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Competitors: London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff
The Redskins finally re-signed London Fletcher (hallelujah), so naturally he can be expected to start all 16 games and make a thousand more tackles this year.
The big question mark here is at the other 3-4 inside linebacker spot, where they have four legitimate options to work with.
Perry Riley has a lot of physical strengths, but he has shown weaknesses in coverage. In a 3-4 defense, the inside linebackers are often asked to drop back in coverage on a tight end or running back.
Lorenzo Alexander has been terrific on special teams, but he may be the Reed Doughty of the linebacking core—a smart player who makes tackles, but just doesn’t have the athletic ability to get consistent playing time.
Keenan Robinson and Jonathan Goff are the two mysteries of this group.
Robinson is a rookie from Texas who showed great athleticism at the combine. In theory, his speed makes him best suited for the job, but he is just a rookie and thus carries rookie expectations.
Goff is even more vexing—in 2010, Goff recorded 80 tackles with the Giants and looked great. He tore his ACL after that great campaign, however, and missed the entire 2011 season. If he can recover and return to form, what a duo he and Fletcher could form up the middle.
Prediction: Everything hinges on Goff’s injury. If he heals, he should be the guy. If not, look for Riley to play a lot on running downs and a combination of Alexander and Robinson on passing downs.