With the "Shanaclan" coming to town, Washingtonians are expecting big things for their Redskins. After a number of years where the ‘Skins front office paid no attention to the protection up front, Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan, and company would be wise to address the inefficiencies along the offensive line.
The Redskins must address a gaping hole at left tackle with the imminent retirement of six-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels. They need look no farther than Russell Okung from Oklahoma State.
Okung is the total package. He’s a potential franchise left tackle who is already elite in pass protection and has shown the ability to be a dominant run blocker.
The first thing that jumps out at you is Okung‘s quick first step in pass protection. He’s able to kick out and use his agility and quickness to combat any speed rusher.
The defenses in the NFC East have so much speed coming off the edge that the Redskins need a left tackle like Okung. Whether it’s Trent Cole, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, or DeMarcus Ware, the Redskins need to get faster at the tackle position to combat these speed rushers.
Okung is an athletic prospect who would fit in perfectly with Shanahan’s famous zone-blocking schemes. Shanahan relies on smaller, quicker linemen who can block in space and move downfield, and Okung fits the bill.
Another thing to love about Okung is his consistency. He started 34 straight games at left tackle for Oklahoma State. In his junior year (2008), Okung had 71 knockdown blocks and 27 dominating blocks. In his senior year, Okung had 127 knockdown blocks and 58 dominating blocks.
The Redskins offensive line was woeful in 2009. They surrendered 46 sacks and anchored a dismal run game that ranked just 27th in the NFL. Derrick Dockery was the only viable starter last year at left guard.
Despite all the turmoil in front of him, QB Jason Campbell managed to post career-highs in TDs (20) and passing yards (3,618). Campbell showed enough improvement to merit another year as the starting QB, and as such he’ll need to receive more time in the pocket.
So it makes sense to solidify the left side and take Okung. He should start right away and be a reliable presence against the fearsome NFC East pass rush for years to come.
Eric Holmberg contributed to this article. The pick was made by Redskins FC's Jack Anderson, Eric Holmberg and Ed Sheahin.