The club finishes 28th in the NFL in total defense each of the past two seasons. Each year, your team is near the bottom of the league when it comes to stopping the run. For the Washington Redskins, it was time to make some serious changes along the front seven. And that’s why this offseason was a very busy one for the franchise’s front office.
The ‘Skins added defensive linemen Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) and Stacy McGee (Oakland Raiders). They brought back nose tackle Ziggy Hood. But they also lost Chris Baker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. But a funny thing happened on the first evening of the 2017 draft. A member of the Alabama Crimsons Tide’s formidable defense was there for the taking with the 17th overall pick. Due to some injury concerns, Jonathan Allen tumbled a bit in the first round and team president Bruce Allen was more than happy to end the freefall.
The team had just wrapped up the first two days of rookie minicamp. When asked about his impression of his first two days, the productive defender appeared very excited to be back on the field. “It’s fast but I love it,” said the 6’3”, 286-pound prospect following Saturday’s practice session (via Redskins.com). “Really for me, it’s just getting back in the swing of things. It’s been fun. I’m just going to have to get back to work on Monday and get going with the team.”
“For me it’s just getting back into football playing shape and just things like that,” added Allen. “Getting back to being in the stance every down, football related stuff. It was a good two days and I’m excited to build on it and progress on it and to help this team win.”
Winning hasn’t necessarily been the problem these past two years. But it has come despite a defense that has been substandard. The Redskins used their first three picks in this year’s draft on this side of the ball and may have hit the jackpot with Jonathan Allen.
“He’s got great football knowledge, number one,” said ‘Skins head coach Jay Gruden to ESPN’s John Keim. “Number two, he has great hands and his feet are good. He’s got all the tools to be a great defensive lineman, without a doubt. I think there are some things he can clean up, as all of these young guys have issues they need to clean up. As far as skill set is concerned, Jonathan has everything you’re looking for in a defensive lineman.”
That’s pretty welcoming news for the Washington Redskins. It’s a team that has allowed at least 40 offensive touchdowns in each of the past five seasons. Perhaps the leader of this rookie class can help orchestrate a much-needed turnaround.
Russell S. Baxter is the Washington Redskins lead writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Redskins news and features? Like our Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_redskins on Twitter.