As the Washington Redskins head into free agency after nearly clinching a playoff spot for the second-straight year, we will look at some of Washington’s key players and grade their 2016 performance.
Player: Will Blackmon
Contract status: $2.05 million/2 years, expires in 2018
Preseason buzz: Blackmon joined the team last season as an emergency cornerback that helped Washington win the NFC East. Over the offseason, he was asked to convert to safety after the signing of All-Pro Josh Norman. Blackmon wasn't viewed as a starter with DeAngelo Hall, another converted corner, the projected starter at free safety.
Ended 2016 like: In 15 games, including six starts towards the end of the season, Blackmon recorded 39 tackles, three passes defensed, one interception, one forced fumble, and a half sack.
Season high: In a game where the defense had a season-high five interceptions, Blackmon got in on the fun against the Chicago Bears. To his credit, Blackmon had a nifty 79-yard run back on his takeaway.
Season low: Although not performance related, a low point for Blackmon can certainly be having bye-week surgery to get pins placed in his thumb. The veteran defensive back bounced off of A.J. Green when trying to make a tackle when sustaining the injury.
Blackmon was put in a tough situation. There's some crossover with cornerback and safety, but the game is played at different angles with of a premium on tackling inside the yard markers. That's not the veteran's strength. Washington's defense was clearly its weakest link last season and improving the safety tandem would go a long way towards improving it.
2017 expectations: Assuming Blackmon makes the Redskins 53-man roster in August, he should revert back to his role as a backup safety and see an increased role on special teams as a returner and defender.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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