Redskins Position Group Breakdown: Safeties
Washington has been trying to solidify the safety position for just about a decade. It’s hard to recall the numerous failed investments at the position following the death of Sean Taylor late in the 2007 season. To this day, it’s still a work in progress. The Redskins took flyers on guys in the past couple of seasons who were given starting opportunities with the team, whereas they were backups and special teamers with their former teams and struggling to make a name for themselves at their true position. The Redskins also have tried converting seasoned veterans at the corner position to safety, even in the middle of the season. DeAngelo Hall and Will Blackmon are both works in progress themselves, and very young in terms of experience at the position.
The Redskins have made some additions, though, with the position switch of Su’a Cravens, who played inside linebacker his rookie season. He converts back to his natural position that he played in college, where he thrived at the line of scrimmage and even flashed his potential this past year as a rookie. It’s important for Su’a to display some durability this year, as he got banged up a couple times last year, with an elbow injury ending his season prematurely.
The addition of D.J. Swearinger was a solid move for the defense. The Redskins have lacked a true free safety since Taylor too, and D.J. during his tenure in Arizona has proven to be capable of playing that role well. It’s likely that Swearinger and Cravens will be the team’s starting Free and Strong safety respectively.
Looking to make a name for themselves are rookie Montae Nicholson and 3rd year pro Earl Wolff. Nicholson is a rookie coming off a college injury, but is a physical specimen at 6’2” 212 lbs with 4.4 speed. He won’t be expecting to start week 1 this year, but may be able to contribute on special teams right away. Earl Wolff’s career has been plagued by injury since being in the league in 2013. Washington signed him early January to give the young player a chance to revive his career.
Speaking of converted players, former safety Josh Harvey-Clemons has been moved to inside linebacker. The rookie has the height at 6’4”, but size is lacking. Being smaller than Su’a Cravens, it may be an issue for Josh to thrive in the trenches. The idea with Clemons is to be a specialist, be a factor in dime formations and cover tight ends if need be. He is a physical player so he has that going for him.
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