Over the next few weeks, CSNWashington.com’s Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2013 and evaluate the outlook for 2014. This morning, we’re examining the situation at cornerback. This afternoon, we’ll take a look at possible solutions, so be sure to come back.
2013 starters: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson
Key reserves: David Amerson, E.J. Biggers, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Free agents: Hall, Wilson, Biggers
Rewind: The Redskins’ pass defense was better in 2013, improving from 30th in yards allowed to 20th. And stronger play from the corners—Hall specifically—was a big reason.
Motivated by an offseason pay cut, Hall elevated his game when matched against the game's top wide outs and proved that, at 30 years old, he’s got a few good years left. He also notched four interceptions, taking two back for touchdowns, and returned a fumble for a score. So it comes at no surprise that the Redskins are reportedly discussing a multi-year extension with Hall.
Josh Wilson was also better in ’13, but still was merely adequate in a contract year. Amerson, the No. 3 corner, experienced his share of rookie growing pains but NC State product showed steady improvement and likely played his best game in the finale vs. the Giants. He also notched two interceptions, taking one back for a touchdown.
Fast forward: Hall figures to return as a starter if the sides can agree on an extension. And if the Redskins get last year’s D-Hall and not the inconsistent 2012 edition, that’ll be fine.
As for Wilson, if GM Bruce Allen is serious about bolstering the backend, Wilson would appear to be a candidate to go. Additionally, as teams follow Seattle’s lead and seek more size at corner, Wilson’s height—5 foot 9—will probably work against him.
If Wilson does not return, the Redskins will need to add a veteran via free agency. As a second round pick, Amerson will be expected to seize a starting role sooner rather than later, but it's not clear if he'll be ready next year.
E.J. Biggers showed his versatility, lining up at corner and safety and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return as a backup. Crawford will need to prove he’s sufficiently recovered from multiple knee ligament tears that he suffered in the preseason in order to secure a spot on the roster. Minnifield, meantime, performed well enough in practice to earn a promotion from the practice squad in late November. But he did not appear in a game and will likely need a strong training camp/preseason to keep his spot.