Usually aggressive, the Redskins often choose poorly.
For years, the Redskins have eagerly anticipated this class, which could be as deep as they’ve hoped if the new rules grant unrestricted free agency after four seasons. Eric Schaffer, the Redskins’ talented vice president of football administration, has positioned the salary cap well, and Shanahan must pursue the right players to capitalize on his work.
On offense, Washington lacks proven big wide receivers and dependable running backs. Along the line, there’s at least one glaring hole at right tackle and much room for improvement at other positions.
The defense collapsed last season after Shanahan scrapped the team’s successful 4-3 philosophy and switched to a 3-4 scheme, finishing 31st out of 32 teams and ranking last for much of the season. Shanahan took the right approach in the draft, focusing on defense and trading down to add picks, and we’ll see whether any of the rookies make an immediate impact.
But in free agency, Shanahan must find another inside linebacker to help London Fletcher and a starting cornerback to join DeAngelo Hall.
The Redskins’ style of defense also requires Shanahan to make nose tackle a priority.
The to-do list is formidable and Shanahan will work under increased time constraints because of the time lost due to the labor impasse. Such is life, however, when you’re being paid millions to rebuild the region’s most popular team.
In the second season of his second stint with the Redskins, Joe Gibbs led the team to the playoffs and a postseason victory after finishing 6-10 the previous season. Gibbs showed Snyder it was possible to produce a quick turnaround and re-energize fans.
Now, Shanahan is faced with a similar opportunity. And he could succeed if he remembers one thing: to do just about everything differently than he did last season.