With the busy portion of the free agency period completed, it’s time to start looking ahead to the NFL draft and, specifically, needs the Redskins still have. In the coming days, we’ll rank them in order from least to most important.
We’ll also take a look at prospects who could be a fit.
No. 3: Cornerback
Current depth chart: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, E.J. Biggers, Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield.
Comment: Based on the current depth chart at corner, the Redskins should be okay in 2014. But potential issues aren’t far off, making it a prime position to be addressed in next month’s draft.
DeAngelo Hall was rewarded with a contract extension after a strong 2013 campaign and will again be counted upon to be the snap count-leader in the secondary. Promising second-year player David Amerson came on strong at the end of the season and will be expected to start opposite Hall. Tracy Porter, meantime, signed a two-year free agent contract and will replace Josh Wilson as the nickel corner, while E.J. Biggers returns on a one-year deal as the fourth corner.
The big-minute guys—Hall, Amerson and Porter—are all but set. The drop off after that trio, however, is considerable. It’s also important to note that Hall will turn 31 in November.
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There is some youth in the pipeline, but it’s unclear how, or if, Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield fit into the team’s future plans. Crawford, who showed promise as a returner as a rookie, is coming off a serious knee injury that sidelined him all of last season. Minnifield, two years after being signed as an undrafted free agent, has yet to appear in an NFL game.
Corner doesn’t rank as high as offensive tackle or safety on the Redskins’ list of needs, but it’s up there. And given the depth at corner in this year’s draft, this could be a good time for General Manager Bruce Allen to ensure the cupboard is stocked since it's expected that some first round talent (where the Redskins don't own a pick) could slide to the second round (where they choose 34th). Additionally, there are a handful of intriguing (and big) corners pegged for the mid-to-late rounds that warrant Allen's attention.
Three potential fits:
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
At 6 foot 3, 218-pounds, Jean Baptiste would give the Redskins’ secondary the size it currently lacks. (Amerson is the only expected starter listed at 6-feet or taller.) Jean-Baptiste made four interceptions last season, taking one back for a touchdown, and broke up 12 passes. Projected as a 2nd-4th rounder.
- Keith McGill, Utah
Another corner with prodigious length, McGill is listed at 6 foot 3, 211-pounds. Took his only interception last season back for a touchdown while also defending 12 passes. Projected as a second or third round selection.
- Dontae Johnson, N.C. State
A college teammate of Amerson, Johnson has good size (6 foot 2, 200-pounds) and is versatile enough to play safety. Made 81 tackles and three interceptions last season and defended eight passes in 2012. Projected as a mid to late round pick.