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Redskins offseason Q&A: What will the CB depth chart look like?


Redskins offseason Q&A: What will the CB depth chart look like?

With a new general manager in charge, new faces throughout the lineup as well as new assistant coaches bringing new ideas to the table, the Redskins are a team in transition. Between now and the start of training camp, reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the top questions facing Jay Gruden and Co. as they prepare for the season.

What will the cornerback depth chart look like?

Like many areas of the team, the Redskins’ cornerback group is in a state of flux. Chris Culliver came in as a free agent. DeAngelo Hall missed 13 games last year and the entire offseason program while rehabbing from a torn Achilles. David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland, the starters after Hall went out, are back. The coaches seem to be high on Tevin Mitchel, a sixth-round rookie. How will the depth chart shake out when the season gets underway?

Tandler: Take out a Sharpie and put Culliver at the top of the depth chart. He might follow the other team’s top receiver from side to side. Then put the lid back on the Sharpie and get out a dry erase marker for the rest of this.

I think that many will put Breeland down as the second starter without even giving it much thought. But I think that he could be pushed by Amerson, who suffered a horrible sophomore slump last year. The word is that he is taking the game more seriously this year and if he can match Breeland’s off-field work and study habits, his physical ability could earn him a starting job. In any case, if Amerson is indeed focused on football it’s hard to see him as anything worse than the third CB. He could come in and play the outside in nickel situations and have Breeland move in to cover the slot.

This brings up the question of Hall’s status. He is due a $4 million salary this year. It makes no economic sense to pay your fourth cornerback that much. They already made one adjustment to his contract in the spring, converting $1 million in guaranteed money to regular salary payable only if he makes the 53-man roster. That is not a move they would have made if he was a roster lock. Unless Hall surprises and can push past Breeland or Amerson on the depth chart he could be faced with a choice of taking a pay cut or getting let go.

Mitchel likely sticks around but he will learn on the scout team and on special teams. If Hall is not around, look out for Trey Wolfe, who spent some time on the practice squad last year. His ability to make spectacular, one-handed interceptions will earn him a good look from Perry Fewell and Joe Barry.

El-Bashir: Can’t really argue with anything Tandler wrote. Culliver will be the Redskins’ No. 1 corner, and everything after that is subject to change.

My focus in training camp will be on Amerson and Hall. There’s optimism at Redskins Park that Amerson has rededicated himself after a difficult sophomore season and can still blossom into the player they hoped he’d be. Can Amerson challenge Breeland? He's got the talent, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up. Throughout the offseason, Amerson worked as the No. 3 cornerback behind Culliver and Breeland. So that’s going to be his starting point when camp opens in Richmond.

I’m also really curious about Hall. As Tandler said, he agreed to a contract restructuring in February that removed a $1 million guarantee. That’s a sign that GM Scot McCloughan isn’t sure if the 31-year-old will successfully rebound from a twice-torn Achilles. And, from the sounds of it, there’s a chance Hall won’t be full-go at the start of training camp. That, obviously, wouldn’t be ideal. 

Assuming Hall does make the cut, that presumably would leave one roster spot available. Right now, I’ve got to imagine it goes to Mitchel, a rookie who showed steady progress this offseason but still is expected to cut his teeth on special teams. If Hall doesn’t make the cut, that could open the door for Trey Wolfe, a camp hopeful with an interesting story, and/or Justin Rogers, who was used sparingly in three games last season.

Previously on Redskins offseason Q&A:

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 


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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.