Redskins Addressing Safety Needs Prior to Draft


I’ve been active this off-season saying that the Washington Redskins must address the safety position this off-season, particularly through free agency.

That’s exactly what general manager Scot McCloughan and upper management have done over the last few weeks.

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On Monday, the team announced that it signed former Seattle safety Jeron Johnson to a two-year contract. While not a starter in the Legion of Boom, Johnson played an important role on special teams for the Seahawks and served as a backup to both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

His numbers this past season resemble his limited role in Seattle – 19 tackles, two stuffs and one pass defended – and he also has two sacks and a forced fumble under his belt. However, having played with the best secondary for four years, Johnson will bring a lot of experience with him to D.C. as he looks to make the next step.

Signing Johnson is just another move that the Redskins have made at the safety position. Earlier in the off-season, Washington retained Duke Ihenacho, who missed just about all of last season with an injury. The former Bronco had his most productive year in 2013 when he played in 15 games, recorded 56 tackles, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, along with six passes defended.

Ihenacho, who broke his left foot in the third game of the season last year, should contend for a starting role this upcoming season. He played a vital role in Denver’s defense during the Broncos’ Super Bowl run in 2013, notable experience that no other safety on the Redskins has.

And the Redskins aren’t done looking at the safety position, according to John Keim of ESPN. The Redskins reporter for ESPN’s NFL Nation tweeted out this afternoon that the team has interest in free agent Taylor Mays, who played in Cincinnati and San Francisco after playing his college ball at the University of Southern California.

Mays has had a backup role for the majority of his NFL career, as he only has 98 total tackles and six passes defended over the span of his career. He does have one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, but has yet to notch an interception.

While it’s good to see the Redskins taking steps toward solidifying the secondary, none of the recent signings provide a sure-thing at the safety position. There’s a ton of potential with Jeron Johnson and Duke Ihenacho, but the signings could also prove to be average.

Fans will have to wait until after the draft to see what the secondary will truly look like heading into next season.

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