Washington Redskins' Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signee

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2014

Washington Redskins' Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signee

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    Even after selecting eight players at the 2014 NFL draft, Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen knows there is still work to be done.

    Allen will realize there are still holes on his roster and players among the undrafted free-agent pool who can fill them. The Redskins conducted some pretty solid business during the draft, managing to address a handful of obvious needs.

    They grabbed another prolific outside pass-rusher to support linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Washington also boosted its depth along the offensive front by adding two tough blockers on the second day.

    Allen even found time to land a capable cornerback and continue revamping 2013's diabolical special teams. New head coach Jay Gruden will be pleased he managed to snare a pair of intriguing weapons for his offense.

    But the post-Mike Shanahan regime still needs to bolster its defensive line depth and maybe add a safety to compete among a crowded group of veterans.

    Stick with this tracker for news on the undrafted rookies who will make their way to Washington.

Redskins Sign Cody Hoffman

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    Former Brigham Young University star Cody Hoffman signed with the Washington Redskins shortly after the conclusion of the 2014 NFL draft. The news comes from Deseret News reporters Carter Williams and Brandon Judd, citing a report from BYUCougars.com.

    Hoffman becomes the second wide receiver added by the team after Ryan Grant was selected in Round 5.

    Hoffman is a towering, big-bodied flanker who fits the template for wide receivers favored by first-year head coach Jay Gruden. As offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, Gruden often relied on size at the position.

    Hoffman certainly offers that at 6'4" and 223 pounds. He is a committed pass-catcher, but lacks the toughness to consistently win over the middle, as CBS Sports pundit Dane Brugler notes:

    Tall, long athlete with a large wingspan and catching radius to snare throws away from his frame. Long strides with controlled footwork along the sidelines and at the top of his routes. Good body control and adjustment focus, displaying proper concentration to watch the ball into his hands.

    Lean, wiry build and lacks NFL strength. Too easily out-muscled and will be pushed around by smaller defenders, especially in press coverage. Too straight-linish and upright in his movements, showing some stiffness in his routes. Needs to show better bend and stay low. One-speed athlete and limited after the catch, lacking explosive qualities to consistently separate or create as a ballcarrier.

    Hoffman may find it tough to crack the roster at a very crowded position group. Aside from Grant, Gruden can also utilize Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, DeSean Jackson, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson.

    But Hoffman's physical attributes, provided he learns how to use them more to his advantage, give him a chance.

Washington Adds Beefy DT Chris Davenport

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Redskins needed depth along the defensive line, preferably a few big bodies able to anchor a 3-4 scheme. They got all of those things by signing ex-Tulane defensive tackle Chris Davenport, per Times-Picayune reporter Tammy Nunez.

    Davenport is a classic space eater insider. The 6'4" 334-pound trench monster is an ideal fit as a 0-technique playing over the center.

    In Washington, that will mean Davenport can compete to backup starting nose tackle Barry Cofield. He should provide strong competition for 2011 seventh-rounder Chris Neild.

    Rookie head coach Jay Gruden identified finding defensive line depth as one of the team's priorities in the undrafted talent pool, per Washington Post writer Mike Jones.

    Signing Davenport is a good start.

Washington Signs Silas Redd, RB

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Silas Redd will join a swelling running back rotation in D.C., per ctPost.com writer Paul Devlin.  Redd and sixth-round pick Lache Seastrunk have been added to a group that already contains two-time 1,000-yard rusher Alfred Morris, along with Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster.

    In 2013, Redd rushed for 905 yards as a member of the USC Trojans, averaging 5.42 yards per carry, according to cfbstats.com. NFL.com draft pundit Nolan Nawrocki describes Redd as a "one-cut, inside zone runner."

    The ability to make a single quick cut is essential in Washington's dominating zone-based ground scheme. But Redd would first have to prove he can stay healthy. He was in and out of the lineup last season due to various ailments.

