The Washington Redskins long have been expected to address last year’s struggling secondary early in this month’s NFL Draft. With no clear-cut option for a quality third cornerback, the starting free safety position vacant, and projected strong safety Brandon Meriweather coming off of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Washington’s needs in the defensive backfield abound.
The problem with picking where Washington is slotted (51st overall pick; 19th selection of the second round), is that it’s more challenging to project who will be available by the time they’re on the clock.
If the Redskins’ top choice for a cornerback or safety is off the board, and they don’t have a second-round grade on those remaining, they could take the best player available. But, would that approach benefit them?
The team does have some needs other than defensive back, although those two do seem to be the most pressing.
What are some of the other areas the team must address in the draft, either at 51st overall or beyond?
Here’s a look at the depth chart at each position as of right now:
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III (if healthy), Kirk Cousins (OTAs starter), Rex Grossman (veteran /mentor), Pat White (NFL comeback hopeful).
Running back: Alfred Morris (coming off 1,600-yard season), Evan Royster (last year’s backup), Roy Helu (if healthy, could take over as No. 2 back because of speed and pass-catching ability).
Fullback: Darrel Young (newly-re-signed), Eric Kettani (2012 practice squad member), Dorson Boyce (coming off injury).
Left tackle: Trent Williams (Pro Bowl player), Tom Compton (2012 seventh-rounder)
Left guard: Kory Lichtensteiger (newly-re-signed), Josh LeRibeus (could be more natural center), Mo Hurt (filled in at tackle some).
Center: Will Montgomery (solid entering third season as starter), LeRibeus.
Right guard: Chris Chester (hasn’t missed a game since signing in 2011), Adam Gettis (didn’t take a snap in ’12)
Right tackle: Tyler Polumbus (newly re-signed), Jeremy Trueblood (lost starting job in Tampa), Tony Pashos (out of football in ’12).
Wide receiver: Pierre Garcon (hoping for healthier 2013), Aldrick Robinson (made two starts, 3 TDs in ’12), Santana Moss (top slot receiver).
Wide receiver: Josh Morgan (aiming for improved production after offseason ankle, hand surgery), Leonard Hankerson (up and down ’12 campaign; five starts, 3 TDs, inopportune drops), Dez Briscoe (seldom used after productive preseason).
Tight end: Logan Paulsen (at least until Fred Davis is fully healthy), Davis (coming off torn Achilles’ tendon), Niles Paul (entering second season at tight end).
Biggest needs: Injuries and inconsistencies make tight end and receiver possible areas of need. Long-term, team needs a solution at right tackle. Reliable change-of-pace back would be nice.
Left end: Jarvis Jenkins (coming off first season after missing 2011 with torn ACL), Doug Worthington (three games in ’12), Adam Carriker (still rehabbing from torn quad muscle).
Nose tackle: Barry Cofield (coming off strong second season at position), Chris Baker (newly-re-signed), Chris Neild (coming off torn ACL).
Right end: Stephen Bowen (coming off strong ’12 season), Kedric Golston (newly-re-signed).
Left outside linebacker: Ryan Kerrigan (Pro Bowl pick), Bryan Kehl (can play outside or inside linebacker), Darryl Tapp (converting from DE).
Inside linebacker: London Fletcher (coming off elbow and ankle surgery), Kehl, Keenan Robinson (coming off torn pectoral muscle, expected to be ready by OTAs).
Inside linebacker: Perry Riley (third-year starter continues to improve), Roddrick Muckelroy (didn’t play a game for Washington in ’12).
Right outside linebacker: Brian Orakpo (coming off second torn pectoral muscle since 2011), Rob Jackson (started in place of Orakpo, 4.5 sacks, four INTs).
Left cornerback: DeAngelo Hall (re-signed after release, moves to nickelback vs. slot WRs), E.J. Biggers (free agent addition, competing for third corner spot).
Right cornerback: Josh Wilson (solid veteran entering third season with team), Richard Crawford (second-year DB competing for third corner spot), Chase Minnifield (missed rookie season with knee surgery, competing for third corner spot).
Strong safety: Brandon Meriweather (coming off torn ACL, played one half of football in ’12), Reed Doughty (best in the box, struggles in coverage, strong special teams), DeJon Gomes (up and down second season, saw time at both free and strong safety).
Free safety: Doughty? Gomes? Jordan Pugh, who rotated in and out with Doughty, Gomes and the departed Madieu Williams?
Biggest needs: Strong and free safety clearly need some stability. Cornerback appears to be the next-most-pressing need. Inside linebacker (where Fletcher could be playing in his final season and where Robinson is coming off injury) also is possible.