- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2018

Every offseason, the NFL releases its top 100 players list — voted on by the players. This year, the Washington Redskins are barely represented.

Only left tackle Trent Williams made the list, clocking in at No. 57. Josh Norman, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Scherff and even Alex Smith, who had a career year with the Chiefs in 2017, all went unranked.

Do the Redskins really lack elite-level talent?

With training camp set to begin Thursday, The Washington Times takes a look at sections of the Redskins‘ position groups and stacked them up against the rest of the league. The rankings, of course, are subjective.

Quarterback



Redskins projected starter: Alex Smith.

Top 10 quarterbacks in the league: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith.

Where the Redskins stack up: Smith was eighth in yards in 2017 and it’s not a stretch to stay he’s a top 10 quarterback. Carolina’s Cam Newton, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Houston’s DeShaun Watson also have an argument for being in the top 10. Smith is in a tier below Brady, Rodgers and Brees, but he is a perfectly capable quarterback. The Redskins rightfully feel set at this position heading into this upcoming season.

Running back

Projected starters and key contributors: Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine.

Top 10 running back situations: New Orleans, Kansas City, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Chicago and New England.

Where the Redskins stack up: Washington’s run game underperformed in 2017, so they drafted Guice in the second round. His addition isn’t enough to make them one of the better units in the league. New Orleans has a lethal 1-2 punch in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, while a team like New England has a number of playmakers with different skill sets.

Receiving Corps

Tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis; wide receivers Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder.

Top 10 receiving corps: Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Atlanta, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City, New York Giants, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit and New England.

Where the Redskins stack up: Unproven until otherwise. The Redskins have a nice collection of talent, but a successful 2018 will depend on whether Doctson continues to blossom and if Richardson can be a key part of the offense. Reed and Davis give the Redskins a top five pairing at tight end, but the team’s overall receiving corps isn’t quite as deep as the rest of the league.

Offensive line

Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses.

Top 10 offensive lines: Dallas, Oakland, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Atlanta and New Orleans.

Where the Redskins stack up: With studs at both ends and at right guard, the Redskins, dare we say, harken back to the time when the Hogs ran teams over at RFK. When everyone is healthy, of course, this is a top-10 unit. Washington did lose former starting center Spencer Long in free agency, though.

Defensive front seven

Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Zach Brown and Mason Foster.

Top 10 defensive front sevens: Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Denver, Baltimore, Houston and Washington.

Where the Redskins stack up: The Redskins led the league in pressure rate last year — and spent the offseason addressing a critical weakness at defensive tackle. The Redskins hope Payne and fifth-rounder Tim Settle will help improve upon their 29th-ranked run defense.

Secondary

Josh Norman, Orlando Scandrick, DJ Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Fabian Moreau, Quinton Dunbar.

Top 10 defensive secondaries: Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans, Denver, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Tennessee

Where the Redskins stack up: Safety play was a major improvement for the Redskins last season. But there are now questions at outside corner. Norman remains a top-flight No. 1 corner, but the guys behind him have been shuffled. Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller are gone and newcomer Scandrick will be expected to step up in a major role.

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