Tommy Rees Joins the Redskins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Washington has added Notre Dame passer Tommy Rees, according to CSNChicago.com reporter JJ Stankevtiz. Rees will surely compete for backup work against 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins and former Cleveland Browns starter Colt McCoy.

    Rees barely made a dent at the college level, despite being an intelligent presence under center. But a lack of credible arm strength and consistent accuracy doomed his stock.

    Stankevitz notes Rees is touted for a future in coaching, probably at the assistant level with Notre Dame.



Washington's Special Teams Gets Another Boost with Long Snapper J.R. Carr

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    Washington general manager Bruce Allen really is serious about improving his team's epically bad special teams. Allen's latest contribution to the third phase of football in D.C. is to sign ex-Tennessee long snapper J.R. Carr., according to Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Evan Woodberry.

    There is naturally very little information on a player who is a stand alone long snapper, and not one doubling up to do the job while also playing another position.

    However, for the gluttons for punishment there is a highlight video above. Special respect has to be given to those who brave it through a near-12 minute video of long snaps without music.

    Sarcasm aside, adding a long snapper isn't the worst move for a team that botched its and a few more team's share of kicks in 2013.

Rashad Lawrence Signs with Washington

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Just when you thought the Redskins couldn't possibly have room for another wide receiver, they go and sign another one. The latest participant on the wide receiver carousel in Washington is Rashad Lawrence.

    The news was confirmed by Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, via the University's sports twitter account.

    He played his collegiate football at Northwestern, but wasn't particularly productive in 2013. Lawrence caught a mere 31 passes for just 463 yards, per cfbstats.com.

    Like fellow undrafted free-agent signing Cody Hoffman, Lawrence is a big receiver. He stand stands 6'2" and weighs 190 pounds.

    Lawrence uses that frame to make plays on intermediate routes. Over the middle is where he lives. Just don't expect him to stretch a defense deep.


Cornerback Bryan Shepherd Joins the Team

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Former North Dakota State cornerback Bryan Shepherd has signed a deal to join the Redskins, according to the University's twitter page.

    Standing just 5'10" and weighing a mere 180 pounds, Shepherd is hardly the physical, press-based cover man the Washington pass defense needs out on the edge.

    But like many of the players acquired today, Shepherd could help the team's quest to get better on special teams. He is a nifty kick returner, something Washington didn't have last season and hasn't really possessed since Brian Mitchell wore Burgundy and Gold.

Washington Adds Safety Justin Blake

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    Those fans waiting for a safety from this draft have had a long wait. But finally Washington has added a rookie at the position in former Hampton and Nassau Community College safety Justin Blake.

    The news was confirmed on the Nassau Community College Lions Twitter account. Blake's arrival is unlikely to assuage those who believe safety is still the weakest position on the roster.

    It's difficult to see Blake earning playing time ahead of veterans Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather. He shouldn't even be expected to usurp 2013 fourth-rounder Phillip Thomas.

Redskins Add Massive Nose Tackle Robert Thomas

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    When Jay Gruden said he would use the undrafted free-agent pool to target D-line depth, per Washington Post reporter Mike Jones, he obviously meant it.

    After signing Chris Davenport, Gruden added massive nose tackle Robert Thomas. The news appeared on the player's official Twitter page.

    The ex-Arkansas behemoth belongs over the center anchoring a defensive front. At 6'1" and 327 pounds, Thomas is the perfect size to play 0-technique in Washington's 3-4 scheme.

    The former Razrobacks beast is a natural two-gap lineman, as NFL.com draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki highlights:

    Has good body mass. Can keep blockers occupied, fight the double team and control gaps. Plays hard and competes. Is a respected team leader.

    Unfortunately, his stock was wrecked by a late-season leg injury. Thomas wasn't able to run at the combine thanks to a broken tibia bone, according to NFL.com College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread.

    If he gets healthy, Thomas can make the roster as a deputy behind starter Barry Cofield.