Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft – Redskins defensive line prospects


The Redskins currently have Barry Cofield (age 30, 6’4”, 318lbs), Chris Baker (age 26, 6’2”, 333lbs),  and Chris Nield (age 26, 6’2”, 325lbs) listed as NTs on the roster.  Cofield is the starter and will be entering his fourth year with the Skins, but has never been prolific at pressuring the opposing QBs, only mustering 18.5 sacks in his eight years so far.

Nield is a young buck, playing sparingly over his short career, but did fill in admirably when he got the chance, and he may have the potential to do more as his career moves forward.  Chris Baker came on late last season making stand out plays at defensive end, and earned himself a three-year contract extension from the team.

The rest of Redskins roster includes Jason Hatcher at end, where he should be starting.  Stephen Bowen (age 29, 6’5”, 310lbs), Kedric Golston (age 30, 6’4”, 318lbs), Jarvis Jenkins (age 25, 6’4”, 315lbs), and Doug Worthington (age 26, 6’5”, 311lbs) will compete for the other spot with Baker, and free agent signee Clifton Geathers.

Adam Carriker was originally signed to start opposite Bowen but he was recently released due to a catalogue of injuries. Bowen was also signed from the Cowboys and made an immediate impact, recording six sacks in his first year in DC, but only one sack in 2012 and zero last year. He turns 30 this week and you wonder if his best days are behind him?

Jenkins was a second round draft pick of the Redskins in 2011 (#41 overall) and made an impact in his rookie preseason but suffered a season ending injury before even taking the field for a regular season game. Hopes were high when he returned healthy in 2012 but he failed to repeat his early form and is yet to justify his high draft position.

2014 NFL Draft

Notre Dame Fighting Irish nose tackle Louis Nix (1). Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at these names on the roster, there appears to be a need for a more impactful space eater to learn from Cofield, whether a free agent or in the draft.  With Pat Sims (Raiders, age 28, 6’4”, 312lbs) and Terence Cody (Ravens, age 26, 6’4”, 340lbs) the only free agents of any note still available in that position.

So the draft looks the most likely source of reinforcement.  With their second round pick, #34 overall, the Redskins could go for Ra’Shede Hageman (6’6”, 310lbs) or Louis Nix (6’2”, 331lbs), both predicted to go around the end of the first or the top of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Or if the Skins could strengthen another position first, as a second tier defensive tackle such as Ego Ferguson (6’3”, 315lbs), Anthony Johnson (6’3”, 308lbs), Justin Ellis (6’1”, 334lbs) or DaQuan Jones (6’4”, 322lbs) may be available with their third round pick.

Alternatively, a huge monster such as Daniel McCullers (6’7”, 352lbs) may be available with our fourth pick. If nothing else, opponents would have to respect his size and strength and if he consistently drew double teams, he would free someone else up to make a play.

There are many ifs and buts that go with personnel moves. Few are ever sure things.  An optimist would hope that Hatcher adds an extra dimension to the Redskins defensive line’s ability to get to the QB, and that Cofield and Baker will collapse opposing offensive lines and flush out the QB.
The Redskins certainly have a lot bodies as the position to work with.  But they may need to add more talent from the 2014 NFL draft to be sure they have enough.

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