gets out there every day and you know exactly what you've got"

In 2015, before the NFL Draft, McCloughan said they were addressing the line. Well, address the line he did. With the fifth overall pick, the Redskins chose Iowa offensive linemen Brandon Scherff who was widely viewed as the best offensive linemen in the draft. The former Outland Trophy winner has everything McCloughan looks for in an offensive linemen. Scherff is 6'5" 320 plus pounds, with 33 3/8 inch arms, excellent feet, powerful hands and a nasty mentality. He was a team captain, a weight room warrior, and is known to be a physical mauler in the run game, generating power from his explosive hips and hand punch.

Three rounds later Scot selected Alabama offensive guard Arie Kouandjio. Kouandjio, who is listed at 6'5 325 pounds, is again built in the mold of the type of offensive linemen that McCloughan described in his introductory press conference. He is known for his in-line power as a run blocker, and is a guy who plays through the whistle and finishes his blocks with a bit of attitude. In in pass protection, Arie has long arms, and uses them effectively to redirect defenders.

New starting center Spencer Long may not have been drafted specifically by McCloughan, but he possesses all the intangibles Scot wants. Long is an intelligent player. At Nebraska, the former walk-on was an academic All-American, who plans on eventually attending medical school. He doesn't have a ton of experience playing center in the NFL, but he has the tools to work with. At 6'5" 320 plus pounds, Long is quicker than he is fast, plays with high energy, a great motor, and displays excellent awareness of defensive flow, consistently taking smart angles to execute reach blocks and get to defenders at the second level. NFL scouts said he can squat a small house, and has a strong initial punch to go with his impressive leg drive. His 28 reps of 225 pounds at Nebraska's Pro Day would have placed him in the top quarter of offensive line participants at the combine.

In Morgan Moses, who was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Redskins got another typical Scot McCloughan offensive linemen. The 25 year old 6'6" 335 pound right tackle was viewed by some draft analysts as a first round talent, who just needed to hone his skills. Moses has the size, length and attitude Scot covets in his tackles. He lacks great foot quickness and hip flexion, but he has improved drastically in both areas since his days at Virginia.

Not much needs to be said about Trent Williams. The old man of the group at just 28, the All-Pro left tackle is one of the games' best. He has incredible feet and hips, ideal length, incredible size(6'5" 325), and plays with a mean streak. If you were creating a left tackle on Madden, Williams is what you'd likely come up with.

This new-look offensive line of the Redskins averages 6'5" 325 pounds plus, and has youth on its side. Every starter was drafted by the team no later than the fourth round, and two of the players were top 5 picks(Williams and Scherff). Gone are the days of under-sized centers who were under 6'3" and 290 pounds, and spend more time in the backfield than our running backs. Gone are the days of right tackles who needed to do yoga in the offseason so their aging backs could withstand the rigors of training camp. Gone are the days of old, human turnstiles at both guard positions. Yes, this offensive line is a thing of pure beauty!

So, what can we expect moving forward?

Well, for one thing, we can expect to not be man-handled up front anymore. When your line averages 6'5' 325 plus pounds per man, and has extremely powerful blockers, I don't expect to see many plays where our linemen are walked into the lap of Kirk Cousins. I also expect to see a very athletic group, as our right guard was a former left tackle with quick feet, and our center was a former guard who excelled at pulling and hitting moving targets in space. Furthermore, this group has attitude, and plays with a chip on their shoulders. They are young, hungry and out to prove they belong in this league.

The future is surly bright for this unit. The sky is the limit for a group that only five years ago was considered an achillies heal of the offense.

Now, we usher in a new era - an era it seemed at one point was just a dream. That dream has now become a reality. Enjoy your new present Redskins fans...Christmas has come early to DC!