Here they are, the top-10 Redskins.
The ranking consists of the 22 offensive and defensive starters, four special-teams positions (place kicker, punter, snapper, and kick returner), a relief running back, third wide receiver, rotational defensive lineman, and a nickelback.
The list starts with the worst and counts down to the Redskins' best player. My purely subjective assessment is based on my judgment of their value to the team. You can find the rankings for players 21-30 here and the rankings for 11-20 here.
10. Andre Carter, defensive end—He knocked on the door of the club of elite defensive ends last year with 10.5 sacks and a number of big plays. With Jason Taylor on the other side, he could break into that group.
9. London Fletcher, middle linebacker—Not just a tackling machine, but a classy, heady leader on defense.
8. Marcus Washington, outside linebacker—He seems to be healthy after a couple of banged-up seasons. This is another player helped by the acquisition of Taylor, as it will allow him to be a three down, standup linebacker instead of putting his hand in the dirt at end on passing downs.
7. Ethan Albright, long snapper—OK, go ahead and blast me for putting a guy who does only one thing. But he did it well enough to earn a trip to Hawaii last year. I hate to think about life after the Red Snapper.
6. Shawn Springs, cornerback—His reputation for being injury prone is way over blown. Except for 2006, when he missed seven games, he's played in 46 of 48 games. Springs' ball-hawking skills returned to him down the stretch last year.
5. Jason Taylor, defensive end—He has at least one, maybe two top-notch seasons left in him. If he's not a liability against the run, he makes a good defense even better (see Carter and Washington above).
4. Chris Cooley, tight end—There's a bit of concern here that his off-field fame could interfere with his on-field play. Just a bit, however. If he could block, he'd be at the top of this list.
3. Clinton Portis, running back—His blocking, especially on blitz pickups, makes him a special back. Less could be more for Portis in '08, as a lighter workload should make him more effective.
2. LaRon Landry, safety—A perfect combination of great instincts and body-rocking hitting ability. The more experience and smarts get added to the mix, the better he will get.
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