The Redskins have drastically improved their defensive line for 2018
The 2018 offseason saw the Redskins accomplish many goals. But none were more important than upgrading their defensive line. Since the team switched to the base 3-4 defense, they have lacked a quality starting nose tackle. For the past two seasons, Ziggy Hood was forced to start in that role, and that was a borderline disaster (though that’s not Hood’s fault at all, as he was playing out of position).
With two picks in the 2018 draft, the Redskins ensured that the nose tackle position will be a thing of the past. First, the team selected Daron Payne in the first round of the draft. The Alabama product is a great athlete who could easily become a three-down player. And at the very least, he should be an excellent run stuffer who will pair well with Jonathan Allen. It’s also worth noting that if the Redskins didn’t think Payne was a three-down player, they probably wouldn’t have spent a first round pick on him.
While getting Payne was a huge coup, the team also added Tim Settle in the fifth round. The Virginia Tech product was considered by some to be a Day 2 pick, but he slipped to Washington’s Round 5 selection. They happily scooped him up to be a backup and rotational run defender. His presence will ensure that if Payne struggles or is hurt, the team will have an option to turn to.
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These two selections also allowed the team to part with McClain, the free agent signing who had struggled immensely in Greg Manusky‘s defense. McClain was always a questionable fit for the 3-4 defense, so signing him was definitely a mistake. And the release of him after one season was addition by subtraction more than anything else.
So, with the additions of Payne and Settle, the return of Allen from injury, and the buzz about rising star Matt Ioannidis, Lanier has been left out of the buzz. And this makes sense. All of the players mentioned will likely play in front of Lanier, so they probably will get more of the limelight.
At the same time, it doesn’t mean that Lanier shouldn’t get attention. Especially considering the fact that he could play a key role in the team’s defensive line rotation.