In less than two weeks, the NFL draft will begin and a new wave of young talent will enter the powerful sports league in the world. For some teams, this year's draft is just the first step in a long line of rebuilding that is scheduled to take place. Others will use this time to supplement and deepen their already powerful rosters.
The Washington Redskins are one of several teams that fall in between these groups; they are certainly not rebuilding but still have clear holes on their roster. As has been noted all offseason, the Redskins have been cash-strapped due to the league imposed $36 million fine. This left the Redskins with few options in free agency, and they were forced to let notable players like Lorenzo Alexander sign with other organizations.
With the shock and awe period of free agency behind us, teams are making their final evaluations of incoming rookie talent. In addition, teams are re-evaluating their current rosters to see what holes still remain. Here, we will examine five holes that still hinder the Redskins and should be addressed in the upcoming draft.
It should come as no shock to the Redskins faithful that the cornerback position is a noticeable hole. After finishing the 2012 season with one of the worst passing defenses in the league, the Redskins are desperate for new talent.
Despite the minimal cap space, the Redskins were able to make their "biggest" moves in free agency for the cornerback spot. After cutting DeAngelo Hall's enormous contract, the Redskins were able to bring the former Virginia Tech star back at a reasonable salary. In addition to Hall, the Redskins added former Buccaneers corner E.J. Biggers to reunite with Raheem Morris.
The Redskins' efforts so far are noble, but there is still a massive need for improvement. Lucky for the Redskins, this year's draft class is particularly deep in the secondary. Look for the Redskins to target at least one corner in the second or third round.
Potential Targets: (Jordan Poyer, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jamar Taylor)
Just as the cornerback group is a team hole, so is the free safety position. Madieu Williams gave his best last season but is clearly not the solution as the team moves forward. Brandon Meriweather is fine player for an in-the-box strong safety, but the Redskins are in need of pure coverage safety.
Currently Reed Doughty is listed as the Redskins starting free safety, but that is an experiment long past its expiration. With no affordable options in free agency, the Redskins will almost certainly target a safety with one of their first few picks.
While not as deep as the cornerback class, there is strong contingent of safeties that will be available for the Redskins in the second round.
Potential Targets: (David Amerson (projected position change), Jonathan Cyprien, Eric Reid)
Of all the glaring holes from 2012, right tackle has been the most neglected by the Redskins so far. Last season the Redskins rolled out Tyler Polumbus who was effective in the run game, but absolutely abysmal in pass protection.
With so few resources available in free agency, the Redskins re-signed Tyler Polumbus and added Jeremy Trueblood from the Buccaneers. Polumbus is not a starting caliber right tackle at this point and Trueblood is infamous for being one of the most penalized blockers in the NFL.
Right tackle is rarely a deep position amongst draft classes and this year is no different. DJ Fluker is one of the strongest right tackles to come out in recent memory but will be drafted long before the Redskins' first selection. Look for the burgundy and gold to target a developmental/swing tackle in the middle rounds.
Potential Targets: (Kyle Long, Brennan Williams, Dallas Thomas)
These last few "holes" differ from the first three in that they do not necessarily apply to the starting talent. For the center position, the Redskins have a reliable veteran in Will Montgomery but very little behind him.
The Redskins drafted two potentially versatile guards in Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis. Gettis failed to see the field and LeRibeus struggled in the little action he saw. Whether it be this year or next, the Redskins will need to begin developing a long-term replacement for Montgomery.
Center is never a sexy position to draft, but quality starters can be found in the middle to late rounds. Do not be surprised to see the Redskins invest a fourth- or fifth-round pick in a center.
Potential Targets: (David Schwenke, Khaled Holmes, David Quessenberry)
Just like the previous slide, inside linebacker is not a position where the Redskins struggle on the starting unit. The combination of London Fletcher and Perry Riley has proven to be one of the most reliable groups for the Redskins. The "hole" for this unit comes from a lack of depth that must be addressed for the long term.
London Fletcher is one of the most reliable and consistently underrated middle linebackers in the NFL, but his days are numbered. Rookie Keenan Robinson suffered a season-ending injury last year before truly getting an opportunity to showcase his ability. However, if Robinson is not the long-term solution, the Redskins are left without any others to step in London's place.
Middle linebackers perpetually grow on trees in the NCAA, allowing teams to find perennial starters in the middle to late rounds. While not a clear priority this year, the Redskins would be wise to begin investing in the future of their middle linebacking corps.
Potential Targets: (Bruce Taylor, A.J. Klein, Will Compton)