2021 NFL Offseason: Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins (Last Year: 7-9)

2021 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Curtis Samuel, WR Adam Humphries, OT Charles Leno, C Tyler Larsen, CB William Jackson, CB Darryl Roberts, S Bobby McCain.
Early Draft Picks:
LB Jamin Davis, OT Sam Cosmi, CB Benjamin St-Juste, WR Dyami Brown, TE John Bates. Redskins Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Alex Smith, OT David Sharpe, OLB Ryan Kerrigan, OLB Ryan Anderson, LB Thomas Davis, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, CB Ronald Darby, CB Fabian Moreau.

2021 Washington Redskins Offense:
Despite Ryan Fitzpatrick being the projected starting quarterback entering this season, he’s an upgrade over what the Redskins had at the position last year. They began the season with Dwayne Haskins, who is an enormous first-round bust. Kyle Allen supplanted Haskins, but was lost for the year with an injury. Alex Smith took over and won some games, but he was extremely limited from his gruesome leg injury. Smith also suffered an injury, giving way to Taylor Heinicke, who performed well in a playoff loss to the Buccaneers.

It’s unclear what the Redskins have in Heinicke, but Fitzpatrick is definitely better than Haskins, Allen and Smith. Like fine wine, not only has he aged well, but he has gotten better as the years have passed. Fitzpatrick turns 39 around Thanksgiving, but he was still solid last year until the Dolphins transitioned to Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick will manage games well while taking successful shots downfield. If Smith is good enough to quarterback the Redskins to the playoffs, then Fitzpatrick can get them there as well.

Fitzpatrick will have a better supporting cast than he possessed in Miami. Terry McLaurin is a dynamic receiver who has been very productive in his two years despite being paired with pedestrian quarterbacks. McLaurin has gotten all of the attention from defenses as well, but that won’t be the case in 2021 because the Redskins signed Curtis Samuel away from the Panthers. Carolina made great use of Samuel last year, especially after Christian McCaffrey got hurt. The Redskins should be able to utilize Samuel similarly. He, third-round rookie Dyami Brown, and Cam Sims will fill out the solid receiving corps. Meanwhile, tight end Logan Thomas took a huge step forward last year in his transition from being a quarterback. He emerged as one of the better tight ends in the NFL.

Fitzpatrick will also have better running backs at his disposal. Antonio Gibson was a dynamic threat as a third-round rookie last year, and with better threats at quarterback and receiver, he could be even better in his second season. J.D. McKissic, meanwhile, was a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield.

The Redskins made some changes on the offensive line, so it’s unclear how the unit will mesh. The team will have two new tackles,including Charles Leno, formerly of the Bears. Leno used to be a solid blind-side protector, but has regressed in recent years. He turns 30 soon, so there’s still some time for him to play well again. Meanwhile, right tackle will be occupied by Cornelius Lucas, who performed above expectations this past season. The Redskins used a second-round pick on Sam Cosmi, who could replace one of the two tackles.

Two of the three interior blockers return, and both players are talented ones. Brandon Scherff is a great guard when he’s healthy, but he’s had trouble staying on the field. He has missed 16 games over the past three seasons. Center Chase Roullier has made great strides in his career and has evolved into a Pro Bowl-caliber lineman. The new player to the group is left guard Ereck Flowers, who played for the team in 2019 before heading to Miami for a year. Flowers struggled on his vacation, but perhaps he’ll revert to being a mediocre lineman in Washington again.

2021 Washington Redskins Defense:
The Redskins had some great aspects to their offense last year, but as a whole, they were largely limited by Alex Smith and a lack of depth at receiver. The reason they were able to reach the playoffs, aside from residing in a pathetic division, was their defense. It was outstanding last year, so with some upgrades made this offseason, Washington could have the best stop unit in the NFL.

