It’s no secret that aside from the quarterback position, one of the bigger reasons for the lack of success last season for the Washington Redskins was the defense.
The Redskins defensive unit gave up 357 yards a game last season (249.4 per game through the air) and had a make-shift secondary, as both DeAngello Hall and Brandon Meriweather missed a number of games. Bashaud Breeland certainly made a name for himself and the corners fared well considering the lack of experience, but the safety position held Washington back.
More from All Over The Hill
Before the season started, there was optimism surrounding the safety positions with the addition of Ryan Clark at free safety. One, Clark brought experience to the secondary after being a member of the Steelers for years. The move also allowed Meriweather to return to his natural strong safety role. However, things just didn’t work out.
Upper management in Washington took note of the defensive struggles and brought in a new defensive coordinator. We’ve said before the Joe Barry and new General Manager Scot McCloughan will have their hands full revamping the defense, and improving the secondary will be a huge part of that process.
While Clark finished second on the team in tackles with 69 solo and 102 combined, he failed to force a fumble and only intercepted one pass. Meriweather continued his reckless play and was suspended after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Torrey Smith.
He missed a total of six games, continuing his streak of not playing all 16 games since the 2010 season when he was playing for New England.
Phillip Thomas filled in for Meriweather, starting four games while seeing action in eight. But Thomas recorded only 27 combined tackles, with goose eggs under every other defensive category.
Both Clark and Meriweather are free agents this offseason, and Washington finally has an early-round draft pick after the blockbuster trade for Robert Griffin III a few years ago. With the fifth overall pick, they can secure a quality player (unless they pull an Oakland Raider move and draft Heyward-Bey in the top-10).
Getting a top-five offensive lineman will certainly help in pass protection, which is another obvious need, but there’s no reason to not at least give a look at the safety position with that pick.
And while it’s unlikely that Scot McCloughan decides to go that route so high in the draft, Washington has had success drafting safeties in the top ten. Sean Taylor was amazing on the field and LaRon Landry was serviceable. McCloughan can also go the safety route in the later rounds in the draft, or can look toward free agency to fill the void.
Da’Norris Seacry and Rahim Moore are free agents this season and have proven to be solid players.
Whatever route McCloughan and the Redskins decide to take, they need to improve the safety position.