As per last year, I’ll be sharing projections for every team in the NFL. I use past production in specific roles for each team’s scheme to work out realistic production profiles. You can see how accurate I was in 2017 in my IDP Projection Marking series.
The Redskins are in many ways the red-headed stepchild of their division. They’ve had to sit and watch this century whilst the Giants won two Super Bowls, the Eagles had a rollercoaster run that ended in a Lombardi and the Cowboys have flirted with excellence (and notoriety). Meanwhile in Washington, things have been a bit more staid. It’s pretty easy to tell the story of the last decade of the NFL without really mentioning them much.
Jay Gruden really needs a good season to remind the (twitchy and nasty) Redskins ownership just what he can do. And that could easily happen. With all the respect Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan have been getting, it’s easy to forget that Gruden has been a key part of their development and is a very good offensive coach in his own right. But this is an IDP article. Can the Redskins produce enough standouts on the defensive side of the ball to fuel a good season?
Ugh. The Redskins’ defensive line is basically a black hole as far as personal statistics go. That’s not to say they aren’t good players or helping their team. But the scheme does not put their names on the stat sheet and in the IDP world that’s really all we care about.
Da’Ron Payne was drafted very early and will almost certainly be a huge part of the team as soon as he’s able. But he’s not going to be someone you want in your IDP league unless you get points for gap control and eating blockers. Evander Hood (Ziggy to you and me) had a nasty injury late in 2017 and his return to the rotation is a bit delayed as a result.
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The same thing applies for the ends. Really, in this scheme, they’re eating blocks to allow the linebackers to make plays. That’s simplistic and old-fashioned but for this team still pretty accurate.
Jonathan Allen is a fantastic talent. Before the cruel injury that put him on IR in 2017, he rushed the passer 106 times and managed three sacks and 16 total pressures. Those numbers compare favourably to Dalvin Tomlinson who probably had the best season of interior rookies last year. Allen is likely going to be a very good player but his IDP value lags a long way behind.
Mat Ioannidis is the nominal starter across from Allen. He’s a decent player and had a very good 2017. He had more total pressures than Ndamukong Suh, Chris Jones and Mike Daniels. But he has the same issue. The individual stats simply won’t be there to make him a top-end end in most weeks.
Zach Brown has 353 total tackles over the past three seasons. Only three other linebackers have more than that (Sean Lee, Preston Brown and Bobby Wagner). The stat crews he’s played with (Buffalo and Washington) have benefited him but it’s still an exceptional achievement. He will likely retain the same job for 2018 and there’s no reason why he can’t continue to put up big numbers.
The second LB spot is much less clear. Mason Foster started out as a an every-down player in 2017 but played just 256 snaps in total due to injury. Martrell Speight (414), Will Compton (150) and Zach Vigil (395) all had the chance to play but none of them did much to win the job long term. The team also drafted Shaun Dion Hamilton out of Alabama in the late rounds. Foster is the favourite to start again but this is a situation to watch.
Over the past five seasons, only Chandler Jones has more sacks than Ryan Kerrigan. Let that sink in for a moment. For over half a decade, Kerrigan has been more statistically effective than Justin Houston, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan, Carlos Dunlap and Khalil Mack.
Part of that is just being able to stay healthy and consistent. But that’s the name of the game in IDP. Players who keep racking up points are worth more to you than a stellar talent who’s on IR. Kerrigan doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves as an IDP.
On the other side, Preston Smith should start and is also quietly effective. He racked up seven sacks and 39 total pressures in 2017. He’s another example of a player hampered by a boring name. if a pass rusher called K’Blam Smashington managed seven sacks, he’d be worth far more.
Josh Norman has lost a bit of the lustre he had when he was the best Panthers’ defender on their great team but he’s still a very good player. He’s averaged 14 PDs and 60 tackles across the past four seasons. He should still be a good IDP option.
Across from him will be either Quinton Dunbar or Fabian Moreau. Whoever wins the starting job outside will also be a good IDP target based on targetability.
This is a bit optimistic in all likelihood for D.J. Swearinger but it’s achievable and he occupies a role that has been productive before. He’s never been a very efficient tackler but he’s still the best option for seasonal production on this unit. Deshazor Everett and Montae Nicholson both have their supporters but it’s tough to really believe in either at the moment. More will become clearer in the next couple of weeks.
Zach Brown. Brown is in many ways the prototypical IDP. He’s good enough that he can efficiently make plays and has also just enough flaws that he’ll be targeted by offenses a good amount too. Brown isn’t close to being a good coverage player but he can certainly produce big tackle numbers.
Da’Ron Payne. In most leagues, there will be people who think that an early draft position means IDP production. Year after year we see this. People have heard that Jalen Ramsey or Malik Hooker or Danny Shelton or Michael Brockers is a great prospect and they’ll draft him when they start to run out of names they know. Payne is one of those players. You shouldn’t have him on your roster.
Ryan Kerrigan. It feels harsh to call Kerrigan a dark horse given how established he is but still in IDP, he isn’t treated the same way Von Miller is. Or even Bradley Chubb. Kerrigan is a top pass rusher and should be valued highly in leagues that reward OLBs.
This is very much a team split into two. The line is not fecund ground at all for us IDP owners. There’s nothing there to get excited about at all. But at linebacker, corner and even safety there are plenty of players who could turn into fantastic assets.
Thanks for reading.