Chase Young is a big reason for the Redskins’ defensive standing. The No. 2 overall pick from 2020 lived up to his billing, as he could have been a one-man wrecking crew in the trenches. Young was able to dominate despite his inexperience. He logged 7.5 sacks, a number that’s not nearly indicative of how tremendous he was. Young should be even better in 2021 now that he’s not a rookie anymore. He’ll play opposite of 2019 first-rounder Montez Sweat, who made a big leap in his second year. Depth, however, is lacking at the position with Ryan Kerrigan gone.

The Redskins have some great talent in the interior of the defensive line as well. Two other first-rounders, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, start there, and both were excellent in 2020. Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle will provide strong depth in this area.

Despite owning a stalwart defensive line, the Redskins weren’t satisfied with the other two groups on their stop unit. They spent big bucks on cornerback William Jackson in free agency. Jackson is a spectacular cornerback and will be an upgrade over the injury-prone Ronald Darby. He’ll play opposite of Kendall Fuller, another talented corner. The Redskins could stand to be better at slot cornerback with Jimmy Moreland slated to be the starter there.

The Redskins will be better at safety as well. Landon Collins, a special play-making safety, missed most of 2020 with an injury. He’ll return to start next to Kamren Curl, who was a huge surprise as a seventh-round rookie last year.

Meanwhile, linebacker was a liability this past season, which is why the Redskins used their opening-round selection on Jamin Davis, an athletic player out of Kentucky. Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb figure to be the other two linebackers. Holcomb was mediocre this past season, while Bostic really struggled.

2021 Washington Redskins Schedule and Intangibles:
The Redskins’ rich fan base doesn’t show up to games because they’re too busy dining at fancy restaurants, which would explain why the team is just 39-60 as a host the past 11 years.

Punter Tress Way ranked 28th in net average in 2017, but improved to ninth the following year. He was third in 2019 and fourth in 2020.

Dustin Hopkins was 25-of-30 on field goals in 2019, but regressed to 27-of-34 in 2020. He’s 4-of-7 from 50-plus the past two years.

Washington’s special teams scored no touchdowns, but didn’t allow any either.

It’s a good thing the Redskins get to battle their terrible divisional opponents because they’ll have to take on the NFC and AFC West teams.

2021 Washington Redskins Rookies:
Go here for the Redskins Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2021 Washington Redskins Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2021 Washington Redskins Analysis: The Redskins were the surprise winner of the NFC East last year. They’ll be even better in 2021, so another divisional crown should surprise no one. With a tremendous defense, better offensive play-makers, and some stability at quarterback, the Redskins may even win a game in the postseason this year.

Projection: 10-7 (1st in NFC East)

2020 Projection: 4-12. 2020 Actual Result: 7-9.
2019 Projection: 4-12. 2019 Actual Result: 3-13.
2018 Projection: 10-6. 2018 Actual Result: 7-9.
2017 Projection: 8-8. 2017 Actual Result: 7-9.
2016 Projection: 9-7. 2016 Actual Result: 8-7-1.

NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2021 NFL Draft: The Redskins are the favorite to win the NFC East. They have the best team in the division, so there aren’t too many needs that must be addressed. Left tackle and linebacker are two primary areas that must be fixed; otherwise, the Redskins can obtain the best player available.

2021 NFL Draft Accomplishments: As expected, the Redskins addressed left tackle and linebacker in the first two rounds. I thought they would select Christian Darrisaw when he fell to them at No. 19, but they went with the athletic Jamin Davis instead. I thought the Redskins picked Davis a bit too early, but he’ll be an intriguing player behind Washington’s stalwart defensive front. Meanwhile, Sam Cosmi is another high-upside prospect to start at left tackle, but he’s not tough, which is not what you want to hear about an offensive lineman.

The rest of the Redskins’ haul was a mixed bag. For every positive grade, there was a negative result. For example, Dyami Brown is a dynamic receiver who can go the distance whenever he touches the ball, so he was a potential steal in the third frame. Brown was chosen eight picks after Benjamin St-Juste, who was a late-round prospect. Later, the Redskins received some nice value with Darrick Forrest in the fifth frame, but only reaching on a tight end in the prior round.

