Overview: There were a lot of calls for the Redskins to draft a defensive end with their first-round selection, but they stood pat. Gregg Williams managed to compensate for the loss of starter Phillip Daniels for much of the year by plugging in spare parts such as Demetric Williams and Ron Warner into an effective rotation. Nobody here is a Pro Bowl threat, but expect the unit to contribute to the success of the defense again this year.
Changes: Singed Aki Jones as an undrafted free agent.
Daniels and Renaldo Wynn are the starters and Williams, Warner and perhaps some
others will get significant playing time in the rotation.
Nic Clemons (6-6,
278, Georgia, 2 NFL seasons): The Redskins took a shot at him prior to the 2003
season even though he missed all but two games of his 2002 senior season at
Georgia due to an injury. He spend the last two years on the practice squad, so
he has also used up his eligibility there, so he'll have to make the 53-man
roster to continue his career in Washington.
(6-5, 285, Georgia, 9 NFL seasons): First a groin injury and then a dislocated wrist
bone kept the Redskins designated starter at right end on the sideline for all
but five games in weeks 8-12. He played well in the time that he was in there
getting a sack, a fumble recovery, and five solo tackles. If he stays healthy
in 2005 he could be the disruptive force at end that the Redskins have been
missing on the line since the heyday of Mann and Manley.
(6-3, 280, Georgia, 3 NFL seasons): Nobody but the most hard core of Redskins
fans would be able to tell you that Evans started half of the Redskins' games
at right defensive end. His play was hardly spectacular enough to make one
notice, but he did record two and a half sacks, including 1.5 of Daunte Culpepper in the season finale and was solid against the run. If all goes well
for the Redskins this year, Evans won't be starting nearly eight games, but he
should play a key role.
Aki Jones (6-5,
280, Fordham, rookie): Jones was a terror in the Patriot League, but that
rarely translates into success in the NFL. However, looking at some of the
no-names with suspect pedigrees who contributed to the success of the defense
last year it would be foolish to say that Jones has no shot.
Ron Warner (6-3,
270, Kansas, 5 NFL seasons): Warner earned two starts at end last year and was
another solid, dependable performer. He was the only member of the defensive
line to get an interception, in Week 15 in San Francisco. Expect more of the
same—solid, dependable play, not interceptions—out of Warner in 2005.
(6-2, 269, Kansas State, 2 NFL seasons): He had a chance of being a first-day
draft pick in 2003, but a serious knee injury in the Holiday Bowl dropped him
to the fifth round, where New Orleans took him. Williams has bounced around the
league in the past couple of seasons and the Redskins signed him last December.
He certainly is a long shot, but, again, Williams will find a way to make the
most out of what talent he has.
Renaldo Wynn (6-3, 292, Notre Dame, 8 NFL seasons): It's difficult to come up with many memorable plays that Wynn has made in starting all 54 games the team has played since he came aboard as a free agent from Jacksonville. For that reason, he was the one that some were clamoring to replace with a flasher model via the draft. Wynn's not going anywhere as he is as sound as they come fundamentally, he is rock-solid against the run, and always managed to get a few sacks a year despite the fact that he's almost always replaced in passing situations. Sure, the Redskins could upgrade here, but they also could do much, much worse.
Man to Man: