August 8, 2009

Redskins Roster Review: Cornerbacks

As training camp continues on, I have several more positions to cover to finish off the roster review.

Corner is shaping up to be one of the better positions on the team from top to bottom.

Carlos Rogers and and Deangelo Hall return to man the starting spots while Fred Smoot, Justin Tryon, and Kevin Barnes will provide support.

Rogers came into his own last season as a great cover corner. He drew plenty of criticism for some shaky hands as he dropped several interceptions last season, but he is still the best cover CB on the team.

Shawn Springs departed for New England, and though he was great in man coverage, he couldn’t stay healthy. Rogers brings similar coverage skills to the table and thus far has improved his hands.

Hall isn’t quite the man corner Rogers is, but makes up for it with his playmaking ability. Hall will get beat underneath as he plays soft on his receiver.

Hall’s speed protects him against the deep ball and allows him to gamble. He has a nose for the ball, and can jump routes incredibly well. He will provide the takewaways the ‘Skins lacked last year.

Smoot appears to be in control of the nickel corner position. He is a nine year vet who will fit nicely into the third CB slot.

He is physical against the run despite his poor tackling form, and is adequate in coverage. He won’t stop any elite WRs, but he should matchup well enough against receivers in the slot.

Tryon is a bit of a question mark. He entered the league last year talking a big game only to hardly see the field all season.

He was terrible last preseason, getting burned routinely, but this year appears to be much improved. His small stature (5-9, 183) is working against him, but he has the speed and athleticism to be a pesky CB.

Meanwhile Kevin Barnes was drafted in the third round this year out of Maryland. The former Terp has a reputation stemming from a big hit laid on a Cal RB last year. The hit was so hard, the RB literally lost his lunch and Barnes became a YouTube sensation.

Barnes accumulated 85 tackles, 14 asses defended, and six interceptions during his collegiate career and should transition smoothly to the pros. He has the height at 6-1, but he might need to put on a few pounds to matchup against big WRs.

Byron Westbrook is trying to make the team yet again after two straight years on the practice squad. Westbrook has athleticism, but the numbers are working against him. He will need a strong preseason to overtake Tryon or Barnes, and even that will unlikely save him as the ‘Skins will not cut draft picks.

Doug Dutch is the final CB on the roster. He’s an undrafted rookie out of Michigan who was a solid special teamer with the Wolverines.

Overall Grade: A-

It’s not often teams get two CBs that compliment each other so well. Hall and Rogers are a dynamite one-two punch and each one makes up for the other’s deficiencies.

Hall has his question marks considering he mailed it in with the Raiders last year before coming here, but he appears to have really found his niche in DC. The ‘Skins overpaid for him, but he should still be a vital part of the secondary if all goes well.

Rogers is underrated and may actually get his due this season which is his contract year while the depth is nothing to complain about. Smoot is a solid vet and the two youngsters behind him are oozing with potential.

Not much to complain about at CB.

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