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Building Greg Manusky a Defense

The Redskins need to invest heavily on defense for new coordinator Greg Manusky.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The promotion of Redskins outside linebacker coach Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator was met with ire and disdain by lots of Redskins fans. The feeling of many is that the Redskins needed a big-name defense coordinator that could come in and immediately change the culture of our defense. Manusky is not widely viewed as that guy.

That however, does not matter to Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden. The sentiment around Redskins park is that Manusky was chosen because of his familiarity with the current players, and his aggressive style of defense; a sharp contrast to what we saw during the 2016 season under Joe Barry.

Regardless of the scheme or attitude Manusky will bring, he needs players to execute his system. That is where the Golden Boy Scot McCloughan comes in.

Since joining the Redskins as general manager in 2015, McCloughan has promised to build through the draft. His focus and philosophies however, have been a bit baffling. In 2015, he passed on arguably the most talented defensive linemen(a position the Redskins were in need of a major upgrade) in the draft, Leonard Williams, to select guard Brandon Scherff at number five overall. In the second round, he chose defensive end Preston Smith, even though he didn't profile as a stand-up 3-4 outside linebacker. The third round saw him choose Matt Jones, an oft injured running back from Florida, with limited college production. Last season, the Redskins had a wealth of talent at wide receiver, yet McCloughan chose TCU standout Josh Doctson with the team's first round pick. In the second round, with the Redskins in desperate need of defensive line and safety help, Scot chose USC linebacker hybrid Su'a Cravens. The ink had yet to dry on the massive $75 million contract Josh Norman had just signed, but McCloughan chose to draft cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was coming off microfracture knee surgery, in the third round. These actions tell us that McCloughan does not follow conventional wisdom. He certainly marches to the beat of his own drum.

Last season, the Redskins failed to address the sieve that was their defensive front seven in free agency or the draft, and that cost the team dearly. McClougan attempted to place a bandaid over a gun-shot wound by signing cheap, unheralded free agents such as Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, Cullen Jenkins(mid-season signing), David Bruton, Will Blackmon(re-signed) and Donte Whitner(mid-season signing). Reyes, Bruton and Whitner were cut/injured during the season. The results: The team finished 28th in total yards allowed, 19th in points allowed, 25th in passing yards allowed, and 24th in rushing yards allowed. They finished dead last in the NFL in opponent third down conversion percentage allowing teams to convert on 46.63% of third downs.

New defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said during an interview on ESPN980, that he would stick with the 3-4 defense, but there will be differences how the team defends the run. During the interview with hosts Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell, Manusky spoke about his team being able to stop the run, saying, "we're looking for guys to set an edge and make sure the inside linebackers know the edge is set and the inside guys can go strike iron downhill and, like I say, crack some skulls." Manusky also added, "as an inside linebacker, I won't have anyone run the ball on us. That's the most important thing. It breaks you down like, what else can I do? Up front, we have to dominate the front. Linebackers, take heed because we're going to come downhill and start striking iron."

Of course saying something and doing that same something are two different things. Manusky may SAY all the right things, but without the right personnel, his talk may be cheap.

This is where McCloughan needs to step up his game!

2017 free agency is littered with prospects along the defensive front and at linebacker, and the Redskins should have plenty of money to spend. The draft is heavy at linebacker and safety. One would think this sets up very well to get Manusky the pieces he needs on defense to at least put a respectable product on the field.

But one can only hope...

The Plan:

To stop the run, and collapse the pocket in the passing game, the Redskins need at least two, probably three, additional defensive tackles.

Free Agency:

Option 1:

Dontari Poe(26) 6'3" 346, Brandon Williams(soon-to-be 28) 6'1" 340 or Sylvester Williams(28) 6'2" 313

Option 2:

Johnathan Hankins(24) 6'2" 320, Bennie Logan(27) 6'2" 315, or Kawann Short(soon-to-be 28) 6'3" 315

Option 3:

Akeem Spence(25) 6'1" 307 or Tyson Alualu(29) 6'3" 304


Round 1 prospects:

Solomon Thomas 6'2" 275 - Stanford

Malik McDowell 6'5" 285 - Mich. St.

Round 2 prospects:

Caleb Brantley 6'2" 297 - Florida

Carlos Watkins 6'3" 305 - Clemson

Chris Wormley 6'5" 302 - Michigan

Elijah Qualls 6'1" 321 - Washington

Later round prospects:

Montravius Adams 6'3" 309 - Auburn

Eddie Vanderdose 6'2" 305 - UCLA

Manusky also made mention on a few occasions the importance of the inside linebackers. The unit is in need of a desperate upgrade.

Free Agency:

Option 1:

Zach Brown(27) 6'1" 248 or Kevin Minter(26) 6'0" 246

Option 2:

Manti Te'o(26) 6'1" 241 or Gerald Hodges(26) 6'2" 236


Round 1 prospects:

Reuben Foster 6'1" 236 - Alabama

Raekwon McMillan 6'2" 240 - Ohio St

Zach Cunningham 6'3" 230 - Vanderbilt

Round 2 prospects:

Jarrad Davis 6'1" 238 - Florida

Later Round prospects:

Anthony Walker 6'1" 235 - Northwestern

Kendell Beckwith 6'2" 252 - LSU

Ben Gideon 6'2" 247 - Michigan

Riley Bullough 6'2" 230 - Mich. St.

Finally, this defensive unit is in desperate need of a true ball-hawking safety.

Free Agency:

Option 1:

Eric Berry(28) 6'0" 212

Option 2:

Jonathan Cyprien(26) 6'0" 217, Tony Jefferson(25) 5'11" 212, T.J. McDonald(26) 6'2" 217, Micah Hyde(26) 6'0" 197


Round 1 prospects:

Jamal Adams 6'0" 211 - LSU

Malik Hooker 6'2" 205 - Ohio St.

Jabrill Peppers 6'0" 211 - Michigan

Round 2 prospects:

Budda Baker 5'10" 195 - Washington

Marcus Williams 6'0" 195 - Utah

Eddie Jackson 6'0" 195 - Alabama

Later round prospects:

Justin Evans 6'0" 200 - Texas A&M

Rayshawn Jenkins 6'1" 208 - Miami

Josh Jones 6'2" 215 - NC State

What will GM Scot McCloughan do to add much needed resources to Manusk's new defense? Please outline a plan you'd like to see in the comment section.