The Redskins revamped their defensive line this offseason, bringing in two new starters in Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton to team up with Jason Hatcher. GM Scot McCloughan brought in Knighton and Paea to beef up a unit that had been largely ignored in Washington, and while the play up front should improve, by adding through free agency the Redskins may have set themselves up with a new problem: Age.
Presumed starter Paea is 27, Knighton is 29 and Hatcher is 33 years old. Youngest of the three, Paea is hardly long in the tooth, but a position as physically demanding as interior line, the years add up fast. Knighton only turned 29 in July, but for a man like "Pot Roast" the games add up. Free agency showed what the warket was like for Knighton, where he signed with the Redskins on just a one-year deal after many expected the nose tackle to garner major interest and a big money deal. With weight control concerns, not to mention the mileage on his body, the market proved the questions about Knighton. And then there is Hatcher, a physcial specimen at 6'6" and 300 lbs., but also on the wrong side of 30. Hatcher missed three games last season with injury, and registered only 5.5 sacks in the games he did play after logging 11 in 2013.
So while age is not a dire concern along the defensive line, it is something Washington needs to watch. Jay Gruden understands that.
"I think they still have a lot of football left in them – all those guys," Gruden said. "To have a veteran group on the defensive line is not a bad thing."
McCloughan worked fast to overhaul the Redskins defense in his first offseason, and over time, it's likely more young players will get added to the mix up front. In his first draft, the GM added two new offensive lineman in Brandon Scherff and Arie Kouandjio. Perhaps a similar investment will come at next year's draft on the defensive line. For now, the 'Skins seem confident in the guys they've got.
"They can all still play," Gruden said. "Eventually we’ll have to probably get a younger guy in here to develop but right now we feel good about the depth of our defensive line."
Just as most experts commended McCloughan for working to revamp the 'Skins defensive line, concerns pop up about age. Are they warranted? Let us know what you think in the comments.