Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 16, six days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Looking ahead—The Redskins core defensive players in 2021

Earlier this year, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2021 (offensedefense). That was before free agency and the draft. Now that the Redskins have their personnel mostly set, let’s revisit that look and see how much the picture has changed. The defense is up today; I looked at the offense yesterday

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory; if you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Ages are as of Week 1 in 2021

Potential blue-chip players: Jonathan Allen (26), Daron Payne (24), Montae Nicholson (25)
Changes from last projectionAdded Payne, Nicholson


I get that Nicholson is a bit of a stretch. OK, a major stretch. But I’m going on the basis of Jay Gruden saying that, when healthy, Nicholson is the equivalent of a defensive version of Jordan Reed. If he has that kind of impact he could be a blue chipper. Health is the key and it’s fair to say that at this point that is more of a concern for him than for the average player. 

If Payne can develop a consistent pass rush and if he stops the run as well as everyone thinks he will, he has blue-chip written all over him. So does Allen assuming he stays on the field.

Solid starters:Ryan Kerrigan (33), D. J. Swearinger (30), Preston Smith (28), Matt Ioannidis (27), Anthony Lanier (28), Tim Settle (24)
Changes:Removed Kendall Fuller (traded), added Settle

Kerrigan keeps himself in great shape and it’s easy to see him signing another contract with the Redskins when his current deal is up after the 2020 season and playing for a couple more years. Smith's contract is up after this year, and looking at what a competent pass rusher makes around the league, it won’t be cheap to keep him around. If he is with the Redskins, he will be in his prime in 2021. 

Lanier and Ioannidis also would need to be on second contracts. Along with Settle, Payne and Allen the team could have a very good defensive line that still would be young. 

Potential starters: Quinton Dunbar (29), Fabian Moreau (27), Ryan Anderson (27), Shaun Dion Hamilton (25), Zach Vigil (30)
Changes:Removed Trent Murphy (left as free agent), Nicholson, added Anderson, Hamilton

Anderson needs to bounce back from his zero-sack rookie year; he could go into one of the outside linebacker spots if Smith leaves as a free agent or if Kerrigan doesn’t re-sign. Hamilton is a projection based on how he performed at Alabama when healthy (a big if, see Nicholson). 

We will know a lot more about Moreau after this season and he could take a step up when I do this assessment early next year. Dunbar probably won’t make any Pro Bowls but he will be reliable. By the way, Josh Norman’s contract will be up after 2020 and he will be 33, so it’s hard to see him back in 2021. 

It’s too soon to tell about the other Redskins’ 2018 draft picks, so time will tell on Troy Apke and Greg Stroman. 

A potential 2021 defensive starting lineup:

DE Payne
DE Allen
OLB Kerrigan
OLB Smith
ILB Hamilton
ILB Vigil
CB Dunbar
CB Moreau

That’s a starting defense composed of players all currently on the team and with only Kerrigan over the age of 30 in Week 1. 


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

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A quick, initial take on the news that Arie Kouandjio will undergo surgery on his injured quad and be out “several months”: 


Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 71
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 85

The Redskins last played a game 136 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 116 days. 

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