There’s little doubt that the Washington Redskins, despite their deficiencies on the defensive side of the football, have a big bright spot when it comes to the outside linebacking positions. But some recent events have taken a little shine off that apple.
Six-year pro Ryan Kerrigan has not missed a game since being a first-round draft choice in 2011. Bookend teammate Preston Smith has been impressive in two NFL seasons. A total of 32 regular-season outings have resulted in 12.5 sacks. In 2016, he also started all 16 games. Washington finished the year with a solid 40 sacks, led by Kerrigan (11).
But what about depth? That became a serious question mark over the last week or so. Back in March, there was word of a four-game suspension for three-year pro Trent Murphy. He finished with nine sacks in ’16 but won’t be around for the start of 2017. His appeal for his indiscretions in terms of the substance-abuse policy was denied.
And who knows when the debut of Junior Galette in a Redskins’ uniform will actually take place? The one-time member of the New Orleans Saints has missed the past two seasons with a series of torn Achilles’ injuries. He re-signed with Washington earlier this year. But last week, Doug Walker of WLOX-TV reported that the pass-rushing force had run into trouble with the law. NFL.com published a statement from the organization: “We are aware of the incident. We are gathering information and will refrain from making any further comment.”
So has this suddenly become an area of concern for team president Bruce Allen? Murphy will be back after four games. But it’s worth noting that via Ourlads, there are five other young outside linebackers on the Redskins’ depth chart. The quintet of Zach Vigil, Houston Bates, Khairi Fortt, Pete Robertson and Lynden Trail have a total of zero career sacks.
So will the Washington Redskins be adding a pass-rushing outside linebacker in next week’s NFL draft. The odds are becoming somewhat high.
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.