Anthony Lanier’s Fit In The Washington Redskins Roster Puzzle
By Ian Cummings
With the NFL Draft fast approaching, the Redskins will likely closely analyze the potential of their own roster in the coming days, valuing the need at different positions. While the defensive line still remains a problem area, even after free agency, there is much debate as to how important the draft is for this position. Should the Redskins draft for need, or for ability?
While those looking to solve this question often look to the draft boards, the answer may very well be on the roster already. Should Washington reach to fill the need at defensive line? Or should they ignore this need, and take the best player available, opting to grab a defensive lineman in the later rounds? To answer this, look no further than Anthony Lanier.
The defensive line was a mess last season, and there’s little doubt that with a stronger front seven, the Redskins would have been a playoff team. The Redskins somewhat addressed this problem in free agency, signing Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, two players who offer youth and potential at the defensive end position. With the return of Matt Ioannidis and Ziggy Hood as depth players next season, the unit looks to be strengthened. But the impact these new players will have remains uncertain. Thus, the extent of the need is unknown.
This is where Anthony Lanier fits the puzzle. The Redskins kept Lanier on the roster because of the potential they saw in him. They valued his size and athleticism, and if they’re right about him, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to prove himself next season. But the Redskins could be wrong about Lanier. If they want to draft a defensive lineman early, they have to know where Lanier’s ceiling lies. If Lanier can’t contribute, then the unit suffers as a whole.