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Free Agents, Draft Picks Who Could Solve Washington Redskins' Problems in 2014

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2013

Free Agents, Draft Picks Who Could Solve Washington Redskins' Problems in 2014

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    After the Washington Redskins slipped to their 11th defeat of the season, thoughts can again turn to new additions that can solve some of the team's biggest problems.

    In last week's list, the focus was on the defensive front. This week more emphasis is placed on possible new targets for the passing game.

    There are also still a few new faces for a secondary desperately needing an infusion of fresh talent.

Wide Receiver: Free Agency

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    Emmanuel Sanders could help out in two phases.
    Emmanuel Sanders could help out in two phases.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Emmanuel Sanders could be a steal for the Redskins, thanks to his ability to improve two phases of the team. He would add speed and big-play skills from the slot, things that are lacking in the current offense.

    Sanders is also an excellent return man. That should certainly appeal to a franchise fielding a special teams unit that is the shame of the NFL.

    At 26, Sanders is a player still not close to his best and one who would quickly become a key playmaker in D.C.

Wide Receiver: Free Agency

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    James Jones would give the Redskins another credible threat at wide receiver.
    James Jones would give the Redskins another credible threat at wide receiver.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    James Jones, Green Bay Packers

    Not so long ago, James Jones was a frustrating player who seemed as if he would be better off trying to catch with his knees, rather than his hands.

    But in the last two seasons Jones has emerged as a receiver who can make life easier for a quarterback. More than anything else, he knows where the end zone is, having scored 24 touchdowns in the last three seasons.

    Putting the 6'1", 208-pound speedster next to Pierre Garcon would give the Washington passing game another source of big plays on the outside.

Tight End: Free Agency

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    Andrew Quarless is proving his skill as a "move" tight end.
    Andrew Quarless is proving his skill as a "move" tight end.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers

    There will be more than a few teams looking Andrew Quarless' way once free agency begins. The 25-year-old has emerged from a fringe role to prove his worth as an effective "move" tight end.

    Stepping in for Jermichael Finley, who has never seen a pass he didn't want to drop, Quarless is making the tight end position his own in Green Bay.

    In each of his last two games Quarless has tallied six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. At 6'4" and 252 pounds, he has the frame and speed to be moved anywhere along an offense to attack coverage.

    The Redskins need as many of those kind of pass-catchers as they can get. Fred Davis' time with the team seems as a good as numbered, while promising rookie Jordan Reed has already faced injury issues.

    With only Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul in the rotation, the Redskins need another dynamic "joker" at this position and Quarless fits the bill perfectly.

Offensive Line: Free Agency

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    Eric Winston would be an upgrade at right tackle.
    Eric Winston would be an upgrade at right tackle.Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Eric Winston, T, Arizona Cardinals

    Aside from Tyler Polumbus himself, you probably wouldn't find anybody connected with the Redskins who doesn't believe the team needs an upgrade at right tackle.

    Polumbus has been beaten so many times this season a crack team of statisticians is needed to tally the final figure. Veteran Eric Winston would be an immediate upgrade.

    The 30-year-old is an accomplished pass-blocker and also has a wealth of experience in zone-based schemes like the one run in Washington.

    Winston is a steady pair of hands, one of those reliable old pros the Redskins need most up front.

Offensive Line: Free Agency

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    Willie Colon would bring some much-needed power to the Washington O-line.
    Willie Colon would bring some much-needed power to the Washington O-line.Al Bello/Getty Images

    Willie Colon, G, New York Jets

    Anyone who has watched defensive linemen and linebackers waltz through the middle of the Redskins O-line this season knows the group needs some power inside.

    Willie Colon is a natural bruiser and a nasty run-blocker who would offer exactly that. He plays with brute force, but can still shift his ample 6'3", 315-pound frame, especially when pulling around the corner.

    A physical, straight-on blocker like Colon might not appeal to current head coach Mike Shanahan. He prefers lighter, more agile linemen.

    But with Shanahan currently an endangered species in Washington, a new coach might favor a player like Colon for a more power-based approach up front.

Defensive Line: Draft

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    DeAndre Coleman would add more size along the defensive front.
    DeAndre Coleman would add more size along the defensive front.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    DeAndre Coleman, DE/DT, California

    California man mountain DeAndre Coleman could be the immovable force the Washington defensive front is missing. He has the size to clog rushing lanes from any position on the front three.

    Coleman is quick through the gaps for a player standing 6'5" and lugging around 320 pounds. He is never going to be mistaken for a frightening pass-rusher, but Coleman can still be a destructive force.

    He is the kind of lineman who can be moved to disrupt the side opposing teams love to run toward.


Safety: Draft

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    Ty Zimmerman is the kind of active, productive safety the Redskins need.
    Ty Zimmerman is the kind of active, productive safety the Redskins need.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ty Zimmerman, FS, Kansas State

    The Redskins need an active safety who can make plays, and Kansas State's Ty Zimmerman has those qualities.

    He is a natural free safety with an opportunist streak. Zimmerman is also not afraid to challenge ball-carriers with some strong hits.

    He is no athletic marvel, but Zimmerman has the instincts to start in a two-deep safety scheme that lets him see the field and read quarterbacks.

Safety: Draft

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    Craig Loston is a natural strong safety.
    Craig Loston is a natural strong safety.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Craig Loston, SS, LSU

    LSU has a fine recent tradition of producing pro-ready defensive backs. Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid have both thrived as first-year NFL safeties this season. Craig Loston could be the next in line to make an early impact.

    He is a natural strong safety, something of a need for the Redskins. He is a willing and punishing hitter over the middle who wastes no time closing on his targets.

    If there is one drawback to Loston, it is that he can be outwitted by a clever quarterback in coverage. He sometimes falls for looks that drag him out of position.

    But that is a weakness that can be mitigated by good coaching. Loston is still an active player in a scheme that lets defensive backs be the featured playmakers.

    If they are smart and prioritize specific types of players at key positions, the Redskins can find enough in both free agency and the draft to fix their biggest problems.

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