Roster Projection: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Anderson
Roster Locks: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Anderson
Offseason Sleepers: Alex McCalister
The Washington Redskins seem fairly set at defensive end. Just as they have for three years now, Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith will line up on opposite ends and wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. Kerrigan doesn’t appear to be slowing down, on his way to one hundred sacks, and Smith, heading into a contract year, could be due for a breakout performance.
Behind the starters, the Washington Redskins have veteran Pernell McPhee, whom they signed in free agency, and Ryan Anderson, whom they drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. McPhee will be solid depth for the burgundy and gold. He’s never been a top-tier player in the NFL (his career high in sacks was 7.5 in 2014), but he’s been decent, and the Washington Redskins can settle for that from a reserve player.
Ryan Anderson is more of a wild card on he edge. The Alabama product didn’t make his way onto the field all too often in 2017, and there are serious concerns about whether or not he can effectively fulfill the role of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Coming out of college, Anderson wasn’t overly talented, and he certainly isn’t fast. 2018 is a crucial year for the second-round pick. If he doesn’t improve, then the team could begin the process of moving on.
If the team isn’t confident in Anderson’s progress, then there are two options on the roster worth looking at: Alex McCalister and Davon Durant. The former demands far more attention as a possible roster inclusion. McCalister, standing at 6-foot-6, 240, has the length and athleticism that Ryan Anderson lacks. McCalister was a top performer at the NFL Combine in 2016, although he wound up slipping to Round 7 in the 2016 NFL Draft due to character issues. If the Washington Redskins feel they need help on the edge, then McCalister is one player who could give them that.