Recently my guy Evan Silva from Rotoworld put together a list of the Redskins top remaining needs. Sensing a true corporate synergy opportunity, I shot him a few more questions about those needs, the draft, free agency and fantasy football. He kindly answered and we'll share those responses, starting with which holes the Redskins must address and thoughts on their free agency additions.
* CSN: Defensive backs sat atop your list of the Redskins top remaining needs. What, you’re not excited about the likes of Brandon Meriweather, Tracy Porter and Phillip Thomas?
Silva: Ha. Well aside from the Porter signing, Washington's secondary returns all but intact after last year getting torched on a regular basis. Despite facing the fourth fewest pass attempts in the NFL -- they were so often playing from behind -- the Redskins managed to allow the 13th most passing yards and seventh most passing touchdowns. Enemy quarterbacks posted a 96.1 passer rating against Washington, the NFL's sixth highest clip. This was a bad pass defense and very little has changed. Additionally, newcomer Porter struggled mightily for the Raiders last year. Oakland was one of the league's few pass defenses that was worse than Washington's. Porter, likewise, had a poor individual season and hasn't been an effective defensive back for many years.
* CSN: Offensive line ranked third on your list. Not arguing that the secondary and linebacker (your No. 2 need) don’t need help, but I’d contend OL trumps all. Why? Because of that RGIII fella. As we saw over the last two seasons, Washington will only go as far as Mr. All In for Week 1 can take them. Oh, and while we’re here, it seems like a lukewarm reception from the pundit class over the Shawn Lauvao signing...
Silva: That's probably because Lauvao [has questions]. He does add size to Washington's front five, which has obviously been prioritized under new coach Jay Gruden, who ran a power scheme in Cincinnati and is slowly but surely rebuilding a previously undersized Redskins line. I agree that the Skins don't have a top 10-12 offensive line, but I don't feel it was among the worst in the league either. Let's not forget how big an impact quarterback performance can have on line play. If RG3 plays better under Gruden, the players around him are going to look much, much better.
* CSN: Jason Hatcher. Go.
SIlva: One of the few Redskins signings I liked this free agent period. I suppose a naysayer could argue Hatcher had his breakout 2013 campaign in Dallas' 4-3 defense, and therefore it doesn't make sense to pull him out of the 4-3 and expect similar results in Washington's 3-4. But Hatcher has experience in a 3-4 and was pretty good there, too. An addition like this was very much needed to a Redskins defensive line that fell apart last season. I expect Hatcher to be utilized heavily as a three-technique pass rusher in Jim Haslett's sub-packages. He's a disruptive, versatile player.
Next: NFL Draft