The Redskins reached on some players, so I wish they had traded down more often to obtain more value with their picks. I’m not completely bearish on their results, but they could have done better.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

19. Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky – B- Grade
I don’t dislike this pick, but I think it’s a bit early for Jamin Davis. I had Davis at No. 41 in my final mock draft, but he’s been as high as the mid-20s in some updates. It makes sense for the Redskins to address their dreadful linebacking corps with the athletic Davis, but I would’ve liked to have seen them address the offensive line because the offense needs all the help it can get. Still, Davis is a good player, and he fills a huge need.

51. Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas – C Grade
I thought the Redskins would go offensive tackle in the first round (Christian Darrisaw) and a linebacker here, but the opposite occurred. Perhaps they should have gone with my plan because this pick is underwhelming. Sam Cosmi is athletic, but he’s tough and tends to get bullied around in the trenches. This does not bode well for the NFL.

74. Benjamin St-Juste, CB, Minnesota – F Grade
Talk about a reach. Benjamin St-Juste was in the seventh round of my mock draft. St. Juste had injury issues during his time at Michigan. He had better luck in Minnesota, but he still shouldn’t have been chosen this early.

82. Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina – B+ Grade
Dyami Brown was getting a ton of hype prior to the draft, so I moved him to the second round in some updates. He’s an explosive receiver who can go the distance whenever he touches the ball. The Redskins needed another receiver to go along with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, so this is a good pick.

124. John Bates, TE, Boise State – D Grade
This is a disappointing pick. The Redskins had no need for a tight end, and they’re not getting any sort of value. I had John Bates in the sixth round, so the value just isn’t there.

163. Darrick Forrest, S, Cincinnati – B Grade
I’ve had Darrick Forrest pegged around this range for a while, so this is fine value with Darrick Forrest, who fills a slight need the Redskins had at the position as far as depth is concerned.

226. Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan – F Grade
There’s no way this guy’s real, right? The Redskins saw Isaiahh Loudermilk’s name and wrote a dairy product on the card to be funny. This is an “F” because the Redskins acquired this pick and another for a 2022 fifth-round choice, which is a huge mistake because 2022 picks are more valuable.

240. William Bradley-King, DE/OLB, Baylor – B+ Grade
I put William Bradley-King into my seventh round, 18 picks earlier than this. A pass rusher obviously wasn’t needed, but it’s nice that the Redskins were able to get some depth. Bradley-King is an athletic player with upside, so this is a solid choice.

246. Shaka Toney, DE/OLB, Penn State – A Grade
The Redskins really want to make sure that they have quality pass-rushing depth. I’m fine with doubling down on the position, especially when considering that Shaka Toney was available. I had Toney in the fifth round, so I love the value the Redskins are getting with this incredibly athletic edge rusher.

258. Dax Milne, WR, BYU – A Grade
Dax Milne is someone who was getting tons of hype in the months leading up to the draft, so I’m surprised he went off the board this late. He could have gone a couple of rounds earlier, so the Redskins are getting great value. I like this pick even though it doesn’t fill a need.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Redskins were the best team in the worst division last year, which isn’t saying much. However, they have a great foundation with their young and supremely talented defensive line.

Offseason Moves:
  • Redskins sign S Bobby McCain
  • Redskins sign OT Charles Leno
  • Redskins sign CB Darryl Roberts
  • Redskins sign WR Adam Humphries
  • Redskins sign C Tyler Larsen
  • Redskins sign WR Curtis Samuel
  • Redskins sign CB William Jackson
  • Redskins sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Redskins announce retirement of LB Thomas Davis

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Taylor Heinicke deserves a chance to compete for the starting job after his impressive playoff performance, but the Redskins likely need to find a new quarterback. Signed Ryan Fitzpatrick

    2. Left Tackle: Alex Smith, Heinicke or the new quarterback needs proper protection. Left tackle was a huge hole on the offensive line. Signed Charles Leno

    3. Linebacker: The weakness of Washington’s defense is the linebacking corps. The unit was already troubled, and that was without factoring in Kevin Pierre-Louis and Thomas Davis entering retirement.

