2013 NFL Draft Team Needs: Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins were dead in the water at 3-6 in 2012. Heck, even their own head coach, Mike Shanahan, had publicly mailed their season in. However, thanks to sensational rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Redskins won their next seven games, won the NFC East division, and got back to the playoffs.
They were one and done in the post-season thanks to a mis-managed RG3 knee injury that turned into a torn ACL, but it was a very successful season, nonetheless. Now Redskins fans get to worry about RG3′s comeback and what kind of impact he’ll have at less than 100% early in 2013.
But it’s not just RG3 Washington fans should be concerned with. The Redskins still have other areas that need addressing. Let’s see what they are and how Washington can get better via free agency and the draft in 2013:
Offensive Needs: WR, RT, TE
The Redskins made a great signing in the explosive Pierre Garcon last year. If he could have only stayed healthy, who knows how big of a year he and Robert Griffin III would have had. Still, he’s a major plus moving forward. As for the rest of Washington’s receiving corps, the same really can’t be said. Santana Moss isn’t the worst second receiver in the world, but he’s 34 and clearly regressing. Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan aren’t about to explode onto the scene, either. With Garcon’s health concerns and a lack of depth, the Redskins definitely need to think about adding some more talent in the passing game. Guys like Justin Hunter, Terrance Williams or Robert Woods could be potential second round looks for the ‘Skins.
Another area of concern is the offensive line. Specifically, right tackle. Washington needs to ensure RG3 is protected as good as possible – especially now that he’s coming off of a torn up knee. At some point in the draft, they have to get a guy that can at least come in and compete for the starting job.
Fred Davis is a free agent and Logan Paulsen and Chris Cooley aren’t the answer at tight end. The Redskins should probably just re-sign Davis, as he and RG3 had solid chemistry at times, and they could get a bit of a bargain since he’s coming off of an injury. Either way, they can’t roll into 2013 without addressing the tight end spot. Washington is without a first rounder for the next two years, but they still have a second round pick and it’s not crazy to think Zach Ertz or maybe even Tyler Eifert could fall to them. If not, Gavin Escobar is a massive target that could be an interesting pick.
Defensive Needs: S, CB, LB
Both Madieu Williams and Reed Doughty can be upgraded upon, while often injured Brandon Meriweather might not be worth trying to hold onto anymore. One way or another, landing at least one safety would help Washington at this point. If they aim for this position in round two, it’s possible they could see T.J. McDonald or Matt Elam fall to them. If not, they can try to just bring in some competition somewhere in the middle to late rounds.
Corner is another problem area, as Cedric Griffin is going to be a free agent and DeAngelo Hall could be a cap casualty. Hall is still a great ball-hawking corner who can shutdown elite talents at times, but he’s also as inconsistent as star corners come. I think he’s worth holding onto, but the Redskins still need to replace Griffin if they let him walk, while naturally thinking about the future of the position. Look for them to target a corner in round three or four.
We haven’t had to think about it much with London Fletcher being a machine for going on 50 years now, but the Redskins badly need to add some youth and talent to their line-backing corps. Obviously Fletcher could have already played his last down, but even if he returns the Redskins really need to start thinking of an insurance plan. I don’t think they have his replacement on the roster right now, while they could also use another outside pass-rusher for their rotation in their 3-4. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them target one of these spots right away with their first pick (in the second round), although it’s clear that insider linebacker is the greater need right now. If Washington is as concerned as I am, they could try to snag Arthur Brown or Khaseem Greene in the second (although Greene could fall to the third or later).
I really like what I saw from Washington’s defense in the second half of 2012, but if London Fletcher doesn’t return (and maybe even if he does), they really need to make sure there’s not a gaping hole in the middle of the field. Safety is the biggest question mark beyond that, but that might be an area the Redskins decide to patch up in free agency, leaving wide receiver and tight end as great target positions for the early rounds of the draft. If Washington can fill up a few holes and get the same RG3 back in time, they should be set for another playoff run in 2013.