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Redskins depth chart preview: Outside linebacker


Redskins depth chart preview: Outside linebacker

After a busy free agency period, a draft in which 10 new players were added and the acquisition of about a dozen undrafted college players, the Redskins look much different than they did last December. So in the coming weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will break down the roster position-by-position as the offseason activities ramp up and depth charts come into focus.

Position: Outside linebacker.

On the roster: Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat, Trevardo Williams and James Gayle.

Likely to make the 53: Kerrigan, Murphy, Smith and Jeffcoat.

Comment: Assuming the Redskins keep four outside linebackers as they did last year, the first three aren’t very tough to figure out. 

Kerrigan is arguably the team’s best player on defense, is coming off a career year and negotiating a lucrative, long-term extension. He’s also committed to taking more of a leadership role in 2015. Murphy, meantime, is a 2014 second rounder who started eight games last season. The buzz around Redskins Park is that he’s bulked up and should make a bigger impact as a sophomore. And Smith is this year’s second round selection. Although the Mississippi State product has a lot to learn in a short amount of time, the expectation is that he’ll make a significant impact as a rookie.

The question at this position revolves around the fourth—and likely—final spot, which last season didn’t see the field much, anyway. Kerrigan played 1,000 snaps, while Brian Orakpo and Trent Murphy combined for 996. Next in playing time was Jeffcoat at 118 snaps.  

Battling for a job: Jeffcoat and Williams.

Comment: Both Jeffcoat and Williams produced a sack last season in limited playing time. Jeffcoat, the son of former Cowboys defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, also notched an interception.

But, as with most backup jobs, the tiebreaker is going to be special teams. Williams made two tackles (and missed another) on coverage teams, while Jeffcoat was not credited with a tackle, again, in limited playing time.

Long shot: Gayle.

Comment: If you’re on the roster, you’ve got a shot. Some, however, face longer odds than others. Gayle, a 6-4, 259-pound Virginia Tech product, was signed by the Redskins in January after spending a portion of last summer in the Titans’ camp. He has not appeared in an NFL game.

Post-draft depth chart series

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.


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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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