Redskins' Roster Review: Breaking Down Washington's Defensive Line

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IMay 26, 2013

Courtesy of Getty.
Courtesy of Getty.

The Washington Redskins’ defensive front was a surprising strength in 2012. The unit was led by veterans Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen and showed up big at times when Washington needed them most.

Although the league-wide rankings did not necessarily reflect it, the Redskins’ defensive line played pretty well last season. They held Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner and LeSean McCoy to a combined 188 yards on 49 carries (3.8 yards per carry).

When looking at this unit as a whole, it’s pretty solid. Sure, there are some parts that could be improved, and they could definitely stand to add some youth, but overall this group is definitely one to be happy about. 


The Good

As I mentioned earlier, Cofield and Bowen are the headliners of Washington’s defensive line. These two are very dependable and provide consistency across the line. Cofield led all of the team’s defensive lineman with 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

One of the newest Redskins, Phillip Merling, was a pretty underrated pickup for Washington. Merling was limited in 2012 due to an Achilles injury, but now that he is healthy, he could definitely find himself grabbing a big chunk of playing time. He has ideal size for a five technique at 6’5”, 315 pounds. 

While injury has plagued Merling from playing a full season for the past three years, he could become an impact player if he can remain healthy. 

Jarvis Jenkins was another guy who played well last season and should improve in 2013. Especially with the return of Adam Carriker, Washington has a great group of starters.


The Bad

Overall, there isn’t really much “bad” throughout Washington’s defensive lineman—more like under-performers. 

There isn’t a whole lot of quality depth behind the starters, and that will need to change if the Redskins hope to maintain a steady defensive attack. The main guy that comes to mind is Chris Neild

Neild, a late-round pick from a couple of years ago, had just 10 tackles in his only full season (2011). He missed all of 2012 with a torn ACL and will have to prove his worth in his third season if he wants to stay on the roster. 

Personally, I like him. He has the potential to become a really solid starter on the line for Washington, but he has a lot going against him coming off of his ACL tear.

The Ugly

Last year was a rough year for many players on the Redskins’ roster, and Kedric Golston was one of those guys. Granted, he did have as much playing time as some of the other guys, but he didn’t do too much when he was in the game. 

Statistically, Golston had one of his worst seasons in 2012. He played in all 16 games, recording just 16 tackles. To put things in perspective, he had 16 tackles in 2011 also—but that was in just nine games. 

He will have to get back to form in 2013 or else he may be cut in favor of the younger guys.

When it comes down to it, the Redskins do need to improve their depth, but they aren’t hurting too bad. If guys like Jenkins and Merling are able to step up and make the impact that they should, then the Redskins should be just fine.