Washington Redskins: Missing Pieces They Could Still Pick Up
After successfully injecting the organization with an effective youth movement and landing the franchise quarterback that every coach is judged on, there's no question that Shanahan has the Redskins pointed in the right direction.
However, even with the conclusion of the draft, a roster idea in place, and a majority of free agents unpacking their bags with new teams, it's possible that the Redskins could dig a little deeper to scrounge up just a few more pieces.
But is it worth it?
Mike Jenkins, Corner
Currently equipped with a platoon-like approach at the defensive secondary position, the Redskins shouldn't shy away from attainable cornerback or safety talent.
Although the team missed—if they even pursued to begin with—on guys like Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan, one has to wonder if they'd attempt a trade for a less popular name.
As much as it would hurt to see a former Cowboys player in burgundy and gold, could the Redskins benefit from a young corner like Mike Jenkins?
Jenkins enters the final year of his rookie contract in Dallas and his performance as of late isn't nearly enough to keep him off of the trading block. At just 27-years-old and two years removed from a five-interception season, Jenkins is slightly attractive. That is, of course, if you view him at his more natural No. 3 position.
The Dallas secondary has absorbed plenty of blame the last couple of seasons, which they deserve, and the Cowboys appear to be going in another direction. Because he hasn't yet lived up to the expectations of a first-round draft pick (25th overall in 2008), Jenkins could find himself on the outside looking in.
Jenkins wouldn't necessarily step in as a starter for the Redskins, as I'd probably take both Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall over him at this point. But he would almost certainly lock down the starting nickel spot and create some competition in camp.
Marcus McNeill, Tackle
As I've mentioned since the middle of last season, Redskins fans can't be all too confident in starting right tackle Jammal Brown's health moving forward. Despite being very effective when healthy, Brown's injuries are nagging ones—lingering and causing for lengthier healing.
Since signing him as an undrafted free agent in 2011, I have been a huge fan of Willie Smith and firmly believe that he can handle the right side. However, there happens to be a 28-year-old Pro Bowl-caliber tackle on the market that could be within the Redskins' price range.
The catch? That Pro Bowl tackle happens to be Marcus McNeill—a lineman that has missed twelve games over the past two seasons and suffered injuries to some of the scarier parts of his body, including both of his knees and his neck.
Undoubtedly, McNeill would be a huge risk for the Redskins, but one that could potentially pay off. It should also be noted, though, that aside from his major health concerns, McNeill also could never seem to get on the same page with his former Chargers team when it came to dollars and cents. Who needs that headache?
Considering McNeill is just as much of a health concern as Jammal Brown—if not more—and the Redskins already have two prospects for the position in Willie Smith and Tyler Polumbus, perhaps McNeill isn't worth the squeeze. But watch McNeill when he's healthy and imagine an incentive-laiden contract and you could get the itch.
Aqib Talib, Corner
Again, touching on the cornerback position, I'm not what you would call an overly-confident supporter when it comes to the Redskins' secondary. And in addition to that lack of confidence, I have also learned to like new defensive backs coach Raheem Morris a little too much.
Combine those two things and it forms the basis of a quick explanation as to why the Redskins should take a stab at a 26-year-old playmaking corner that faces up to 20 years in prison when he heads to trial this month.
I know. It sounds ridiculous. And that's because it is. But when Tampa Bay corner Aqib Talib plays, he's a beast. And when you think about the support system between he and former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, perhaps Talib could find his second chance in Washington.
Assuming that other teams are taking the same approach, nothing should happen regarding Talib or football until his court proceedings for aggravated assault are over. And even then, does Tampa Bay make him trade bait?
When it comes to my beloved Redskins, the last thing I want is a cancer in the locker room. Yet, I do believe in second chances.
As bad of a seed as Talib has been since entering the league, sometimes a simple change of scenery and a good support system can mature and change the athlete.
Brian Banks, Linebacker
Despite feeling pretty confident in the Redskins' linebacker position, no one can shy away from an inspiring feel-good story. And according to reports, Shanahan and the team could be on the brink of one.
Once a highly-touted linebacker recruit that accepted a full scholarship to Southern Cal, Brian Banks was falsely accused and imprisoned in 2002 following a bogus rape allegation.
After spending more than five years in prison, Banks is now on his path to fulfilling his childhood dream and playing professional football. The return won't be easy, the learning curve will likely be a steep one and teams don't even know if Banks can play. All the while, it's a fun story.
Adding a guy like Banks could do wonders for a football team. From a sense of discipline, unity and strength, Brian Banks could be worth just as much in the locker room as he is on the football field.
I recognize the reach being thrown around here, but I can't help it. I'm rootin' for the guy and I'd love to see Brian Banks in burgundy and gold.
LaGarrette Blount, Running Back
Knowing how much Mike Shanahan loves running backs, it almost seems as if he can't get enough.
While the current stable in Washington touts some young names with serious potential, Shanahan would likely listen to any and all names on the NFL trade block if they happen to play in the backfield.
The Tampa Buccaneers struck it hot in 2010 when they signed undrafted free agent running back LaGarrette Blount. He rushed for just over 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign and added close to 800 yards last season with a 4.2 YPC average.
Last April, the Bucs selected Boise State running back Doug Martin with their first pick. Talented in every aspect of the game from running to catching and blocking, Martin is expected to be an every-down back in the NFL.
So what happens to Blount?
It's very possible that Tampa hangs onto Blount —coming cheap and serving as the bruiser in a two-back philosophy. But with a limited skill set, the front office could also think about adding a draft pick in exchange for a run-only player that they acquired for basically nothing.
At the end of the day, I think Shanahan listens solely because he's Shanahan. As potential trade bait however, Blount doesn't bring enough versatility to an improving Redskins offense that is looking to get faster.