Washington Redskins: 3 Undrafted Free Agents That Can Make an Immediate Impact
The 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone, and now we look forward to start of mini-camps and offseason training. The Washington Redskins draft was highlighted by the selection of Robert Griffin III as the apparent franchise quarterback. A slew of less than sexy selections rounded out draft weekend with the only other storyline being the controversy caused by drafting Kirk Cousins.
Despite the enthusiasm for the NFL Draft, there is an important event that takes place immediately after which can benefit many teams; the signing of undrafted players. With the NFL draft only lasting 7 rounds, there are a number of quality players available that can bring an immediate impact. Here, we will examine three undrafted players that have signed with the Redskins and can yield quick results.
Chase Minnifield, CB Virginia
Chase Minnifield is terrific zone corner that was expected to be drafted in the late second/early third round before suffering a knee injury late last season. The injury required minor surgery but injury concerns and a deep cornerback draft class pushed Minnifield beyond the seventh round. Many draft analysts were shocked to see Minnifield fall completely out of the draft pool which should make Redskins fans excited.
Minnifield's talent is undeniable from the college tape. An excellent zone corner with the versatility to play special teams (over 1000 return yards in college). Exceptional speed and route recognition allows Minnifield to get a good break on the ball and make big plays.
While Minnifield is not in the class of Morris Claiborne or Janoris Jenkins, he is a talented player that will add some much needed depth to the Washington Redskins secondary. Do not be surprised to see Minnifield emerge as the starting corner in nickel or dime packages; overall a steal.
Lance Lewis, WR East Carolina
Lance Lewis joins the Washington Redskins and an interesting combination of receivers. The Redskins made moves in free agency to bring in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. These two will battle with Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson to be RG3's primary targets. Garcon, Moss and Morgan all bring vertical speed that will be used to stretch the field and make the most of RG3's cannon, but there is a missing piece here.
Lewis is an underrated receiver that brings consistency with his routes and hands to an offense that is focusing on deep routes. Lewis is not a burner but can be a reliable underneath target, similar to Jason Avant for the Eagles. The combination of fluid hips and good route running allow Lewis to create separation despite his speed.
If Lewis is able to make the team, do not be surprised to see him as a reliable fourth or fifth option on passing downs.
Vaughn Meatoga, NT Hawaii
Vaughn Meatoga is a big, ferocious nose tackle that can add depth at one of the most important positions in a 3-4 defense. Barry Cofield played well at times and the Redskins invested a seventh round pick in Chris Nield last year, but don't sleep on Meatoga. With his size and a good first step, Meatoga can wreak havoc against an offensive line.
Where Meatoga needs to improve is with his initial push. At just under 300 pounds, Meatoga needs to add more weight to his frame in order to truly dominate the nose position. While it is traditionally difficult to find quality nose tackles in the undrafted ranks, Meatoga should get an opportunity to flash his skills this season. Cofield will rotate between the nose and defense end position allowing Meatoga to split time with Nield.
Meatoga's production will not come in the form of high sack or tackle numbers, but from those around him. A great nose tackle disrupts the play from the very beginning and forces the offensive line to clamp down, opening up lanes on the outside. With a solid nose tackle, look for Orakpo and Kerrigan's numbers to increase this season.