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2017 Redskins Depth Chart Preview: Defensive line desperate for improvement

2017 Redskins Depth Chart Preview: Defensive line desperate for improvement

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster.

While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp.

They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27.

In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

We’ll start with the defensive line.

2016 final game starters: Chris Baker, Ziggy Hood (NT)

Ricky Jean Francois was the third starter but he started many games on the bench when the Redskins opened up in a nickel defense.

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Departures: Francois (released), Baker (free agent), Cullen Jenkins (unsigned), Kedric Golston (unsigned)

Projected 2017 starters: Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, Hood (NT)

McClain and McGee came in as free agents. Injuries have hampered them at various times during their careers. Both are coming off career-best seasons so the Redskins hope that the two players are on the upswing.

2017 reserves: A.J. Francis, Joey Mbu, Phil Taylor, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier

Ioannidis was a fifth-round pick last year who didn’t make the 53-man roster and spent two weeks on the practice squad. Lanier took Ioannidis’ spot on the 53 as a development project. He played in four games before a leg injury sent him to injured reserve.

Francis spent time on the practice squad and was on the 53-man roster for one game. Mbu was a Week 6 practice squad signee. Taylor is a former first-round draft pick who hasn’t played since 2015.

Where can the D-line find improvement?

If you have been paying any attention at all you know that the Redskins will need to bolster their defensive line in the draft. Ideally, they would like to add a nose tackle but finding one can be tricky since the need to defend spread offenses in college has brought lighter, quicker linemen into the pipeline. But even adding a young end like Malik McDowell or Caleb Brantley sometime in the first two days of the draft would give a needed talent boost to the group.

Jay Gruden is very high on the potential of Lanier to be a pass rushing presence. He has the most potential of the young players on the line. Last year as an undrafted free agent he was just battling to get a spot on the team. This year as a lock to make it he will be able work on refining his game.

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It seemed like the team gave up on Ioannidis last year, cutting him in the final roster reduction and then putting him on the inactive list for four midseason games, preferring to dress the 35-year-old Jenkins instead. He is in a situation where he needs to improve or he could well get waived and not return.

Locks and Bubble Players

They have carried six or seven DL most of the time the last two seasons. The locks are McGee, McClain, Lanier, and the guy they draft in the first three or four rounds. Hood probably is the fifth lock unless they draft multiple linemen.

That leaves Ioannidis, Francis, Mbu, and Taylor on the bubble competing for one or perhaps two roster spots.

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

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One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

What will Ron Rivera bring to the Redskins in 2020 and beyond (well, besides lots of people who worked with him in Carolina)? That's a question everyone's trying to figure out.

Many are hoping for more wins, obviously. Washington's been one of the league's worst franchises for the past decade, while Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year with the Panthers who made it to the playoffs four times in nine seasons there.

Beyond that, however, there's an expectation that Rivera can also elevate the Burgundy and Gold's day-to-day operations, making the organization more professional, consistent and stable — words that haven't been used to describe their operations in a long time.

In an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, longtime NFL agent Andy Ross spoke to that second point.

"I will say this," Ross, who reps players such as Morgan Moses and Taysom Hill, told the podcast. "The one thing that Ron really instilled in the players, because I've had players on Carolina, was accountability. These are young men that are growing into men, so he wants to teach them to be strong men, be strong leaders. And I think that's something he's going to bring into Washington."

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANDY ROSS ON THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

The 2019 campaign was beyond chaotic for the Redskins, and one of its major turning points came when Dan Snyder made the decision to fire Jay Gruden after five straight losses to open the year. One of the most popular criticisms of Gruden was a lack of accountability. According to Ross, that won't occur now that Rivera's in charge.

The 58-year-old also possesses another quality that'll be incredibly valuable as he tries to turn around the Redskins, a place that's been plagued by distractions, leaks and fracturing season after season.

"He doesn't allow the outside influence to affect his football team," Ross said. "So I think you're going to see, with the Redskins going forward, that everything is going to be really kept in-house."

Rivera's reputation precedes him. Right after he was hired by Snyder, in fact, Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said he would tell players in Washington that "one of the best things in your career is about to happen."

Ross is yet another person to echo that kind of praise for the head coach. With each passing day, it sounds more and more like the Redskins landed someone with an approach that's precisely what everyone involved with the team needs.

"They have some really good, young talent," Ross concluded. "And I think he's really going to mold a lot of these young players into really strong men, and that should be good for the culture."

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Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

One lucky fan is headed to Super Bowl LIV, courtesy of Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

Teaming up with USAA and the American Veterans, Rivera is sending military veteran LeCheton “Omar” Settles to Miami. The Redskins head coach tweeted about it on Wednesday.

Settles joined the United States Marines at age 17 and dedicated eight years of his life to service. During his military tenure, Settles spent time as a Field Artillery Cannoneer, Marine Corps Security Force Guard, Martial Arts Instructor-Trainer, and Small Arms Weapons Instructor.

Rivera comes from a military background himself and is using this as a way to reward one military member for his service.

"Inspired by my father’s military service, we always had a strong military appreciation in our team’s culture during my time in Carolina and I plan on continuing that now with the Redskins in Washington, D.C.," Rivera said in the release. "To kick that off, I am privileged to partner with USAA and AMVETS to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant Omar Settles in recognition of and for his service to our country."    

 

He will meet with Settles on both Friday and Saturday of Super Bowl week at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge in Miami. 

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