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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Zach Brown adds playmaking element to inside linebackers

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Zach Brown adds playmaking element to inside linebackers

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 started with the defensive line. Today the focus turns to inside linebacker

2016 final game starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster

Compton was the Mike linebacker, calling the defensive signals.  

Departures: Terence Garvin (UFA)

Garvin was primarily a special teams contributor, playing only 58 snaps on defense

Projected 2017 starters: Compton, Zach Brown

No coaches have spoken to the media since Brown was signed as a free agent last Monday so this is highly unofficial. Brown and Foster both have called defensive signals from time to time but the coaches are more likely to be comfortable with Compton calling the defense. That makes Brown the starter alongside Compton and Foster playing the nickel role.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 7.0

It should be noted that Compton is technically unsigned. He is a restricted free agent and the Redskins tendered him at $1.8 million. Compton hasn’t signed the tender yet and it’s still possible that another team can make him an offer sheet that the Redskins would have the option to match. But his return seems very likely.

2017 reserves: Foster, Martrell Spaight, Chris Carter, Zach Vigil, Steven Daniels

Spaight started one game when Compton was injured and did an adequate job. Vigil will get a shot at showing what he has after the Redskins claimed him on waivers in Week 16. Daniels suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and he spent the season on injured reserve. The Redskins will be Carter’s fifth team in seven NFL seasons; he will compete for Garvin’s reserve/special teams role.

Where can the inside LB’s find improvement?

The biggest boost here should be Brown. He brings speed to a defense that lacks it. In fact, if you go by combine 40 times, Brown is faster than any of the Redskins’ starting four defensive backs. Last year Brown’s playmaking ability helped him make his first Pro Bowl; he posted an interception, two forced fumbles, and 4.5 sacks.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Brown is on a one-year contract, Foster is in the last season of his contract, and, as noted, Compton is on the one-year tender. The Redskins will not hesitate to consider drafting an inside linebacker such as Haason Reddick (who visited Redskins Park recently) or Zach Cunningham.

Compton won't get faster or more athletic but he does spend a lot of time in the film room. He is the kind of player who could improve as he accumulates more knowledge and makes up for his lack of sheer speed with better anticipation.

Locks and bubble players

Compton, Foster, and Brown are set. Spaight is likely to make the final 53 in September since he has game experience. A high draft pick would also be a lock, of course.

Last year, they kept five inside linebackers on the roster but it’s possible they will keep only four. That would leave Carter, Vigil, and Daniels either fighting for one spot or on the outside looking in.

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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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

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Various sources

Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 31-53

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins.

No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>>

Today we’re starting up the list with the players we ranked from 31-53, Here are some of the players in our latest update:

— Seven of the team’s draft picks, including the pick they made last week.     

— All three specialists.

— The team’s leading rusher from 2017.   

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-31>> 

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