Washington Redskins Free Agency: 4 Defensive Linemen to Replace Jarvis Jenkins

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2011

Washington Redskins Free Agency: 4 Defensive Linemen to Replace Jarvis Jenkins

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    The news that promising second-round rookie defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins is out for the year has dampened the Washington Redskins' preparations for the new season.

    The Redskins could pursue a veteran lineman to take Jenkins' place and give themselves another useful option for their three-man front.

    Jenkins was scheduled to be an important member of the line rotation this season.  The former Clemson standout had looked impressive in training camp and early preseason action.

    Jenkins was beginning to push Adam Carriker for a starting berth at left end.  Neither Darrion Scott or Doug Worthington look like a credible replacement, based on their performances against the Baltimore Ravens.

    The Redskins need solid options along the defensive line.  Carriker improved during 2010, but he has yet to consistently perform at a high level.

    The Redskins need a player to challenge Carriker and be good enough to step in and have an impact when necessary.

    Here are four candidates who could fill this important role.

4. Marcus Stroud

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    When the Redskins traded Albert Haynesworth to the New England Patriots, Marcus Stroud's short stay in Boston came to an end.

    The former Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills defensive linemen was released a month ago by the defending AFC East champions.

    Stroud is an aggressive veteran who has some 3-4 experience.  At 6'6", 310 pounds, he has the size needed to man the five-technique position.

    Injuries have reduced Stroud's first-step quickness, but he can still utilise tenacity and technique to occupy blockers and harass the pocket.

    Stroud's shoulder problems remain a concern.  The Redskins would need to be sure Stroud is still capable of achieving and maintaining good leverage.

3. Justin Harrell

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    Following a myriad of injuries, the Green Bay Packers have finally parted ways with former 2007 first-round pick Justin Harrell.

    Moving for Harrell would be a tremendous gamble by the Redskins.  But the talented, yet brittle and temperamental youngster could rejuvenate his career in new surroundings.

    Harrell has some experience with the defensive scheme the Redskins are attempting to emulate.  The 6'4", 315-pounder has excellent reach and tremendous strength.

    If he can stay healthy, Harrell has the potential to be an effective run defender in Washington's 3-4 system.

    Aged 27, time is still on Harrell's side to try and become a success at the pro level.  If he can stay fresh for longer than he's managed so far, Harrell has the physical skills to be a valuable rotation player.

2. Jarvis Green

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    Surprisingly released by the Houston Texans, Jarvis Green has a wealth of 3-4 experience and is a dangerous interior pass-rusher.

    Green's quick penetration and pressure skills would provide the Redskins' three-man line with a different threat.

    Prior to his injury, Jenkins was demonstrating some very effective rush skills.  Without him, the Redskins' best pass-rushers for the middle of their four-man lines are starters Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield.  Acquiring a specialist like Green would allow Jim Haslett to rest Cofield in obvious passing situations. 

    The former New England Patriot would be a tremendous asset to Haslett's pressure packages.  Haslett's nickel defense has looked shaky at times during preseason.

    Adding Green's proficiency rushing the passer to the nickel fronts would increase the flexibility of the defense and give the Redskins a dangerous weapon on third downs.

1. Tank Johnson

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    Eight-year veteran Tank Johnson is a stout presence along the line who excels at using his power and leverage to tie up blockers.

    Johnson has some 3-4 knowledge, having rotated at nose tackle for the Dallas Cowboys under 3-4 guru Wade Phillips.

    At 6'3", 315 pounds, Johnson has good enough size and the experience to manage a switch to two-gap defensive end.

    Johnson is an excellent run defender and would be particularly useful in short yardage and goal line situations.

    Like Stroud, Johnson has also performed well in 4-3 schemes.  Haslett could slide him into the "B" gap and utilise some hybrid packages.

    At 29, Johnson still has plenty to offer and would be a smart, under-the-radar pickup by the Redskins.

    It is important for the team to have number of quality defensive linemen to call upon during the regular season.

    Having lost one member of their rotation, the Redskins should seriously consider securing the services of an able veteran.