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Redskins post-draft depth chart: Lots of moving parts on defense

Redskins post-draft depth chart: Lots of moving parts on defense

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.

Take a look at the offensive depth chart analysis here.

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.

RELATED: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

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.

MORE REDSKINS: Browns just laughed at report of Redskins-Cousins trade 

Cornerback (9)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Reserves: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Joshua Hosley, Dashaun Phillips, Tharold Simon, Shak Randolph

Safety (9)

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.

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

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Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

The Redskins added some linebacker depth Saturday afternoon by signing former Texas LB Gary Johnson, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

Johnson, 23, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs back in June following mandatory minicamp.

This signing immediately addresses a position of need as Washington's linebacker room is banged up. Reuben Foster was ruled out of the entire season due to a torn ACL he suffered in May, Josh Harvey-Clemmons is going through concussion protocol while strengthening an ailing knee, and Shaun Dion Hamilton is still questionable with a chest injury. 

In his two seasons at Texas, Johnson tallied 147 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and two pass breakups in 23 games.

Johnson took to Twitter to celebrate his latest opportunity in the nation's capital: 

Johnson's Twitter profile also features the statement "I Hate QB's & RB's."

It's fair to say the Redskins are always on the lookout for defensive guys with that mentality. 


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Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

The Redskins lost to the Bengals Thursday night at FedEx Field, but in the preseason, final results don't really matter. What matters comes in individual and group performances, particularly among first-team units.

In that vein, the Redskins starting defense looked strong against Cincinnati. Outside of some dumb and wacky penalty calls, the starting defense barely gave up any first downs. A number of players impressed on that group, so let's start with the stocks trending in the right direction. 

Stock Up

  • Montae Nicholson - The 96-yard interception return for a touchdown was an impressive display of playmaking ability and speed, but more than that, it was the culmination of a strong offseason and training camp. For the Redskins to be a Top 10 defense, Nicholson needs to be the hard-hitting stud that Washington fans saw glimpses of as a rookie in 2017. Last year was a lost season for Nicholson, who dealt with injuries, getting benched and legal troubles. 2019 is a new start, and so far, it looks quite good. 
  • Adrian Peterson - Not that a first-ballot Hall of Famer really needs preseason validation, but when Peterson ripped off a 26-yard run in the first quarter against the Bengals it became pretty obvious he's ready to go for 2019. And it's important too as second-year back Derrius Guice still isn't cleared for competition. 
  • Robert Davis - Another week, another long touchdown. If there's a handbook to show how to force your way onto a roster, Davis is reading from it. 
  • Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - These dudes are beasts. 

Despite the good news, there was bad news too. Here's that list:

Stock Down

  • Samaje Perine - Five carries for one yard against Cincy. You read that right. That comes after a poor showing in pass protection in the preseason opener. Jay Gruden always sings praises of Perine but hasn't after the last two preseason games. Prior to Shaun Wilson's ankle injury, he seemed like a guy that could really push for Perine's roster spot. Could that be Byron Marshall now?
  • Paul Richardson - The speedster wideout missed the Bengals game, and the word from one Redskins coach was "he's hurt." Many players get held out of preseason action with slight injuries, stuff they would play through in the regular season. That's not the deal with Richardson. He needs to get right. 
  • Cole Holcomb - If you can't make the club in the tub, Holcomb needs to get back on the field. While he's not in actual roster danger because of the growing number of injuries at inside linebacker, Holcomb is dealing with an AC joint issue. Linebackers need their shoulders, and Holcomb missed a valuable opportunity against the Bengals with presumed starter Shaun Dion Hamilton already out for that game. 
  • Nate Kaczor - The Redskins new Special Teams coach is off to a rough start. In two preseason games Washington has already given up two punt return touchdowns, and against the Bengals, kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point and a field goal. Special teams are tricky in the preseason. In the regular season with 53-man rosters, starting players land on special teams. In the preseason with 90-man rosters, it's largely a collection of players that won't make the final roster lining up on special teams. Still, ugly start.