With three of the four key contributors at cornerback headed toward free agency, the Washington Redskins have decisions to make, and an opportunity to upgrade an area of the field marked by inconsistencies for some time.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett last month highlighted re-signing DeAngelo Hall as one of the team’s offseason priorities. But it remains unclear where the team stands on the other starting cornerback, Josh Wilson.
Wilson, who turns 29 next month, is coming off of his third season in Washington and last year took over as nickel back, lining up against opposing slot receivers. Wilson was the least-penalized defensive back on the team, drawing only two flags all season.
Wilson, who last offseason restructured his contract to remain with his hometown team, was solid against the run. But he had some ups and downs in pass coverage last season. At times, the 5-foot-9, 188-pound cornerback struggled against bigger targets. Other times, he didn’t fare well against speedy pass-catchers.
The Redskins used a second-round pick on David Amerson last year. Amerson as a rookie came off the bench, but played frequently because most teams use three- and four-receiver sets. Amerson would play on the outside opposite Hall, and Wilson would slide to the inside.
The natural progression would be for Amerson to take over as a starter this season, and that would nudge Wilson out of a starting job. Because they need to get bigger and faster in the secondary, it’s hard to see the Redskins re-signing Wilson.
The cornerback market is rather deep with players like Aqib Talib, Dominique Rodgers Cromartie and Washington native Vontae Davis ranking among the players with expiring contracts. Fortunately for the Redskins, Hall (if re-signed) has the versatility to play both inside and on the outside. The Redskins also could elect to fill their cornerback needs through the draft.
Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Florida’s Marcus Roberson and Utah’s Keith McGill all rank among a list of talented prospects that have good size and potential and could be available in the second- to third-round range.
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
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