Of the players on this list, Shaun Dion Hamilton‘s potential ascension is the most key. The reason for that? He is one of the only potential three-down linebacker on the team’s roster with any NFL experience.
At this point in their respective careers, Jon Bostic and Mason Foster are better served as run stopping specialists. Cole Holcomb is an athletic rookie with upside from North Carolina, but trusting him, a fifth-round pick, to start right away may be asking a lot. And Josh Harvey-Clemons is great in coverage as a converted safety and his tackling is solid, but he has never logged a start on defense.
Hamilton replaced Zach Brown as the starter towards the end of last year and flashed solid ability as a sixth-round rookie. Hamilton would have gone higher in the draft had it not been for injuries that plagued him at Alabama. He is a cerebral player with great instincts, solid athleticism, and he has shown the ability to cover and tackle well. If he can put it all together and stay healthy, he will provide a massive boost to the Redskins linebacker corps.
With Reuben Foster out for the season, the team needs to find one player that can be a three-down linebacker. Hamilton is the best candidate to accomplish that. If he can continue to improve and earn a starting spot on the roster, that will allow the other role players to rotate in until either Harvey-Clemons or Holcomb shows enough to earn the starting role.
None of these players are guaranteed to progress, but one thing is certain. If these three players are able to make the leap this offseason, the Redskins will definitely be a better team.