With the NFL draft in the books we have a pretty good idea of how the Redskins roster will look heading into the season. While some position battles and the final 53 man roster could have some surprise winners and losers, we have a general idea of the depth and talent at each position group. While we will have plenty of breakdowns of roster battles and position battles, this article is a look at a ranking of our positions groups from strongest to weakest for the 2017 season. Give your thoughts below on both my rankings and your own as we head into the season.
*For the purpose of this I’m breaking it down as the following: Quarterback, Running back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive tackle, Guard/Center, Defensive Line, Outside linebackers, Inside linebackers, Corners, Safeties, Specialists
1 . Offensive tackles-
-This is a pretty easy call here as Trent Williams is arguably the best left tackle in the game (top 3 at worst), and Morgan Moses has developed into one of the better right tackles around the league. If these two tackles can stay healthy (and for Williams not suspended), then the Redskins might have the best bookend tackles in the league. For good measure the Redskins have solid depth in Ty Nsekhe, who filled in pretty well when Williams was suspended last year.
2 . Tight ends-
-Jordan Reed is a top 5 tight end in the league when healthy, and is a dynamic playmaker who is a cornerstone of the passing attack. In the number two spot veteran Vernon Davis, is a good two-way TE and is capable of filling in for Reed’s shoes if he were to get hurt. Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle and Derek Carrier will battle for the 3rd and 4th spots, giving the Redskins plenty of additional depth.
3 . Quarterback-
-While the future beyond 2017 is still in doubt, Kirk Cousins has back-to-back seasons of top 10 QB play, and improved this past year in most statistical categories. Cousins should once again be primed for another big season and help give the Redskins one of the top passing offenses in the league. For good measure the Redskins have a solid back-up option in Colt McCoy if Cousins needed to miss a little time.
4 . Outside linebackers-
-Ryan Kerrigan continues to play at a very good level at one pass rushing spot, while opposite him the Redskins will use a combination of Trent Murphy (after the suspension), Preston Smith, and 2nd rd rookie Ryan Anderson. If Junior Galette can return from injury it will further add to their depth and talent within the group.
5 . Specialists-
-Punter Tress Way and LS Nick Sundberg are both very good players at their positions around the league. Kicker Dustin Hopkins struggled last year, but he could bounce back and be a strong kicker again this year.
6 . Wide Receivers-
-Jamison Crowder is the lone holdover among the top 3 receivers last year, but he’s now taken his game to a high quality level. Terrelle Pryor was a good free agent pick-up, who adds size and physicality to a receiver group that was lacking it. Josh Doctson hopes to rebound from an injury filled rookie year and show Redskins fans why he was a first round talent a year ago. For depth the Redskins added Brian Quick who has been a solid 3rd receiver for the Rams the past two years. Overall it’s a strong group and you could make the case that they should be higher, but some expectations should be tempered. Doctson is bouncing back from a serious injury, Pryor is still developing as a receiver and Crowder could start seeing more top corners now that DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon left via free agency.
7 . Cornerbacks-
-Josh Norman showed that he is a shutdown caliber corner and he’s locked into the top spot on the unit. Hopefully Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller bounce back from pretty poor seasons a year ago. Both corners have the talent and upside to play far better than they did. Giving the Redskins some additional insurance is 3rd rounder Fabian Moreau, who could push for a starting role as a rookie.
8 . Guard/Center-
-Guard Brandon Scherff is on his way to becoming one of the top guards in the league and he could push for All-Pro recognition this year. Spencer Long fared pretty well in his first year at the center position, and their is reason to believe he can improve upon that this year. The reason why this group is ranked lower is there is a pretty big whole at LG as Shaun Lauvao has struggled and dealt with injuries. The Redskins don’t have a lot of depth at the position meaning that it is likely this will be a spot that holds them back some.
9 . Inside linebackers-
-The Redskins added free agent Zach Brown on a 1 year deal this offseason to go along with returning starters Will Compton and Mason Foster. Brown will take over one starting spot and be an improvement over last season. Foster and Compton will fight for the other starting job, with the loser of the battle offering solid depth. While Brown is a nice upgrade, he’s not an elite level player at the position so he can only take this group up so much.
10 . Running backs-
-Heading into the draft this was a bigger concern as the Redskins had one of the thinnest RB depth charts around the league. The Redskins spent a 4th round pick on Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine to upgrade the position and they might have a solid upgrade, as Perine has the skill set to challenge for the starting job as a rookie. Robert Kelley can be a solid number 2 back, while Chris Thompson can be effective as a 3rd down back. It’s still not a great group, but the talent has improved and they could be effective this year.
11 . Defensive Line-
-The Redskins were lucky that DL Jonathan Allen fell in the draft to give them a high upside defensive lineman to help replace Chris Baker. Allen has the potential to be a star player, but he may end up just being a really good player (similar to Baker) which still makes him the top defensive lineman on the team. Washington added Terrell McClain and Stacey McGee in free agency, but they are more just average type starters who profile more as early down rotational guys rather than full time starters. The Redskins depth is still questionable here, though they are hopefully 2nd year players Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier can offer them some decent production.
12 . Safeties-
-It’s tough deciding what should fall in 12th place here, but I went with safety even though the position has some reason for optimism given the signing of D.J. Swearinger and the move of Su’a Cravens to the position. The reason why they ended up in 12th place is because there is the least amount of certainty with this position group. Swearinger is coming off a good season with the Cardinals, but up until that year he’s struggled as a starter and it will remain to be seen if he can succeed outside of playing in Arizona’s talented all-around defense. Cravens is making a position change so you don’t know how he will handle the switch. Also, it’s fair to question if he has enough coverage ability to stick at safety full-time.
Beyond them the Redskins will look to choose from DeAngelo Hall who is coming off multiple injury-filled seasons and is a long shot to make the roster, veteran Will Blackmon, who offers versatility and special teams ability, but is not a player who you want on the field a lot, and 4th round rookie Montae Nicholson, who many believe was highly over-drafted and a major project. There is little depth the Redskins can count on, so with uncertainty at the top it makes for the riskiest position group for Washington heading into the season.
What do you all think?