The Washington Redskins Are at a Crossroads
The Washington Redskins have to make a decision on where to go from here.
This season has been marred with poor fan attendance, plenty of losing, and off the field distractions from training camp all the way to what is now week 16 of the season. The Redskins’ front office should be in deep evaluation mode and determining who is part of the future and who is not. There are a number of positions that need to be addressed during this offseason. With their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft pretty much guaranteed to be a top five, which position needs to be addressed first? A case can be made at a number of spots.
One of the positions that stands out would be left tackle. With current starter Donald Penn winding down his career, the Redskins should fill a tremendous void left when Trent Williams held out of training camp. Williams is currently still under contract, but has been adamant about never playing for the Redskins again. Even if Trent was to return, this is still a need area as Williams has battled injuries in recent years. The Redskins should trade Trent during this off season and possibly regain the 2nd round pick they lost in last year’s draft when they traded up to acquire outside linebacker Montez Sweat. Donald Penn has done a solid job in Williams’ absence, but the Redskins should be looking at a long-term cornerstone at the position. Don’t be surprised if the Redskins decide to address this need with their number one pick.
A name everybody has been hearing a lot of lately is Ohio State defensive end and Heisman Finalist Chase Young. Young is the best pass rusher/defensive end in the country and is a product of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD. Young could be the possible heir apparent to Ryan Kerrigan who’s play has declined. Kerrigan has been the consummate professional, and the most reliable player the Redskins have had on their roster for the last 9 seasons. Kerrigan is scheduled to make close to 12 million in 2020, which is the final season of a five-year deal, and the Redskins may choose to move on from the veteran this offseason. It’s not guaranteed that Kerrigan will not be a Redskin next year, but regardless, teaming Chase Young up with Montez Sweat would be quite a bookend for the Redskins’ defense and would put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses.
One of the players that has stood out this season is rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin and how dynamic of a receiver he is. Just imagine if the Redskins were able to land a similar talent with their first pick in the 2020 draft. If the Redskins were able to draft a player the caliber of Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, it would provide another young, exceptionally talented playmaker to make the offense that much more potent and dangerous. One thing is for sure, Jeudy’s talent is unquestionable, but how much of a need do the Redskins really believe wide receiver is with players like rookies Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims, Jr. continuing to develop, and make more plays as they receive more opportunities?
Another position that the Redskins will definitely need to consider drafting with their first round pick would be cornerback. The Redskins’ defensive backs have been better as of late with the young players receiving much more time on the field, but the glaring problem has been the walking, talking liability that is former starting cornerback Josh Norman. Norman is one of the weak links in the Redskins’ defense as quarterbacks of opposing teams look to pick on him whenever they need a play. The Redskins will need to address cornerback this off season by drafting a young playmaker at the position that can cover athletic receivers with size like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and DeAndre Hopkins. When you make 14 plus million, and you talk a certain talk, you are expected to produce at that level and it has not happened at all this season. That said, the Redskins should not have brought Norman back this season at that salary number. They will have to consider drafting the best cornerback available with their first round pick in 2020. Having a lockdown corner not only allows you to do more schematically on defense, but it gives the other players around a sense of confidence. That is invaluable and the Redskins haven’t had that at the position in three seasons. The opposite starting corner, Quinton Dunbar has had a solid season, but gets bit by the injury bug often. The Redskins will need to figure out just how high they are willing to go to get the cornerback they want who can anchor that secondary.
Lastly, the Redskins will have to closely monitor the free safety position which has been the void of talent ever since Sean Taylor’s death 12 years ago. I’m not going to even try and run down the list of names that have occupied that position over that span. Bottom line, the Redskins need to draft a starting safety in the 2020 NFL Draft, and they should spare no expense in getting one looking at the consistent issues the secondary has had every season regardless of who the defensive coordinator has been. A great free safety eliminates so many problems for your defense, but will the Redskins be willing to spend a first round draft pick to fill that glaring need? The Redskins have to stop doing patch work at the position, and get “their” guy. Whether or not that player is worth a top 3-5 pick remains to be seen.
The Redskins should be focused on gathering as much talent as possible during the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Many like to focus on the first round pick because that is where you allegedly get the top players available. In the Redskins case, if they don’t get a game-changer like Chase Young, I believe they should trade down for more picks and possibly recoup that 2nd round pick they traded last year. That 2nd rounder should be a possible starter at left tackle, cornerback, free safety, or tight end depending on the value available at that position. This off season is going to be a big one in terms of the franchise’s future. Decisions must be made in order to establish what direction the organization is moving in, and the people put in these positions to make those decisions will determine what happens with the Redskins’ first pick. Hopefully, under a new head coach, General Manager, and President of Football Operations, the Redskins’ first round pick this year will be the first in a new era of Redskins football. As you were…
Photo Credit: Washington Times