- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DeAngelo Hall is entering his 13th NFL season and for the first time, he’ll be participating in training camp as a safety when the Washington Redskins begin on Thursday.

Hall began the transition midway through the 2015 season after his return from a right toe sprain and the Redskins believe he can be even more effective after dedicating a full offseason to making the switch. Likewise, Hall has mentioned he feels rejuvenated by the position change. At the end of organized team activities, he was excited to begin training camp.

Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon is also making the switch to safety after re-signing on a two-year deal. Blackmon joined the Redskins last September and played in 15 games, including 10 starts. He helped stabilize the cornerback group after injuries to Hall and former Redskins corner Chris Culliver.

With the addition of David Bruton and return of Duke Ihenacho, the Redskins hope to find more consistency at the position than they had in 2015. Dashon Goldson was dependable at free safety and had a strong leadership presence, but the Redskins cut him after one season to save $8 million. After Ihenacho broke his left wrist in the season opener, Trenton Robinson was called on and started seven games. He was benched for Jeron Johnson and both are no longer with the Redskins.

Rookie Su’a Cravens is listed on the roster as a safety, but played at inside linebacker during OTAs while he learns the defense. As a hybrid linebacker and safety, his role is expected to be diverse and what exactly that role will be should become more clear in camp. Because of this, Cravens is listed in both the linebackers and safeties position breakdowns.



Safeties

Roster locks: Hall, Cravens

Likely: Bruton, Blackmon, Ihenacho

On the bubble: Deshazor Everett, Geno Matias-Smith

What to expect: The Redskins signed Bruton to a three-year deal after he spent his first seven seasons with the Denver Broncos. Bruton, a special teams captain the last three years, took on a more prominent role in 2015 when the Broncos won the Super Bowl, but his season was shortened because of a broken leg. He’ll have the opportunity in camp to prove he can take on a more prominent role with Washington. In OTAs he took snaps alongside Hall as a starter, but he’ll have to prove it with the pads on.

Ihenacho missed his second consecutive season in 2015 after breaking his left wrist in the season opener. In 2014, he broke a bone in his left heel in Week 3. Still, the team brought him back for another season and Ihenacho is eager to get back on the field. Bruton and Ihenacho should push each other for the starting position along with Hall.

As Blackmon transitions, the biggest challenge he said is slowing the game down. He’s a smart player and should be able to add valuable depth at the position. Everett is also switching to safety. He was promoted to the active roster in October and the Redskins liked what he brought to special teams.

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