After each ranking the Redskins' position groups on a list that went from worst to best, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will now spend the rest of the week and weekend delving deeper into every spot on the roster.
Next up is the one they think is the third-thinnest on the team: Offensive line.
Currently on the depth chart: Chase Roullier, Keith Ismael, Ross Pierschbacher (centers), Brandon Scherff, Wes Martin, Wes Schweitzer, Jeremy Vujnovich, Michael Liedtke (guards), Morgan Moses, Cornelius Lucas, Saahdiq Charles, Geron Christian, Timon Parris, Paul Adams (tackles)
Who's in charge?: John Matsko (28 years of NFL experience, including his run in Carolina from 2011 to 2019)
As fun as it is to project what Dwayne Haskins can do in 2020, or how effective all the running backs could be, or how many catches Terry McLaurin may have, the reality is all of those discussions hinge on the offensive line.
Does that sound like something an old man would say? Of course. But sometimes, old men know what they're talking about.
Trent Williams is gone (as you may have heard by now). Brandon Scherff is currently on the franchise tag and coming off another I.R. stint. Morgan Moses needs to really recover from a lackluster 2019. And then there are a whole bunch of younger guys to figure out.
Now, let's take a closer look.
*On my Right Side of the Offensive Line Concern Scale, Brandon Scherff is coming in at about a 4/10, while Morgan Moses is registering at a 7/10. Scherff's two I.R. visits in 2018 and 2019 are certainly reason to worry, but the two injuries happened in two different places and neither involved his lower body. To me, he's still one major ailment away from being "injury-prone." I'm not worried at all about his abilities on the field, meanwhile — he's a stud, please don't think anything different — and would love to see the organization sign him long term. As for Moses, the penalties are officially a huge issue. His durability has been remarkable and shouldn't be overlooked, but he has to become a plus-player again for this line to succeed overall.
*In my opinion, I think the left tackle competition should be treated like this: If Cornelius Lucas and Saahdiq Charles are close, after whatever camp reps and preseason games they each receive, Charles should get the job. This Redskins rebuild is all about the future, and Charles is (hopefully) the future. But if it's clear that Lucas is far ahead of the LSU fourth-rounder, which could very well be the case, then Lucas should be the one to start in Week 1. Either way, as annoyed as fans were by the Trent Williams saga, they're going to end up badly missing him come September.
*I'm not really expecting Geron Christian to factor into 2020 at all, which is a shame, because a third-round selection entering his third campaign should be primed to help out. However, file this away: During a Zoom call with reporters late last month, Adrian Peterson mentioned that he had been working out with Christian and he said the 23-year-old's improvement has been "tremendous." Peterson wouldn't bring that up just to be nice.
*Here's an underrated storyline to pay attention to: This is Chase Roullier's last season of his rookie contract. Roullier has developed very well for a 2017 sixth-round choice out of Wyoming, but no one would label him one of the top centers in the sport. For those wondering why Washington took Keith Ismael on Day 3 of the recent draft when there is already so much depth on the interior, that might be your answer. Maybe this is a year for Ismael to get accustomed to the NFL, and next year could be where he takes over for Roullier at center.
*The lack of offseason workouts will be tough for Charles, mostly for the strength work. In a group Zoom conversation, Charles explained he had few workout opportunities beyond pushups and running in his Baton Rouge neighborhood. That might not be enough to beat out Lucas or Christian, one player that started eight games last year and another with real offseason excitement. That's right — ask around Redskins Park and people have been impressed with Christian's work ethic and workouts. He needed to get stronger, and by all accounts, he has. That left tackle spot will be fun to track, but to be clear, Charles as the left tackle is the long-term plan. When will that happen? We will all find out together.
*Pete is a worrier, and I'm used to it. Looking at the Redskins' offensive line for 2020, of all the things to worry about, don't worry about the right side. Moses didn't play great in 2019, and Scherff has dealt with injuries, but both players are very clearly the Redskins' two best linemen until proven otherwise. Worry about the entire left side, save your concerns about the right.
*I expect Wes Martin to win the job at left guard over Wes Schweitzer. Martin played at a decent level last year as a rookie in spot start work for Scherff, and Schweitzer has been middling his whole career. He's never won a job outright and held onto it, and in a weird, shortened offseason, neither player has a real leg up in the competition. In that case, give it to Martin, who costs less and is under team control for the next three seasons. Rivera is building this roster for tomorrow and not today, and despite the gaudy $4 million guaranteed in Scweitzer's deal, not much is guaranteed in 2021 or beyond.
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