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Could Chris Clemons be the answer for the Redskins at free safety?
The secondary looked to be the weak point of the team heading into last season, and that proved to be the case. A lot of it can be attributed to injuries and suspensions, but it’s easy to see that this is an area in need of an overhaul.
The draft is deep at safety and cornerback, but can Shanahan take a player in the second round who he trusts enough to drop in as a starter in Week 1?
If not, then it’s back to free agency.
Assuming that DeAngelo Hall returns on a restructured deal, he and Josh Wilson will resume their roles as the starting cornerbacks. Also, with Richard Crawford showing promise and Chase Minnifield returning, there is actually a decent amount of talent at the position.
Any corner that is taken in the draft will have the chance to learn behind the starters and make their mark as the nickel corner. This leaves safety as the most glaring need, and there are some options available in free agency.
Yes, Jairus Byrd would be great, but he’s too expensive for a team as cap-aware as the ‘Skins. Chris Clemons of the Dolphins could be within the team's price range, though, and he is the sort of player who fits the Shanahan mold.
Clemons is a smart free safety who started all 16 games last year, making 69 tackles, two interceptions and also recovering two fumbles.
ProFootballFocus.com highlighted him as the solution to the Redskins’ free safety issue, pointing out that he didn’t give up a touchdown pass in his primary coverage, and the highest number of yards that he gave up n a single game last season was 63.
This sort of reliability would ease the pressure on the cornerbacks and leave the team less open to giving up the big play. Of course, the Dolphins have the cap space to make him a decent offer, so a team like Washington would probably need to spend some money to get him.
Clemons is only 27, so he’s still on the upswing of his career, and signing him would continue to champion the free agency strategy that Shanahan employed last year with Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.
The less glamorous option is Corey Lynch, who could also be of value to the organization. He’s coming off a one-year contract with San Diego, so he is well within the Redskins’ price range.
He’s a strong safety, but Redskins blog HTTR24-7.com ran an excellent piece that demonstrated his abilities in deep coverage, pointing out that he gave up no big plays when used as the single deep safety.
Madieu Williams played too close to the line of scrimmage in 2012. He would bite on pump fakes and take too many gambles, leaving his corners exposed throughout the season. The team needs something better than that.
The two players listed offer an opportunity to shore up a much-needed position, regardless of Jordan Bernstine’s return or the moves made in this year’s draft.