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Ranking the offseason needs for the Washington Redskins

Redskins Wire logo Redskins Wire 1/11/2019 Zachary Neel
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Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft and the offseason surrounding it, the Redskins have a lot of needs to fill.

With several coaches being plucked from their perches by other teams, or numerous free agents walking away from the franchise in order to get their fair share, it's not hyperbole to say that if Washington were a ship, they'd be taking on water.

In order to make it easier to visualize needs that the team must address over the next few months, we made an itemized to-do list for the Redskins' front office.

1. Figure out who will be the quarterback

In the 2018 season, the Redskins had four different quarterbacks start a game for them. None of them were particularly impressive.

Two went down with season ending injuries, and two others were brought in mid-season to help save a sinking ship. All four quarterbacks will be available to Washington in the 2019 season, but is there one, if any, that the Redskins should focus on above the rest?

Joe Flacco's name has been mentioned in the Free Agency market as a potential future Redskin, and Dwayne Haskins, the Ohio State quarterback who is expected to be among the top picks of the 2019 draft recently photoshopped a picture of himself in a Washington jersey. It was also announced on Thursday that Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray is expected to declare for the draft this year.

There is no shortage of options for the Redskins to pursue this offseason, but if they want their team to take the next step into relevance, they better get this one right.

2. Make sure the defense stays dominant

If there's one thing that Washington was able to hang its hat on this past season, it was that the defense was elite, for most of the season.

Through Week 6 of this past year, the Redskins ranked 4th in the league when it came to points allowed. Through Week 9, they ranked 8th.

After that, injuries started to take hold, and stagnation on offense took its toll. The consistent sidelining of cornerback Quinton Dunbar hurt the defense, and the mid-season addition of safety Haha Clinton-Dix was not as lucrative as management might have hoped.

Early in the season, Washington showed that their defense was good enough to win games when the offense was average at best. If the Redskins have any hopes of being relevant in the future, they need to make sure that the defense is up to snuff.

3. Focus on improving via the NFL Draft

If you ever needed proof that a team can get significantly better through the draft, look no farther than the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

The Browns walked away from the draft with Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb, among others. Everyone knows the impact that Mayfield has had, as he broke Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson's record for most TD passes thrown by a rookie. He also didn't start for the Browns until Week 4. Chubb finished his rookie season 10th in the league for total yards gained, with only nine games started, and Ward had 53 tackles and three interceptions.

The Colts selected Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard. Nelson is the Colts first rookie offensive lineman to be selected to the Pro Bowl since 1983, and Leonard had 163 tackles (most in NFL), 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and two interceptions.

All of those players are light on the salary cap, as they still have three years remaining in their rookie contracts. It goes without saying that hitting big in the draft can drastically change the outlook for your team.

The Redskins need at quarterback has been stated, but positions they should really focus on are inside linebacker, offensive line and cornerback.

Washington showed their hand with the risky move of bringing in linebacker Reuben Foster this season, and several injuries to the offensive line have left whatever quarterback is playing that week with a consistently muddled pocket.

As for cornerback, the Redskins have relied on veteran Josh Norman, who is in the fourth year of his five-year, $75 million contract. He only counts as $6 million in dead cap space, meaning the Redskins could move on if interested.

The NFL is full of parity, and thanks to the draft, the Redskins could make a leap into the playoffs if they hit on most of their picks.

If not, a year from now we could be right here again, wondering what went wrong, and asking what needs to be done to fix it all.

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