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Redskins post-draft depth chart, defense: Starting spots up for grabs

Redskins post-draft depth chart, defense: Starting spots up for grabs

Here is a look at the Redskins’ depth chart on defense after the draft. Undrafted free agents whose signings have been announced by the team are included. Take a look at the offensive depth chart from a post earlier this week.

Defensive line (11)

Starter: Kedric Golston (NT), Chris Baker, Stephen Paea
Backups: Kendall Reyes, Ricky Jean Francois, Trent Murphy, Matt Ioannidis, Ziggy Hood, Cory Crawford, James Gayle, Jerrell Powe

It seems that everyone is worried about who will play nose tackle except for Scot McCloughan, Jay Gruden, and Joe Barry. Apparently they will scheme around the lack of a Pot Roast-sized presence in the middle. In any case, there will be a strong rotation of ends if Paea bounces back after a rocky first season in Washington, Murphy can successfully transition from linebacker, and Ioannidis has some impact as a rookie.

Outside linebacker (6)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette
Reserves: Preston Smith, Houston Bates, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail

Inside linebacker (8)

Starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Reserves: Perry Riley, Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Garvin, Steven Daniels, Carlos Fields

With the move of Murphy to the line the vital outside linebacker position looks pretty thin all of a sudden. Galette, Kerrigan, and Smith all have the potential to produce double-digit sack totals but health, especially Galette’s, will be critical. Inside linebacker is crowded with Riley in the mix with Compton and Foster for starting jobs and all of the rest of them in legitimate contention for a backup/special teams spot.

Cornerback (8)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler, Jeremy Harris, Dashaun Phillips

Safety (7)

Starters: DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho
Reserves: David Bruton, Will Blackmon, Su’a Cravens, Deshazor Everett, Kyshoen Jarrett

Well, you can’t accuse the organization of recycling old safeties from around the league this year. Ihenacho has one season as a full-time starting safety on his resume; the rest of the players on the depth chart have none. There will be plenty of competition to see who makes it and how the depth chart shapes up. The cornerbacks could be a pretty good group, particularly if Dunbar continues to develop after a promising rookie season.

There currently are 39 defensive players on the roster; the Redskins will want to go into OTAs with about 43. They should look to bring in a defensive lineman, an outside linebacker, and one or two cornerbacks.

Seven of the 11 starting positions currently seem to be up in the air. There are legitimate competitions for two of the defensive line jobs, at inside linebacker, and at one of the safety spots.

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

LOS ANGELES — Some years, the December talk is of playoff tiebreakers.

Other years, it’s about draft position.

This is one of those “other” years.

The Redskins’ current skid of four losses in their last five games has knocked them out of playoff contention but into more favorable position in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in late April.

The Redskins' record is 5-8 through Week 14,  and if the season ended today, Washington would be picking either 11th or 12th in the first round.

Here’s the big picture: As of today, there are eight teams that have fewer wins than Washington. All of them would be picking ahead of the Redskins. 

The Bengals and Jets also have eight losses so the one and only draft order tiebreaker would be applied.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

This does not work out well for the Redskins.

The NFL Draft tiebreaker is strength of schedule with the teams with the weaker schedules getting the better picks. I am sure you have heard about how tough a schedule the Redskins have all year long. It was a point of pride for many fans. But now it comes back to bite them.

The Jets (opponents winning percentage .488) and the Bengals (.444) have faced weaker schedules than the Redskins (.574). That pushes Washington back to 11th.

RELATED: FEW UPS, MANY DOWNS VS. CHARGERS

But there is a Week 14 game pending. The Dolphins, who have seven losses, play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If they lose and join the eight-loss group, they would jump ahead of the Redskins based on the SOS tiebreaker, pushing Washington back to 12th.

Of course, the season doesn’t end today and a lot can happen.

But if the bottom doesn’t completely fall out it seems likely that they will end up somewhere between 10th and 12th in the first round.

We will be looking at what that might mean for the Redskins in the coming days and weeks as the offseason comes early for the Redskins one more time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

The NFC Playoff picture is no clearer in Week 14 than it was in Week 8.

Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, the NFC in particular has been a gauntlet. So much of a gauntlet that one of the league’s best in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks, sit outside of the postseason with an 8-5 record.

As of the conclusion of Week 14’s action, only the Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) have locked up a postseason spot.

The Eagles claimed the NFC East for the first time since 2013 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The will clinch a first round bye with a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers this weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) with their loss remains second in the conference, still within striking range over the overall No. 1 seed.

With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Rams (9-4) have a tough hill to climb to claim a first-round bye, but first they need to get back in the win column.

For the WildCard berths there was a wrench thrown into many teams plans with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) defeating the New Orleans Saints (9-4) on Thursday night. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker over pretty much every team chasing them for the final playoff spot.

For the five remaining unclaimed spots in the postseason, 10 teams are still alive.

After Week 15 though, that number could dwindle down significantly.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

NFC Playoff Picture Week 15

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:
— #1 Philadelphia Eagles* (11-2) vs. BYE
— #2 Minnesota Vikings (10-3) vs. BYE
— #3 Los Angeles Rams (9-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
— #4 New Orleans Saints (9-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (9-4)

NFC TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:
— Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
— Detroit Lions (7-6)
— Green Bay Packers (7-6)
— Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
— Arizona Cardinals (6-7)

NFC TEAMS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF PICTURE:
— Washington Redskins (5-8)
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
— Chicago Bears (4-9)
— San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
— New York Giants (2-11)

SEEDING NOTES:
— Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Panthers.
— Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Saints, and Falcons.
— Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers.
— Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints.
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

WILD CARD NOTES:
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
— Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
— Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
— Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, Cowboys.
— Cowboys own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Week 15 NFC Games With Playoff Implications:

Sat., Dec 16: Bears at Lions (4:30 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Bengals at Vikings (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Jets at Saints (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Eagles at Giants (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cardinals at Redskins (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Panthers at Packers (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Rams at Seahawks (4:05 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cowboys at Raiders (8:30 p.m.)
Mon., Dec 18: Falcons at Buccaneers (8:30 p.m.)