The Washington Redskins remain in the slow lane during free agency, which for now means plenty of roster spots are available on top of the battle for playing time we know will take place. As we wait for additional signings and the NFL Draft, Breaking Burgundy begins a series looking at those current players with a shot at advancing their previous roles into something larger for 2016. Check out previous profiles below plus additional mentions in the above video.
Player: Duke Ihenacho
Position: Strong safety
Room for improvement: Priority No. 1 is staying healthy.
2015 overview: After suffering a season-ending foot injury in Week 3 of the 2014 season, his first with the Redskins, Ihenacho beat out Jeron Johnson for the starting strong safety spot in training camp last year. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before Ihenacho was back on Washington's injured reserve list. He suffered a broken wrist in the Redskins' season opener and missed the remainder of the season.
Opportunity: With Dashon Goldson hitting free agency and questions surrounding Kyshoen Jarrett's (neck) availability heading into the season, Ihenacho still has a shot at winning a starting safety spot, which is somewhat remarkable in light of the bountiful chances that others have had had to seize it in his stead. DeAngelo Hall could end up at either safety spot and free agent addition David Bruton provides depth, though the special teams ace won't likely land a starting spot on defense. It's also worth noting that Ihenacho is now on his third one-year, prove-it deal with the team, and this may be his last opportunity to prove "it" in Washington. For Ihenacho, the main thing to prove, at least for now, is an ability to stay on the field. The opportunity becomes clearer if the Redskins don't select a safety on the first two days of the 2016 Draft.
[RELATED: Film review: David Bruton]
2016 projection: The ominous clouds of bad luck that have followed him throughout his time in Washington dissipate. Ihenacho wins the starting strong safety spot and manages to stay relatively healthy, playing at least 13 games. The guy has dealt with enough maleficent strokes of fate, and it's time that the football gods look upon him with favor. After the past two seasons, it's a safe bet that Ihenacho is going to do everything in his power to stay healthy. The Redskins may need him to, considering that DeAngelo Hall is currently the only rostered safety that the Redskins can really feel good about.
Opportunity (also) calling:
Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanRothDC.
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