Here is a look at the Redskins’ depth chart on defense after the draft. Undrafted free agents whose signings have been announced by the team are included.
Defensive line (9)
Starter: Phil Taylor (NT), Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee
Backups: Jonathan Allen, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis
This is not necessarily the Week 1 starting lineup. McClain and McGee are likely to line up with the first defense during OTAs. We will see if Allen can push his way into the starting lineup. Regardless, he will play a lot of snaps. I get the feeling that they would like to have Taylor start at nose tackle but he must prove he can stay healthy.
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Outside linebacker (7)
Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Reserves: Junior Galette, Ryan Anderson, Trent Murphy, Houston Bates, Lyndon Trail
Inside linebacker (8)
Starters: Will Compton, Zach Brown
Reserves: Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight, Chris Carter, Khairi Fortt, Zach Vigil, Pete Robertson
There is potential to have some fierce pass rush out of that OLB group. The top five all have the capability of posting double-digit sacks. Murphy will go through training camp and the preseason before sitting out the first four regular season games due to a PED suspension. Compton will remain the starter at Mike linebacker to call the defenses but you will see plenty of combinations with him, Brown, and Foster.
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Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Joshua Hosley, Dashaun Phillips, Tharold Simon, Shak Randolph
Starters: Su’a Cravens, D. J. Swearinger
Reserves: Will Blackmon, DeAngelo Hall, Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Earl Wolff, Josh Evans
Harvey-Clemons was a box safety at Louisville; the Redskins have him listed as a linebacker. We’ll leave him here for now and see where he lines up when OTAs get underway. Competition at safety will be tough, as nine players on the depth chart either were drafted or have NFL playing experience. Yesterday I heard talk that Moreau may not be ready for the season and that he will be ready for the start of training camp. That will get sorted out over the next couple of months.
There currently are 42 defensive players on the roster; the Redskins will want to go into OTAs with 43 or 44. They should look to bring in one or two defensive linemen and they could trim a defensive back or two in order to create roster spots.
With the presence of Allen and the uncertainty surrounding Taylor, all three D-line starting positions are up in the air. Smith, who started 16 games last year, could be pushed by Galette and Anderson. The other seven traditional starting jobs seem to be set. When they start the game with three cornerbacks, which happens frequently, the competition will be between Fuller, Hosley, and Phillips.