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Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Washington Redskins

Marcel DavisCorrespondent IMay 10, 2014

Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Washington Redskins

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    As you would expect lacking a first-round pick—with general manager Bruce Allen's draft history, anyway—the 2014 NFL draft didn't bring about many changes to the Washington Redskins' starting lineup.

    One look at its draft haul, though, and it's evident that Washington did strengthen its depth chart, particularly at linebacker, cornerback and along the offensive line.

    With that said, here's how the Redskins' depth chart looks post-draft.

     

Quarterback

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    When will the Redskins trade Cousins?
    When will the Redskins trade Cousins?Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Starter: Robert Griffin III

    Backups: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

     

    With their first-round pick, or lack thereof, serving as a reminder why, even in the aftermath of a sophomore slump, Robert Griffin III is entrenched as the Redskins' starting quarterback.

    Where the uncertainty comes in, though, is with Griffin's backup.

    Although he wasn't dealt during the draft, as speculated by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, Cousins may want to rent for the rest of his time in Washington.

    Set to be a free agent after the 2015 season, time is against the 'Skins if they have any plans on recouping the fourth-round pick they spent on Cousins in 2012.

    One look at the trade value being attached to former third-round pick Ryan Mallet, and it's evident that now is the time to trade Cousins.

    While Colt McCoy has given very little indication that he could keep Washington afloat if Griffin is again sidelined, Cousins is a trade chip the team can't afford to waste.

     

Running Back

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Starters: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young

    Backups: Roy Helu Jr., Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, Evan Royster

     

    Alfred Morris will once again spearhead Washington's rushing attack. A perfect fit for the team's zone-blocking scheme, Morris is still a liability in the passing game.

    With only 20 career receptions, Morris will have to give way to Roy Helu Jr. in passing situations.

    Already not the most dynamic player, durability is also a concern for the brittle Helu.

    After seeing how head coach Jay Gruden utilized Giovani Bernard with the Cincinnati Bengals, Chris Thompson and Lache Seastrunk are two players worth watching.

    Explosive runners who excel in space, Thompson will have to shake the injuries that derailed his rookie campaign, and Seastrunk will have to improve as a receiver if either is to garner playing time.

     

Wide Receiver

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Starters: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson

    Backups: Andre Roberts, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Nick Williams, David Gettis, Ryan Grant

     

    A unit bolstered by the additions of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts will see a fierce battle commence in training camp just to see who makes the team.

    Even though he was selected in the fifth round, rookie Ryan Grant will have a tough time making the cut. The latest smurf to be added to Washington's receiver corps, Grant doesn't possess a skill that the team's currently lacking.

    Ideally suited to play in the slot, Grant will have a tough time distinguishing himself in a crowded field.

    With Aldrick Robinson and a recovering Leonard Hankerson likely to make the team, Grant will compete with Santana Moss, Nick Williams and David Gettis to fill out the receiver depth chart.

Tight End

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Starter: Jordan Reed

    Backups: Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Ted Bolser

     

    Even though his rookie campaign was derailed by injury, Jordan Reed's level of production makes him a cinch to start.

    After tallying 45 receptions and 499 receiving yards in just nine games, Reed is poised for a big year in 2014.

    The lead backup to the team's second-leading receiver a year ago will once again be Logan Paulsen. Better known for his blocking prowess, Paulsen was a viable threat in the passing game in Reed's absence.

    A non-factor on offense in his four years in Washington, Niles Paul's value lies on special teams. While it would be an ill-advised decision to again make Paul the primary kick returner, he still should earn his keep on this unit in some capacity.

    Boasting a similar skill set, rookie Ted Bolser could potentially replace Paulsen after the 2014 season.

    Set to earn a base salary of $1.5 million in 2015, with a $2.1 cap hit according to Spotrac.com, Paulsen could be expendable if Bolser develops.

Offensive Line

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Starters: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Morgan Moses

    Backups: Tyler Polumbus, Mike McGlynn, Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus, Tevita Stevens, Adam Gettis, Tom Compton, Maurice Hurt, Kevin Kowalski

     

    At the root of Washington's demise in 2013, the team made it a priority to upgrade its offensive line this offseason.

    With Trent Williams the lone player who lived up to his starting role, there could be as many as four different starters up front.

    After selecting Morgan Moses in the third round, it appears the Skins have plans on making one of them a rookie. Projected to be a bubble first-rounder by CBSSports.com, Moses has a real shot at unseating incumbent starter Tyler Polumbus at right tackle. Compared to Ryan Clady by Derek Stephens and Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com, Moses could be a fail-safe option for Washington with the end of Williams' contract looming after the 2015 season.

    By drafting Spencer Long in the third round, Washington is putting underachieving guards Chris Chester, Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis on notice. While the knee injury that ended Long's senior campaign at Nebraska could keep him from challenging for a starting role as a rookie, his presence makes this a make-or-break year for the aforementioned players.

    Due to count $4.3 million against the cap this season and $4.8 million in 2015, according to Spotrac.com, Chester's place on the team is the most tenuous.

     

Defensive Line

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Starters: Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Jarvis Jenkins

    Backups: Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Stephen Bowen, Clifton Geathers, Doug Worthington, Chris Nield

     

    Despite mustering only 5.5 sacks in 2013, Washington did very little outside of acquiring Jason Hatcher to bolster its defensive line.

