Who’s Coming Back: Safeties

Previously:  Defensive TacklesDefensive EndsInside Linebackers, Cornerbacks

This is the last part of a series in which I list who will make our 53-man roster next year. Having watched and charted almost every snap this season I feel somewhat qualified to blog an amateur opinion on the matter. Today’s position group is Safeties.

Washington kept four Safeties on their roster so that’s the number I’m assuming we will keep for next year.

Holy Lock To Come Back Next Year:

Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

DJ: He’s willing to make linebacker fills versus the run, has the range to play deep safety and is able to rob underneath routes. Man to man coverage is the one gadget missing from his toolkit.

Montae Nicholson: Wowed immediately with his range as a deep safety but was not prepared for most of the season to play in the box or in man coverage, which put DJ in a compromised position as the man-coverage safety.

When we tried to use Nicholson in man coverage he looked clumsy:

He went on concussion protocol after the Saints game and wasn’t able to iron out that issue.  If he can get it fixed by next season the starting FS job is his.

Will Most Likely Return Next Year:

Everett: Plays a press technique over Tight Ends which puts him in the trenches versus the run and keeps DJ out of man coverage:

Everett is a restricted FA this offseason.  PFF ranks him as the 73rd best safety in the NFL and the equivalently ranked contract pays $1.1 million per year which is about double what we could pay a rookie.  However, Everett has been serviceable in man coverage and his willingness to play in the box keeps DJ as the deep safety which helps to hide his flaws.  I would expect us to shell out the cash to keep Everett if it averages within the $1-2 million per year range.

50/50:

Cravens:  I’m throwing him in this category because I have no idea what is going on here. I’m not sure if he can get another chance or if he even wants one.  He is scheduled to make $1.2 million next year and if he was to be let go under normal circumstances he would count $700,000 against the cap.

Best of Luck In Your Future Endeavors:

DHall:  Takes horrible angles to the ball, lacks the speed required to play in the NFL, most coverage busts over the last two years have come with him on the field. Reputed to be a nice guy and has a cool beard.

Fish Smithson: Practice squad guy.  Gruden mentioned him as an option at safety in a recent press conference, but if he couldn’t pass DHall on the depth chart then there is a serious deficiency somewhere.  The only thing DHall could have had over him is knowing the calls.  Smithson is probably due for an Adderall infused offseason of digesting the playbook.

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