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The 5 O'Clock Club: Re-shaping the defense

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Arizona Cardinals v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

Today, I’m gonna ignore the question of the 2018 starting quarterback for the Redskins. Let’s just assume, for the sake of discussion, that it gets worked out... Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Case Keenum... doesn’t matter. For today, we tick the starting QB box and move on to the next idea.

Defense wins championships

The standard catechism says that a team with a strong defense can win with an average quarterback (hello 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2016 Houston Texans, 2015 Denver Broncos, 1981 Washington Redskins). For the past several years, the Redskins have been trying to do it the other way, but following last year’s successful defensive-focused off season, the Redskins have an opportunity that they haven’t had in a long time:

I think the Redskins can achieve a top-10 defense THIS year by re-signing some key players, and using some high draft picks on defense.

Here’s my look at the projected depth chart for the 2018 defense:

DE - Jonathan Allen / Stacy McGee / Terrell McClain


DE - Matt Ioannidis / Anthony Lanier

OLB - Preston Smith / (Trent Murphy) / Ryan Anderson

ILB - (Zach Brown) / Zach Vigil

ILB - DRAFT PICK / Martrell Spaight

OLB - Ryan Kerrigan / (Junior Galette)

CB - Fabian Moreau / Quinton Dunbar

CB - Josh Norman / DRAFT PICK

Nickel - Kendall Fuller

SS - D.J. Swearinger / Deshazor Everett

FS - Montae Nicholson / [Su’a Cravens] / DRAFT PICK

This still leaves room for about 1 or 2 more depth players who will primarily play special teams.


What I’m suggesting is that the Redskins can use 4 of their top 5 picks on defense, aiming to get two starters (ILB & DL) and two backups (CB & FS).

I’m thinking that a first round pick might be someone like Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia or Vita Vea, NT, Washington State.

Re-signing 3 - 4 2017 Redskin defensive players

This plan assumes that the ‘Skins can re-sign Murphy, Zach Brown and Junior Galette. They have already re-signed Quinton Dunbar.

Signing UFAs from other teams

I’m not advocating bringing in any outside free agents for the defense. To allow the defensive focus in the draft, I’d like to see the Redskins use veteran free agents to patch up the offense where (remember that we’ve assumed that we’ve already solved the QB issue) the key weak spots are WR, LG and RB.

The result

The defense that would result from this approach would be a combination of youth & experience, speed & strength, with no obvious weaknesses, and a clear succession plan to help the team move forward into future years.


With the players CURRENTLY under contract for 2018, where is the greatest position of need for the Redskins defense?

This poll is closed

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  • 10%
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  • 0%
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712 votes total Vote Now