I’ve talked a lot about the glaring holes in the Washington Redskins defense this offseason, particularly at the safety position. Just a few weeks ago, I pointed out some players the Redskins should look at with the No. 5 pick, including strong safety Landon Collins out of Alabama.
But overall, there isn’t much standout talent at the safety position in this year’s draft, and finding a rookie who can step in right away might be a reach – not to say there aren’t safeties in this year’s draft who could develop over a few seasons.
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So, with a glaring and immediate need for safeties, the Redskins should turn their attention to this year’s free agents.
There are some high-profile names in this year’s safety pool, including Antrel Rolle, Devin McCourty, Tashaun Gipson and others. But Rolle and the Giants appear to want to continue their relationship, as does McCourty in New England.
So who could the Redskins turn to?Aug 18, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) runs with the ball after an interception against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Washington can start with Gipson. He played last season with the Browns and had six interceptions, one forced fumble and one touchdown in 11 games last before spraining his MCL. At 24 years of age, Gipson has already established himself as one of the best safeties in the NFL with 12 interceptions (five in 2013), 20 pass defenses and two touchdowns in just three seasons.
Then you have Da’Norris Searcy. The University of North Carolina product has played at least 15 games in each of his four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. His numbers have improved every season and he easily had his best season in the league last year. In 15 games, Searcy made 65 total tackles, forced three fumbles, recovered one fumble, had three interceptions and five pass defenses.
For some reason, the Bills don’t want to pay him starter’s money, so it’s safe to say he’ll be looking around the league once free agency starts.
Rahim Moore, who has drastically improved his play after allowing Jacoby Jones to catch the game-tying touchdown in the 2012 Divisional Round, is another young safety the Redskins could look at. This past season, after coming off a career-threatening injury, Moore finished with four interceptions and 50 tackles. He’s only played in the league four years and has a ton of potential.
Some other free agents include Nate Allen, who has spent his entire five-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles. While his numbers aren’t overly impressive, he’s improved each season and knows the NFC East well.
Thomas DeCoud from Carolina and Christopher Conte from Chicago are two other names that would be improvements over Washington’s safeties from last season.
The safety position is absolutely a need for the Washington Redskins, and free agency should prove to be a better way to fill the void than this year’s draft class.