Skins infusing young talent into DB position
Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ depth chart. Some battles are straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until the paperwork is submitted to the league Aug 31.
So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …
Position: Nose tackle
On the roster: Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Chris Neild, Ron Brace, Chigbo Anunoby
Expected to make the cut: Cofield.
Comment: Elected a team captain by his teammates midway through last season, Cofield is the unquestioned starter. The 29-year-old notched more tackles (39), sacks (2.5) and passes defended (6) than any other defensive lineman on the team. Cofield also did an outstanding job occupying blockers, allowing linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley to make tackles. ProFootballFocus.com, meantime, ranked Cofield among the top linemen when it came to applying pass pressure (15 quarterback hits and 14 quarterback hurries) last season.
Fighting for a job: Baker, Neild, Brace, Anunoby.
Comment: The Redskins kept two nose tackles last season – Cofield and Baker – and that one-two punch doesn’t appear likely to change. Baker, who signed a one-year, $1.32 million contract in April, averaged about 15 snaps per game in 2012 and finished with 15 tackles and one pass defended. Baker, however, can also line up as an end.
Neild spent all of last season on injured reserve rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in training camp. Last week in minicamp, he took snaps with the second team, so it appears that he’s getting a serious look from the coaching staff. That said, he’ll probably need a strong training camp and preseason to unseat Baker as Cofield’s primary reserve.
Brace, a second round pick by the Patriots in 2009, was signed in February to provide some competition at the position. But the 26-year-old missed OTAs and minicamp because of offseason hernia surgery and will have to play catch up in training camp.
Anunoby, meanwhile, was on the practice squad last season and appears to be a candidate to return to it. The 24-year-old is listed at 6 foot 4, 324 pounds and played collegiately at Morehouse.