With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. The Redskins, without a first round pick for the second straight year because of the trade for quarterback Robert Griffin III, are up next. They have six overall picks, including No. 34 overall, at their disposal and defense should be a major priority.
Defensive End: The defense needs help everywhere after a dreadful 2013 showing, so we might as well start our look at the Redskins up front. Signing Jason Hatcher was a step in the right direction, but the talent still needs to be upgraded if the Redskins are going to stop teams from steamrolling them again this year.
While the Redskins don’t have a first-round pick, the depth of the draft should allow them to consider potential starters with the 34th pick. Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman has his detractors, but he also has the ability to be a very good starter in the league.
Cornerback: DeAngelo Hall is back for a 12th season, but the Redskins need to start thinking about other options at the position. That’s true even if David Amerson makes strides in his second season because Tracy Porter is not a long-term answer either.
There are no shortage of options available on the second and third days of the draft at corner, including Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir, Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Florda’s Louchiez Purifoy. If Hall and Porter are sound, a rookie could spend the year developing with an eye on stepping forward in 2015.
Safety: The fact that the Redskins re-signed Brandon Meriweather and brought in Ryan Clark for a swan song says a lot about the team’s confidence in big steps forward from 2013 draftees Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.
If everything breaks right, the group could work but Meriweather’s health issues and Clark’s age make that an iffy bet. A more prudent course would be to add to the position in hopes that competition turns up a higher level of play than the team got last season.
Right Tackle: There are no problems at left tackle where Trent Williams continues to play at a high level. That’s not true elsewhere on the line. The interior was addressed in free agency, so we’ll look to upgrading on Tyler Polumbus at right tackle.
Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio and Virginia’s Morgan Moses could be available at the top of the second round while Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort and Michigan’s Michael Schofield would be considerations if the Redskins decide to play a more patient hand at tackle.
Inside Linebacker: London Fletcher is gone, but the Redskins re-signed Perry Riley and brought in Daryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan as free agents. There’s room for an upgrade there, especially after watching the Redskins miss tackle after tackle last season. Wisconsin’s Chris Borland could be a possibility, but a better bet may be to address the position later while focusing on some of the more pressing needs above.