Biggest Needs Washington Redskins Still Must Address After 2013 NFL Draft
The 2013 NFL draft is in the books, and now the countdown to training camp and preseason games begins. Fans are already drooling or breaking objects over the selections their respective teams made this past weekend.
For fans of the Burgundy and Gold, this weekend was a clear target of team needs. With a majority of the picks focused on defense and specifically the secondary, the Washington Redskins used the draft to target the team's biggest weakness.
Now that the draft is behind us, it is time to examine what areas of need still exist for the Redskins.
1. Right Tackle
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Without a first-round pick, the Washington Redskins were already playing from behind in this year's draft. In addition, the offensive linemen flew off the board like they were more valuable than quarterbacks (in this class, they may very well have been). This left the Redskins unable to select a quality right tackle early on, and the pool dried up shortly after that.
The Redskins are facing the prospect of starting Tyler Polumbus at right tackle again next season, and that is something no one should wish for. Polumbus is effective in the run game but a complete liability in pass protection. While the Redskins did sign Xavier Nixon (Florida) and R.J. Mattes (NC State) as undrafted free agents, there is a reason these players went undrafted by all 32 teams.
Heading into 2013, the right tackle position still remains an issue for the Redskins, and the team can only hope that Polumbus develops into a respectable pass protector, or his days will be numbered.
2. Middle Linebacker
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It's a sad truth, but London Fletcher's days in the NFL are coming to a close in the near future. Fletcher is the perennial leader in the nation's capital, but he is showing signs of wear and tear. Perry Riley has emerged as a reliable No. 2 inside linebacker, but there are questions as to whether he is consistent enough to be the No. 1.
The Redskins closed out the weekend without drafting a middle linebacker, which is questionable after selecting two running backs. However, the Redskins have signed linebacker Will Compton out of Nebraska to compete for a spot on the roster.
While undrafted free agents are always a long shot, Compton is a productive college player with good instincts for the middle linebacker position. With a shortage of talent at the position, Compton may have the inside track at training camp for one of the coveted positions on the final 53-man roster.
3. Offensive Line Depth
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Aside from the right tackle position, the Redskins starting offensive line is a better unit than many will admit. Trent Williams is a star in this league, and Will Montgomery is one of the best centers fans outside of Washington have never heard of. In addition, guards Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester are reliable starters in both facets of the game.
Despite the quality starting talent in Washington, there is little depth that can be depended on in case of an injury. Players like Tom Compton and Maurice Hurt are adequate Band-Aids, but not players you can depend on for long stretches of games. Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis struggled mightily in their rookie seasons and will need to show serious improvement if they want to stay on this roster.
While offensive line depth may not be the first "hole" that pops into your mind, it is absolutely a need for the Redskins. After producing the leagues leading rushing attack, the Redskins will look again to lean on the running game in 2013. This will put a great deal of stress on the big men up front, and one injury can change their makeup in a heartbeat.