The Washington Redskins could not have had a worse finish to the 2012 season. On the optimistic side of things, they have Robert Griffin III on the roster, and he has revitalized the franchise. On the other hand, RG3 may not be back until 2014, the Redskins blew a 14-0 lead in their playoff game, and they don’t have a first round pick in the draft.
The good news is, Washington seemed to plan for an RG3 injury. My best guess is that the Redskins will go into the offseason with Kirk Cousins planning on being the starting quarterback next year, a role he excelled in as a rookie. Cousins was able to come in at times and give the Redskins a spark in place of the injured Griffin, and I think he’ll be a good one year stop-gap.
Still, this has got to be one of the more unnerving offseasons for Redskins fans in recent memory. Here are my top needs for this team, in no particular order.
The only cornerback the Redskins have on their roster that they drafted is last year’s seventh round pick Richard Crawford, who is a backup. Cedric Griffin is a free agent and while DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are bigger names, the Redskins were 30th in the league against the pass. This could very well be a position the Redskins look to with their first selection.
2. Tight End
Fred Davis and Chris Cooley are free agents, and as we saw this last season, the tight end position is very important for the Redskins. They got a surprisingly good season out of Logan Paulsen, who was the team leader among tight end in receiving. I think this position could be significantly upgraded unless the Redskins decide to keep all their players in-house.
3. Offensive Line
Starters Kory Lichtensteiger and Jamaal Brown (LG and RT respectively) are both free agents. The backups at right tackle are Tyler Polumbus and Jordan Black, who are also both free agents. The Redskins have a couple of young later round picks waiting in the wings in Maurice Hurt (7th rd, 2011) and Tom Compton (6th rd, 2012), but will the Redskins rely upon their development? That remains to be seen.
4. Backup RB
Alfred Morris may have been the steal of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was selected in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic, and was second in the NFL in rushing in 2012. I would hesitate to believe he’s going to carry this team like that again next year, and the Redskins need a more dynamic playmaker to run along with him in their exciting offense. This draft is full of running backs, so the Redskins should take advantage and grab a talented guy in the middle rounds.
Safety is a pretty big need for the Redskins. Madieu Williams is a free agent and Brandon Meriweather is a stop-gap. The Redskins have some late round picks they are developing at the position, but this has become a position of clear need for the NFL’s 30th ranked pass defense. They were kind of a revolving door at this position last season.
London Fletcher is a beast, but he’s not getting any younger. Perry Riley had a great season in 2012, but the Redskins also have three unrestricted free agents at the linebacker position in Chris Wilson, Lorenzo Alexander, and Bryan Kehl. The Redskins have no pass rush depth beyond Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.