Highlighting Washington Redskins' Deepest, Thinnest Positions for 2014 Season
Three months from the start of the 2014 season, much hasn't changed. For Washington to emulate its 2012 playoff run, the team's offense will again have to mask a mediocre (at best) defense.
With that said, what are the Skins' deepest and thinnest positions on the roster?
Did Washington do enough this offseason to bolster its secondary?
What about the team's receiving corps? After being Pierre Garcon or bust in 2013, is receiver now the deepest position on the roster?
Let's find out. Here are the two deepest and thinnest positions on the Redskins' roster ahead of the 2014 season.
With a quarterback depth chart headlined by Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, Washington is one of the few teams that can withstand an injury to its starting quarterback—in the short-term, anyways.
A position in which, ideally, only one player sees playing time, Washington's depth here could allow the team to shore up some deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball via trade.
In a league in which retread quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Schaub are being lined up to start, there's certainly a trade market for a player of Cousins' talents.
While the fourth-round pick the Cleveland Browns reportedly offered for Cousins wasn't enough to commence a trade during the NFL draft, per Mark Maske of The Washington Post, a second or third-round pick could be enough to entice the Skins to trade the former fourth-round pick.
A position group that's already eight-deep, not including the undrafted free agents brought in, Washington's logjam at receiver is sure to leave some of its talented wideouts without a roster spot come the end of training camp.
Heavily reliant on Garcon a year ago, this position is now top heavy in light of the acquisitions of Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson.
Set to battle it out for the No. 4 spot behind them are Leonard Hankerson, Nick Williams, Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson and Santana Moss.
While size is a characteristic lacking in this position group, the ability of the team's receivers to play inside and out makes Washington's passing attack a difficult one for opponents to scheme for.
After failing to eclipse the No. 21 ranking in scoring defense the past four seasons, it's no shocker that the Redskins' two thinnest position groups lie on the defensive side of the ball.
The 20th-ranked pass defense a season ago, the marquee move Washington made to address its weakness at safety was the signing of Ryan Clark.
An over-the-hill veteran who was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, Clark's main contributions to the back end are sure to come from his football IQ and leadership skills, not his physical talents.
Relatively green behind starters Reed Doughty and Brandon Meriweather last season, the team is again counting on unproven players to provide depth to this unit.
Behind presumed starters Clark and Meriweather are Tanard Jackson, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.
Grossly overmatched in his playing stint as a rookie, Rambo will have to come a long way in his development for the team to feel confident in his ability to aid the defense.
In regards to Thomas and Jackson, making up for missed time is the key. Thomas missed his entire rookie season to injury and Jackson hasn't played an NFL game since 2011.
After bypassing the chance to infuse high-end talent here via free agency or the draft, there isn't a remedy available for Washington to upgrade this group outside of internal improvement.
In all likelihood, safety will be atop the team's wish list entering the 2015 offseason.
Similar to the safety position, the Skins' depth chart at cornerback didn't undergo much change.
Gone is Josh Wilson, and in his place are veteran journeyman Tracy Porter and rookie Bashaud Breeland.
Considering that opposing quarterbacks completed over 65 percent of their passes versus Washington in 2013, these changes don't elicit much hope that the team's pass defense will improve much in 2014.
Set to enter his 12th NFL season, even top cornerback DeAngelo Hall is a question mark for the Redskins. Although he was a Pro Bowl alternate last season, you have to ask how much longer Hall can battle with opposing team's top receivers with so much tread on his tires.
According to Pro Football Focus (via The Washington Post) Hall was matched up with the opponents' top receiver on 57 percent of his snaps last season, second only to Joe Haden.
With sophomore cornerback David Amerson set to be a first-year starter in 2014, it appears this responsibility will again fall on Hall.
Ill-equipped to match up with the league's top passing offenses, the Skins secondary will have to live and die off the team's pass rush.
Fortunately for Washington, the NFL scheduling gods did the team a solid in making its 2014 schedule.
With the talent on hand to field an explosive offense, this scheduling quirk could very well allow the Redskins to relive the playoff run they had in 2012.
At the very least, in a division without a distinct favorite, the team can make the trek up to eight wins.