The Washington Post

Offseason questions: Where does Richard Crawford fit in the secondary?

Rookie cornerback Richard Crawford (39) is entering his second NFL season. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Redskins are expected to make moves this offseason – through free agency or the draft – to upgrade their secondary. Safety seems to carry the most importance, but the team could use help at cornerback as well.

The team must decide whether to release DeAngelo Hall, or just restructure his contract. They also must decide whether to re-sign Cedric Griffin, who held down the third cornerback role for most of the season before missing the final four games for using Adderall.

Josh Wilson, who started opposite Hall, remains under contract, and according to a person with knowledge of the situation, there have been no discussions regarding restructuring his deal at this point.

Richard Crawford – a 2012 seventh-round pick out of SMU – saw time as the third corner and will be entering his second season. He struggled early in the year, then found himself relegated to the bench. Given another chance late in the season with Griffin suspended, Crawford showed improvement.

What kind of a role will Crawford have in the coming year? That’s a question Washington’s talent evaluators must decide.

Crawford proved that he could help the team on special teams when he replaced Brandon Banks as the punt returner and averaged 19.5 yards per return, including a 64-yard runback that set up Washington for the winning overtime field goal against Baltimore.

But can Crawford be a reliable third corner?

At 5-foot-11, 191 pounds, he has average size and decent speed (4.42 40-yard dash). He covered receivers primarily on the outside, but did line up across from slot receivers here and in limited action. He recorded 18 tackles, two pass deflections and an interception.

Washington’s coaches will want to see more consistency out of Crawford, however.

The coming days and month should give an indication on where Crawford stands in the minds of his coaches. If they view him as the third corner, will they release Hall and bring in another starter? Or, will they hang onto Hall and use a second- or third-round pick on another corner and prepare him for extensive time in those nickel packages instead of Crawford?

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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