The Redskins' cornerback group for the 2019 season is shaping up to be a solid mix of established veterans and a few young, but unproven players with potential.
It's no secret the cornerback position has been one of the weaker units for the Redskins in recent seasons. But in 2019, it could be a different story, depending on one key thing, according to NBC Sports Washington's Trevor Matich.
"It all depends on how the young guys do," Matich said.
The veterans in the Redskins' cornerback group are all well established.
"We know what we have in Josh Norman, one of the better corners in the league," Matich said. "They have experience in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They have Quinton Dunbar back from injury, and if he's fully healthy, he's one of the rising corners in the NFL."
Norman is locked in as one of the starting outside cornerbacks. If he's healthy, Dunbar will likely be the other starter opposite Norman. But after that is where things get tricky.
To address their depth at the position, the Redskins have prioritized the cornerback unit in recent drafts. Now, they must perform on the field.
"The Redskins have drafted several players at the position over the past couple years, and it's time for them to step up," Matich said.
In 2017, Washington used a third-round pick on Fabian Moreau. In each of the past two drafts, the Redskins invested a seventh-round pick in two cornerbacks: Greg Stroman in 2018 and Jimmy Moreland in 2019. Danny Johnson signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and was a contributor as a rookie as well.
"The first guy to look at is Fabian Moreau out of UCLA," Matich said on who the Redskins should look to step up in 2019. "He's a first-round talent, runs a 4.35 forty. But he dropped in the draft because he injured his pectoral [muscle] during the draft workout process. He's healthy now, and coaches have been talking about how well he's doing this offseason. The question then becomes, can he turn his progress into production on the field?"
Moreau is entering his third season with the Redskins, and they expect him to take the jump to the next step and establish himself as the No. 3 cornerback.
Due to injuries to the position, both Stroman and Johnson were given significant snaps as rookies a season ago.
Did they struggle some? Yes. But that doesn't mean they can't bounce back, especially with a year of NFL experience under their belt.
"Do [Stroman and Johnson] have the potential to rise up?" Matich said. "Yeah, they do."
This year's late-round defensive back is certainly in the mix for playing time as well. Jimmy Moreland was a star during offseason OTA's and minicamp, pulling down five (!!) interceptions in total, including three in one day.
Sure, there's a lot of uncertainty at the cornerback position. But if a few of the young guys can pull it together, this group has a lot of potential in 2019.
"If the young guys develop from unguided missiles who don't really know what's going on into productive players, then this could be for the first time in a long time, a solid, deep group of corners for the Redskins," Matich said.
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