Updated April 23, 7:00 a.m.
Let's fast forward six days. The Redskins now have highly coveted free agent cornerback Josh Norman and then add multiple players during the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Let's say at least two of the three picks available -- no trade-down assumption here -- are spent on a defense that ranked 28th last season. Let's also go with the notion that other picks, whether ultimately helpful or not, are largely for depth purposes. Let's also just stay with the idea of a base 3-4 scheme. Here's what the Redskins lineup (plus some key reserves) could look like by Friday night.
DE: Chris Baker, Stephen Paea (starters); Ricky Jean Francois, Kendall Reyes, Trent Murphy
NT: Austin Johnson/2nd round pick
OLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith (starters); Junior Galette
ILB: Will Compton, Mason Foster (starters); Perry Riley
CB: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland (starters); Chris Culliver, Will Blackmon
S: Karl Joseph/1st round pick, DeAngelo Hall (starters); Duke Ihenacho, David Bruton
* The secondary scenario screams massive upgrade. Not just that Norman is arguably the best cover corner in football, but if they can keep Cullver as well, the top three corners can all handle the opponent's top target. Factor in an improved pass rush with a healthy Galette plus general improvements from Smith in his second season and that's a potential havoc-raising marriage between pass defenders and pass rushers.
* My current mock draft on CSNmidatlantic.com has the Redskins taking the ultra-aggressive Joseph at 21. Perhaps that changes with a Norman signing simply for asset allocation among position groups. Otherwise, Washington's swagger and attitude now flies off the chart with the two new guys plus the Redskins have a legitimate long-term safety.
* If not a safety in round one, then the Redskins likely select a nose tackle like Alabama's Jarran Reed or Baylor's Andrew Billings. Reed would shore up a run defense that allowed 4.8 yards per carry last season while Billings offers more pass rush potential. Not saying general manager Scot McCloughan would abandon any notion of taking the best "football player" available by signing Joseph, but there would likely be less wiggle room financially for any true impactful DL options in free agency. Also, there isn't much of the way of major impact linemen left in free agency -- or on the current roster. All things being equal, the Redskins would be wise to select one of the intriguing defensive tackles in the first or second round.
* The defensive end situation is iffy simply because Paea's first season in Washington washed out. He lost his starting job to Baker and then was lost for the season with an injury. If he bounces back and plays at the level his four-year, $21 million contract suggest, that's almost like adding another free agent this offseason.
* The ILB situation could stand a long-term solution. That could come if Alabama's Reggie Ragland is available at 21. Washington could also target help early on Day 3.
* Not listed above, Kedric Golston and Kyshoen Jarrett. Golston may have a role at nose tackle, but it's hard imagining the soon to be 33-year-old as a major factor. Jarrett certainly could be after an impressive rookie season, but concerns exist about when he'll return from his shoulder injury suffered at the end of last season and at what level.
[RELATED -- Finding McCloughan' safety type]
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