    4. Guard: Here’s another spot on the offensive line that must be addressed if Brandon Scherff leaves via free agency. Franchised Brandon Scherff

    5. Wide Receiver: Cam Sims improved down the stretch. Perhaps he can be the No. 2 receiver, but Washington likely needs an upgrade. Signed Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries

    6. Cornerback: Ronald Darby played well last year, but he’s entering free agency. Signed William Jackson and Darryl Roberts

    7. Kicker: Dustin Hopkins will also see his contract expire soon. Re-signed Dustin Hopkins

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2021 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. William Jackson, CB, Bengals. Age: 27.
      Signed with Redskins

      William Jackson has been an excellent cornerback for the Bengals over the past four years. He’s played just one full season, but that’s the only knock on him.

    2. Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers. Age: 25.
      Signed with Redskins (3 years, $34.5 million; $24.5 million guaranteed)

      Curtis Samuel finally developed into the receiver the Panthers thought they were getting a few years ago when they drafted him in the second round. He was an explosive play-maker who was used in all sorts of facets.

    3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Dolphins. Age: 38.
      Signed with Redskins (1 year, $10 million)

      Ryan Fitzpatrick won some early games in 2020 and then proceeded to be a great relief pitcher for the struggling Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick can still win some games, but he’s nearing 40.

    4. Charles Leno, OT, Bears. Age: 29.
      Signed with Redskins (1 year)

      Charles Leno played well a couple of years ago, but has declined since. He could rebound, but he’s turning 30 soon.

    5. Bobby McCain, S, Dolphins. Age: 28.
      Signed with Redskins

      Bobby McCain is a sub-par starter who was released because he was due nearly $6 million in 2020. He was one of Miami’s team captains last year.

    6. Adam Humphries, WR, Titans. Age: 28. — Signed with Redskins
    7. Tyler Larsen, C, Panthers. Age: 30. — Signed with Redskins
    8. Darryl Roberts, CB, Lions. Age: 30. — Signed with Redskins

    Washington Redskins Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Brandon Scherff, G/OT, Redskins. Age: 29.
      Franchised by Redskins

      When healthy, Brandon Scherff is one of the top guards in the NFL. He can also play tackle. He’s not yet 30 as well. All of this would give him 4.5 stars or more, but the problem is that he has a dubious injury history. Scherff has missed three, five and eight games over the past three seasons.

    2. Ronald Darby, CB, Redskins. Age: 27.
      Signed with Broncos (3 years, $30 million)

      Ronald Darby was one of many players to leave Philadelphia and improve elsewhere. To be fair, Darby dealt with countless injuries while with the Eagles, but finally stayed healthy while with the Redskins.

    3. Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 33.
      Signed with Eagles (1 year)

      Ryan Kerrigan’s career is winding down. He logged 5.5 sacks in 2020, as he saw far fewer snaps than usual. Granted, this was because of Chase Young’s presence, but Kerrigan is no longer the dominant edge rusher he once was.

    4. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Redskins. Age: 29.
      Signed with Texans (2 years)

      Kevin Pierre-Louis did well for the Redskins this past season, particularly in coverage.

    5. Alex Smith, QB, Redskins. Age: 37.
      Alex Smith will reportedly be released to save the team $14 million in cap space. This can’t be a surprise. Not only is Smith a shell of his former self because of his brutal leg injury; he’s turning 37 in May. He can be a solid backup for now, but his starting days are finished.

    6. Dustin Hopkins, K, Redskins. Age: 30.
      Re-signed with Redskins

      Dustin Hopkins is coming off a down year, going 27-of-34 in 2020. He was 25-of-30 the season before.

    7. David Sharpe, OT, Redskins. Age: 25.
    8. Ryan Anderson, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 27. — Signed with Giants
    9. Fabian Moreau, CB, Redskins. Age: 27. — Signed with Falcons
    10. Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Redskins. Age: 27.
    11. Reuben Foster, LB, Redskins. Age: 27.
    12. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Redskins. Age: 30.
    13. Lamar Miller, RB, Redskins. Age: 30. — Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
    14. Jared Norris, LB, Redskins. Age: 28.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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