    With top veterans like Hatcher, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen on the wrong side of 30, the 'Skins have to bank on the improvement of its young core of players, led by Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins.

    After signing a three-year, $12 million deal, Baker will have to turn the potential he flashed in three late-season starts into consistent production.

    For Jenkins, a former second-round pick, he has to be on a quest to prove he's not a complete bust. In three seasons, he has just two career sacks, although they both came last season.

    Set to compete with Bowen, who's coming off of microfracture knee surgery, Jenkins is running out of excuses.

    With Clifton Geathers, Doug Worthington and Chris Nield rounding out the D-line depth chart, Washington would have to make defensive end a priority next season if Jenkins fails to meet expectations.

Linebacker

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Starters: Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley Jr., Darryl Sharpton, Ryan Kerrigan

    Backups: Rob Jackson, Trent Murphy, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Robinson, Brandon Jenkins, Adam Hayward, Will Compton, Jeremy Kimbrough, Gabe Miller, Adrian Robinson

     

    With six players having starting experience, outside of receiver, linebacker is the deepest position on the Redskins.

    Add in Brandon Jenkins and rookie Trent Murphy, and there's eight players with starting potential. Even with this assortment of talent, there's little doubt who the starters will be. Barring injury, Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Perry Riley Jr. are all locks to be in the starting lineup.

    While Darryl Sharpton will have to compete with Akeem Jordan to replace London Fletcher, injury is his main obstacle to garnering the starting gig.

    The talent level present on Washington's depth chart at linebacker could also make for some interesting contract negotiations with Orakpo and, to a lesser extent, Kerrigan. In a free-agent market in which one-year wonders like Paul Kruger can net $40 million contracts, the 'Skins' leading pass-rusher could price himself out of Washington.

    Due to actually have a first-round pick next year, with Murphy already in tow, Washington won't have to retain Orakpo at any cost.

Cornerback

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Starters: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson

    Backups: Tracy Porter, Bashaud Breeland, Richard Crawford, E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Peyton Thompson, Jose Gumbs

     

    The weak link of Washington's defense in 2013, the team made it a point to improve its pass defense this offseason.

    On the cornerback front, this desire was highlighted with the signing of Tracy Porter and the ouster of Josh Wilson.

    And now, you can add Bashaud Breeland to the equation.

    Adept in press coverage, Breeland's ability to mirror opposing receivers and tackle in the open field leaves open the possibility of him supplanting Porter—especially if the veteran's problems with tackling resurface—as the team's nickel corner by season's end.

    For the time being, though, the raw Clemson product should focus on beating out Richard Crawford and E.J. Biggers for the No. 4 spot.

    With his ascension into a starting role, much will be expected of David Amerson in his sophomore campaign. Coming off an uneven rookie season in which he showed improvement at the tail end of the year, Amerson will have to make more plays on the ball and eliminate the mental mistakes that plagued him last season.

    Tasked with leading this unit, DeAngelo Hall again will have to fight off father time.

    The first season of a four-year, $17 million contract, any decline in Hall's play would set back Washington in its quest to return to the postseason.

Safety

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Starters: Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather

    Backups: Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Tanard Jackson, Trenton Robinson, Akeem Davis

     

    Washington basically remaining with the status quo in regards to its porous secondary is a questionable move.

    Yes, the team replaced Reed Doughty with Ryan Clark to give Brandon Meriweather a new tag-team partner, but that move alone certainly isn't the most encouraging sign that the much-needed improvement is coming.

    While the leadership Clark brings is a valuable asset for a back end that was plagued by mental miscues, it's questionable what he can do from a physical standpoint. After losing a step or two, Clark wasn't retained by the Pittsburgh Steelers. There's also the fact that Clark's presence alone isn't going to make Meriweather a better tackler.

    With neither an asset in coverage, safety will remain a problem spot.

    And with Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo as the primary backups, there's no cavalry coming should Clark and Meriweather struggle.

    A patchwork position group of past-their-prime veterans and unproven players, safety should headline Washington's list of needs going into the 2015 offseason.

     

Special Teams

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    Tim Sharp/Associated Press

    Starters: Kai Forbath, Robert Malone

    Backups: Jake Rogers, Zach Hocker, Blake Clingan

     

    One season after missing just one field goal, Kai Forbath converted 18-of-22 field goals in 2013.

    Although his three misses from 40-plus yards could open the door for Jake Rogers or rookie Zach Hocker to win the job in training camp, their inability to consistently convert shorter field goals makes any advantage in leg strength a moot point.

    In the race to replace the ineffective Sav Rocca, Robert Malone and Blake Clingan will battle it out for punter duties. With Malone being the only one of the two with NFL experience, he'll have the edge going into training camp.

    All told, the Redskins entered the NFL draft as contenders in a weak NFC East and that remains the case in draft's aftermath.

    By strengthening the offensive line, Washington can ride its offense and challenge the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles for supremacy in the division.

    While an improvement on defense would be needed if the team has plans on making noise in the postseason, it's not a requirement for the 'Skins' playoff hopes.

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