For two consecutive offseasons, the Washington Redskins have allowed their starting free safety from the previous season depart in free agency.
First it was Oshiomogho Atogwe, brought in provide a rangy centerfielder to the secondary, but injury and age led to disappointing results.
Last offseason, the team signed another veteran in Madieu Williams, but experienced similar results.
When the dust settled on the 2013 NFL Draft, the Redskins have at least two young, viable options at safety.
“We had a couple safeties with
Thomas led the Football Bowl Subdivision last season in interceptions, picking off eight passes for Fresno State. Rambo was second in interceptions in 2011, also with eight.
“We love competition. When you’ve got competition it doesn’t matter if you are a first-year player, second-year player, or 15th-year player,” he explained. “You’ve got to go out there and prove it every day, every game each week.
“To me, when you have healthy competition it gives you a chance to get better.”
With the 51st pick of the draft, the Redskins also added NC State cornerback
"Here’s a corner that’s got some pretty good speed, good length," Shanahan explained. "He’s come up with some big interceptions throughout his career.
"He’s a guy we think can play in off coverage and in bump coverage. He’s just a guy we thought would fit into our system very well. Very sharp player, very smart player."
As a sophomore, Amerson led the FBS in interceptions in 2011, snagging 13 interceptions for the Wolfpack.
It’s no coincidence that the Redskins brass targeted three of the top ball-hawks in the draft.
"We've talked about turnovers since I've been here. Usually the team that excels in turnovers, they win championships,” Shanahan said. “If it's not Super Bowls, it's getting into the playoffs. That will always be an emphasis on offense and defense.
“These guys have come up with a lot of turnovers, one of the reasons they were drafted where they were."
Shanahan said Amerson brings positional flexibility but will be tested at outside corner before attempting to move him inside or elsewhere in the secondary.
"The first thing we want to do is see if he can play outside, because that’s the toughest position to play. If you can find that guy, you are in pretty good shape. I think he can play nickel, but we are looking at him as an outside corner and we’ll adjust some other players on the inside.”
“You’ve got the flexibility with a guy like D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall]. I like [cornerback] Josh Wilson to work inside as well,” Shanahan said. “So, we’ve still got speed on the outside, a little bit more flexibility on the inside with our nickel and dime packages.
“Combine that with our two new safeties and the possibility of