With the offense in the rear view mirror, attention now turns to the defense at the NFL scouting combine at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. Monday will feature defensive lineman and linebackers with Tuesday of particular interest to Redskins coaches and scouts with the secondary. With that in mind, we wrap up our combine previews, combining parts three and four together.
The Redskins have no first round picks, with an extra fifth round selection, for a total of seven draft choices. Washington may be seeking two corners, a pair of safeties, an inside and outside linebacker, a nose tackle and a defensive end. Yes, that adds up to eight and with several needs on offense, some roster spots will need to be filled through either free agency or undrafted players.
Defensive Tackle- Barry Cofield has been a solid free agent pickup, but the team would love a strong backup. The Skins would love to not only spell Cofield, but allow him to slide outside on occassion in pass rushing situations. Backup Chris Baker is a restricted free agent, while Chris Neild is coming off an injury. Free agent signing Ron Brace could very well be the answer here.
Kwame Geathers/Georgia 6'5" 340- Technique needs work, but upside is as enormous as his size.
Montori Hughes/Tennessee-Martin 6'4" 330- DC Jim Hasslet doesn't like jumbo NT's, so Hughes may be the choice.
Terence Barnes/Georgia Tech 6'6" 370- Intriguing size, figures to be situational player at next level.
Defensive End- Stephen Bowen was another solid pickup, as the team successfully rebuilt the entire defensive line to suit the 3-4 scheme. Adam Carriker missed a good chunk of the season and rumors continue to circulate that he may be a salary cap casualty. Long time backup Kedric Golston is an unrestricted free agent. Jarvis Jenkins played what was effectively his rookie season with Doug Worthington working in reserve. Pass rush must be improved, but the return of Brian Orakpo should help. Phillip Merling was brought in and has untapped potential.
Devin Taylor/South Carolina 6'7" 270- Jadaveon Clowney gets all the pub and attention, which helped Taylor excel.
Damion Square/Alabama 6'2" 295- Waited his turn and became senior leader on nation's most stout defense.
William Gholston/Michigan State 6'6" 285- Underachieving Spartan brings loads of potential and size to match.
Margus Hunt/SMU 6'8" 280- My favorite player in the draft, would the Skins spend a pick high enough to get him?
Linebacker- London Fletcher has not announced his plans, but rumors persist that he has played his last down. Lorenzo Alexander is an unrestricted free agent and should be a high priority due to contributions on and off the field. Rob Jackson emerged with Orakpo going down and is restricted. Bryan Kehl is unrestricted and may become a priority if the numbers become a problem. Keenan Robinson is also returning from injury.
Jon Bostic/Florida 6'1" 245 ILB-- Very productive leader of the Gators defense, limited range and struggles in space.
Nico Johnson/Alabama 6'2" 250 ILB- Strong technique and very experienced playing inside in 3-4 scheme.
Jelani Jenkins/Florida 6'0" 245 OLB- Local product has potential to be among league's best cover backers in time.
Kevin Pough/Howard 6'2" 240 OLB- Another local product with great athleticism, only question is level of competition.
Cornerback- DeAngleo Hall obviously is facing a restructured contract, or a new employer. He could also be tried at free safety, depending on how things sort out in free agency and the draft. Cedriic Griffin is unrestricted. Will the Chase Minnifield gamble payoff? Josh Wilson and Richard Crawford return and possibly Jerome Murphy.
Darius Slay/Mississippi State 6'0" 190- Teammate Jonathan Banks gets all the pub, but Slay is player in his own right.
Tyrann Mathieu/LSU 5'9" 190- How high will the "Honey Badger" go? Kick return ability value added.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson/Connecticut 6'1" 195- Big, tough corner may lack deep speed, but excels in zone coverage.
David Amerson/NC State 6'1" 205- Led nation in interceptions (13) in 2011, took step back, but you can't teach size!
Safety- Major changes coming here. Tanard Jackson is unrestricted, hard to imagine him returning since he can't even speak with the team until the Fall. Brandon Meriweather is probably more valuable in cap savings than in reliability on the field. Madieu Williams is unrestricted and done. Jordan Bernstine returns from injury. Who is coming back? DeJon Gomes, Jordan Pugh and what would we do without Reed Doughty?
Bacarri Rambo/Georgia 6'0" 215 SS- Big time playmaker has all the measurables, but off the field concerns?
Phillip Thomas/Fresno State 6'0" 210 SS- Made a great recovery from injury in '11, tackling is only major concern.
Eric Reid/LSU 6'1" 215 FS- A MUST HAVE in my opinion, Reid had a stronger season in '11, but will be big time pro!
Robert Lester/Alabama 6'1" 220 FS- Prototype size, but stock has dropped due to weakness in man coverage.
T.J. McDonald/USC 6'2" 220 FS- Son of a former Pro Bowl safety, times in quickness and speed will be telling.
John Cyprien/Florida International 6'0" 220 FS- Seems to be a popular Redskins choice among "experts".