Free agency and the NFL Draft wiill dominate the next two months of coverage. The Washington Redskins are in the process of sorting out their own players, targets around the league and incomng prospects. Part of the calculus involves those already on the roster. After examining the offense, here's a look at the Redskins projected defensive and special teams depth chart, showing the current players, those likely back and missing pieces. The number of projected players for each position shown in parenthesis.
Defensive Line (6)
Locks: Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois
This is the position that will likely have the most turmoil between now and the beginning of the season. Everything starts with whether the Redskins re-sign Knighton followed by Hatcher's retirement plans and Kedric Golston's future. Kearse was in-and-out on the 53-man roster all season whle Crawford spend the entire season on the practice squad. Washington will try to get younger in the trenches so an early round draft pick is quite possible.
Inside linebacker (4)
Locks: Will Compton
In the mix: Mason Foster (free agent), Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Houston Bates, Adam Hayward
On the outside: Keenan Robinson
Even with taking injuries into account, Compton and Foster were a better tandem than Robinson and Riley. With Compton all but a guarantee to return, it makes little sense to spend money on Robinson; even Riley could be cut with just over a million in dead cap. Re-signing Foster is likely a priority. Washington will continue to try and develop Spaight, last year’s fifth-round pick after his season was cut short by a concussion. Hayward, a special teams ace, also missed 2015 with injury. Alabama's Reggie Ragland likely only first round target.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Locks: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy
In the mix: Junior Galette (free agent)
Kerrigan is going nowhere after one season of his five-year extension. Neither is Smith after a bright rookie campaign. Galette never took a snap for Washington after signing a veteran’s minimum deal, but sounded extremely committed to the franchise when the season ended. We'll see. With the logjam of edge rushers, Murphy could be asked to bulk up and transition to defensive end, especially if the team wants to part ways with Paea in order to save $13 million over the next three years.
Locks: Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver, Quinton Dunbar
In the mix: DeShazor Everett
On the outside: Will Blackmon (free agent)
Breeland is now the cornerstone of the Redskins secondary. On the other side, I think Culliver stays put although his release after an injury-plagued season would save money with doubts about his mobility following ACL surgery. Since making the conversion from receiver to defensive back, Dunbar has developed greatly and another year of getting him comfortable in the system will do him a lot of good. With Hall at safety and Blackmon clearly on the back-end of his career, the Redskins could spend a high pick, if not a round one selection on the likes of Eli Apple, Macknsie Alexander or Kendall Fuller.
Locks: Kyshoen Jarrett, DeAngelo Hall
In the mix: Duke Ihenacho (free agent), Jeron Johnson
On the outside: Dashon Goldson
It is tough to see Hall and Goldson on the roster as free safeties. With the way Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan have raved about Hall’s transition and leadership, it's hard believing Goldson’s $15 million cap number over two years wins out. Johnson was penciled into the strong safety position last summer before Ihenacho beat him out. If both return, the next training camp battle could be for a roster spot, especially if the Redskins add help via the draft or free agency. Jarrett, a sixth-round pick, was an impressive find by McCloughan last year.
Special teams (3)
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