Redskins needs analysis: Defensive line

Redskins needs analysis: Defensive line
March 5, 2014, 12:45 pm
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If you’ve read any Redskins related articles lately, you’ve no doubt encountered the phrase “lots of needs to address.” Indeed, the team has many holes, ranging from wide receiver to punter, that it must fill between the start of free agency on March 11 and Week 1 in September.

In the coming days, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will identify those needs and present various ways the team can fill them.

Earlier today we looked at the punter; this afternoon, it’s the defensive line.

Position: Defensive line

On the roster: The Redskins could go into the season starting ends Chis Baker and Jarvis Jenkins and nose tackle Barry Cofield. Still, there are plenty of question marks here. Is Jenkins ever going to live up to his status as a second-round draft pick? Would it be better to move Cofield to end and bring in a more traditional (larger) nose tackle? Can Chris Baker be effective playing 60 percent or more of the snaps over 16 games?

The reserves they have are serviceable. Kedric Golston is now the longest tenured Redskin and he does a good job for a reasonable cap price. Chris Neild has proven to be a reliable backup for Cofield.

But another big body or two will be needed for the rotation. Stephen Bowen has been the starter at right end for two and a half years but microfracture surgery on his knee and a high cap number have his future in doubt. Doug Worthington is a big body who has yet to show if he can be healthy and productive.

Free agents: Adam Carriker (released on March 4)

Free agent possibilities: The two best fits could be the Giants’ Linval Joseph and Arthur Jones of the Ravens. Joseph is a 4-3 tackle who could be converted to end in the Redskins’ 4-3 scheme.

But since the Redskins do have limited cap space and needs at other positions, they might be looking for value acquisitions who can either challenge for starting jobs or at least be solid members of the rotation. The Eagles’ Clifton Geathers is 6-7 and perhaps he can help at end. Terrence Cody was a second-round pick of the Ravens in 2009 and he could be an inexpensive option at nose tackle if they want to move Cofield.

Draft possibilities: Ra’Shede Hageman could be available at pick 34 and the athletic, 6-6 lineman could provide some pass rush from the edge, something that has been missing from the line for the last couple of years. South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles projects to be a 3-4 end and he could be available in the third round.

Prediction: The cap and other needs don’t let them do a whole lot here. It remains to be seen if Bowen can play or if he will even be on the roster. They stick with the starters, Golston, and Neild and add either a depth-type free agent like Geathers or a later draft pick like Quarles. The will come back in 2015 and address the line in a more substantial manner then.