The Redskins’ defensive backfield was crowded before the NFL draft. After the team grabbed two corners and two safeties, there will be a lot of sorting out to do between now and when the season starts in September.
Here are the four defensive backs they took on Friday and Saturday:
- CB Fabian Moreau, taken in the third round out of UCLA, was a borderline first-round guy before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle lifting weights during his pro day. I’m not quite sure exactly what pumping iron at his pro day does for a cornerback’s draft stock, but that’s water under the bridge. Moreau said that he will be ready for full participation five months from the date of his injury, which was March 22. That will be August 22, when the Redskins are getting ready to play in preseason game No. 3.
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- In the fourth round, they took Montae Nicholson, a safety out of Michigan State who showed well at the combine but not on game tape. It’s hard to see him contributing much this year, but perhaps they can coach up the 6-2 prospect.
- Both of their seventh-round picks were DB’s. First, they took Louisville S Josh Harvey-Clemons, who is 6-4. His NFL.com draft profile compares him to Kam Chancellor, but before he starts making Pro Bowls, he must stay on the field. Multiple failed drug tests got him kicked out of Georgia.
- CB Joshua Hosley was a four-year starter at Auburn. It would not be shocking to see him compete for the slot corner job, which was an area of weakness for the team last year.
These players will have to fight their way onto the roster that already had 13 defensive backs with NFL experience.
- Josh Norman (69 NFL games)
- Bashaud Breeland (45)
- Kendall Fuller (13)
- Quinton Dunbar (25)
- Dashaun Phillips (11)
- Tharold Simon (20)
- Su’a Cravens (11)
- D.J. Swearinger (59)
- DeAngelo Hall (166)
- Will Blackmon (96)
- Deshazor Everett (27)
- Josh Evans (49)
- Earl Wolff (18)
It’s early to have a good handle how the depth chart will shake out. Last year, they kept six cornerbacks and five safeties on their initial 53-man roster. They may be able to stretch that to a total of 12 defensive backs, but no more than that will stay around.
At safety, the question is will the Redskins go young or lean toward keeping more experience? Will Nicholson and/or Harvey-Clemons make the team at the expense of Hall and/or Blackmon? Or will Everett be the odd man out?
If they keep six cornerbacks, the decisions to not appear to be as tough. Moreau and Hosley could join Norman, Breeland, Fuller and Dunbar.
We will see how things unfold. Injuries are almost always a factor and someone could be thrust into a much bigger role than anticipated. Moreau’s pec may not heal on schedule, making him a candidate to start the season on the PUP list.
In any case, there should be a lot of fun competition in the back end of the defense during OTAs and minicamp and in Richmond once training camp gets underway.
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