Washington Redskins: Which Undrafted Free Agent Has the Best Chance to Start?
Since the drafted ended on Saturday, the Washington Redskins have signed five undrafted free agents so far (according to WashingtonPost.com). The list includes C Tevita Stevens, WR Jason Thompson, LB Marvin Burdett, OT Xavier Nixon and WR Nick Williams.
When it comes to who is the most quality and has the best chance to start right away, you have to look more at where the Redskins’ needs lie instead of which of these players has the most talent.
Washington was able to address its biggest need, defensive back, in the draft, but it's still left with a hole at right tackle. Although the Redskins signed a couple of veteran tackles, all of their options for that position are pretty unimpressive, and none of them are a long-term answer.
Nixon, the former Florida Gator, is someone who could fill that role. He’s a bit of a steal, too, as a lot of people had him mocked between the fourth and seventh round. He has great size (6’6”, 321 pounds) and is pretty athletic. And he has the strength and build to defend well against a bull rush.
Nixon also has long, lengthy limbs (33.5” arms), which is one of his greatest assets in pass protection. He showed great ability as a pass-blocker in college and did well in run-blocking as well. And his athleticism will be his greatest advantage because of Mike Shanahan’s mobile, zone-blocking scheme.
What we saw Nixon do a lot at Florida was get to the second level and block downfield—a skill that will be invaluable given the Redskins’ rushing attack. He also has good flexibility and isn’t stiff when he bends.
Nixon shows tremendous fluidity, especially in his kick slide. He has great feet for a lineman as well and can keep up with speed rushers. A guy like Nixon who is as big and athletic as he is will definitely have a shot at earning a starting position next year.
The biggest downside when it comes to Nixon is his inconsistency. He doesn’t always use his leverage and strength like he should, and it costs him. But if he can tighten up his technique and get coached up some, he could very easily become the next starting right tackle in Washington.
When it comes down to it, Nixon is raw. He will need some developing for sure, but once he matures within the system, he could be an awesome pickup.
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