Washington Redskins Most Undervalued Player

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 14: Linebacker Mason Foster #54 of the Washington Redskins reacts after recovering a fumble in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FedExField on October 14, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 14: Linebacker Mason Foster #54 of the Washington Redskins reacts after recovering a fumble in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FedExField on October 14, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Washington Redskins have a talented roster from top to bottom, but who is the team’s most undervalued player heading into 2019?

As a result of several years’ worth of excellent drafts and some smart free agency moves, the Washington Redskins have built a solid roster with perceived weaknesses that are kind of hard to find.

Most Redskins fans are willing to concede that the defensive line is about as good as it gets and the offensive line is very, very close. We have a tantalizing if unproven group of quarterbacks and the same can be said of the running backs.

Washington’s outside linebackers might eventually prove dynamic but can certainly not be considered a liability. Ditto for our corners. There will always be critics but Josh Norman, Quenton Dunbar, and Fabian Moreau are a pretty impressive triumvirate.

And the knock on our tight end group is that they cost too much but Jordan Reed, Jeremy Sprinkle, Vernon Davis, and Matt Flanagan offer both proven production and encouraging potential. So where are the weak links?

I’ve heard a lot of folks point to the wide receiver group. I can’t jump on that train. And yes, we are again dealing with potential rather than proven production but all things considered I like the group as a whole. No one can convince me that the WR position is a grave concern right now.

JP Finlay and Peter Hailey discussed this issue recently on Washington 100. JP has a knack for getting me to see things his way. But not this time. Not when we’re going to have to say goodbye to, or at least sign to the practice squad, either Josh Doctson, Cam Sims, Paul Richardson, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn, Terry McLaurin, or Kelvin Harmon. The ‘Skins usually keep six. So who doesn’t make it? That’s a tough call and because of that I feel optimistic regarding our wide outs.

A lot of fans are pointing to the lack of depth at safety. I’ll grant you that I have always been higher on Montae Nicholson than many others. But, I also feel that Dominique Rogers Cromartie has plenty left in the tank and have believed since the day he was signed that the remaining fuel will be used at the safety position. Adonis Alexander also has future starting safety written all over him. And of course there is the perennial back up Deshazor Everett who has answered the call every single time he’s been needed.

So I guess by default the weak link on the Redskins roster is the inside linebacker position. While there is no denying the loss of Reuben Foster was a bitter pill to swallow the remaining inside backers are more than capable of getting it done and represent the most undervalued group on the team.

Especially Mason Foster. Foster, who is returning for his fifth year with the team, has a diverse and impressive supporting cast.

Shaun Dion Hamilton, likely the other starter, played well enough to send Zach Brown to the bench last year. Josh Harvey-Clemons, at 6’4″ 230 pounds and a converted safety who runs in the 4.5s, is the prototypical nickel ‘backer. Fifth round pick Cole Holcomb and his 100+ tackles in each of his last three years at North Carolina is what I consider dream depth at the position. And finally, the signing of Jon Bostic, who dueled Foster for a starting job in Chicago back in 2015, secures the depth at the ILB group.

I love signing a presumed back up who full heartedly believes he will win a starting job on this team.

I think Bostic is good enough to see his share of snaps but Mason Foster is too good and, in his fifth year with Washington, is the senior member of a defensive unit that should be special.

Foster, at 6’1″ 250 pounds runs a clean 4.7 and is much more athletic than he gets credit for. Were it not for a few injury plagued years he probably would get the recognition he deserves. In his eight years in the NFL, four with Tampa Bay and four with Washington, (his stint with Chicago was but an offseason gig), he has amassed almost 700 tackles, 8 interceptions and 9 sacks. Again, the guy has missed the equivalent of two and a half seasons due to injury.

In Tampa Bay, Foster had 84 tackles as a rookie. He followed that up with consecutive seasons of 106 and 92 tackles before posting just 62 in an injury shortened fourth year.

With the Redskins Foster had 37 tackles in five games in 2015 as he worked his way back from the previous year’s injury. In 2016 he rebounded with 124 tackles only to suffer a shoulder injury the following year.

Last year Foster was healthy again and proved it totaling 131 tackles. Mason Foster is the real deal. He is a leader on the field and whenever he’s been healthy he has been a team leader in tackles.

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If, as I’ve heard suggested repeatedly, ILB is the weak link on this team I’d say Redskin fans have a lot to be excited about this year. I can hardly wait to see some of the Manusky-Ryan schemes the Redskins throw at opponents this year. They certainly have the talent to bring some heat.