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Redskins' Roster Review: Offensive Tackles

Posted Apr 4, 2013

With offseason workouts beginning next week at Redskins Park, Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a look at the team’s strengths and offers storylines to watch. Up next: offensive tackles.

With offseason workouts beginning next week at Redskins Park, Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a look at the team’s strengths and offers storylines to watch. Up next: offensive tackles.

The Redskins made major improvement to the offensive line last season, despite minimal changes to the starting unit.

The improvement was keyed by the return of third-year left tackle Trent Williams from a suspension that ended his 2011 season prematurely.

He used the incident and ensuing backlash as motivation for 2012, battling injuries and adversity for his best season in the NFL, and his first Pro Bowl honors.

He was complemented by right tackle Tyler Polumbus, who joined the organization as a free agent in November 2011. With Jammal Brown’s hip injuries holding him off the gridiron, Polumbus stepped in to provide a steady presence and 15 starts last season.

The Redskins leaned on swing tackle Maurice Hurt and Jordan Black to spell the two starters, with Hurt filling in while Polumbus recovered from concussion.

Heading into offseason workouts, the Redskins have added depth to the tackle competition, with former starters Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood in the mix. Combined with second year tackle Tom Compton, this should be a fun training camp battle to watch.

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PERSONNEL LANDSCAPE

Redskins’ offensive tackles currently under contract for next season: Williams, Polumbus, Trueblood, Pashos, Hurt, Compton.

Players no longer on the roster: Black.

As the first draft pick by head coach Mike Shanahan in Washington and the Redskins’ franchise left tackle, Trent Williams is a lock to start when healthy.

Williams battled a painful thigh bruise for much of the team’s winning streak last season, playing some of his best football in the fourth quarters of games.

The biggest question for the Pro Bowler is who will start opposite of him on the line.

As the incumbent starter and free agent re-signee, Polumbus could be the favorite to retain the position.

Polumbus has been an unheralded success in Washington, protecting quarterback Robert Griffin III and sealing the edge for the read-option offense.

At age 27, he should be just entering his prime, and with 15 starts in 2012, Polumbus could be ready to take the next step next season.

He will be challenged by former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Jeremy Trueblood, 29, who is just two seasons removed from his own 15-start season.

Trueblood was originally drafted by Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and played under secondary coach Raheem Morris during his time in Tampa.

With 84 career starts, Trueblood has the most starting experience of any tackle on the team, but must show that he can overcome a shoulder injury that derailed his 2012 season.

The Redskins dug deep for tackle help this offseason, signing Tony Pashos despite a year away from the sport.

Pashos last played for the Cleveland Browns in 2011 after stints in Jacksonville and Baltimore before. The nine-year veteran looks to make a comeback despite not starting 16 games since the 2008 season.

The trio of veterans will be pushed by second-year tackle Tom Compton, who split last season between the Redskins practice squad and active roster.

As a sixth-round pick (193rd overall) out of South Dakota (FCS), Compton (6-5, 308 pounds) has potential but may need time to adjust to the NFL. He was active for just one game last season but did not play.

While Maurice Hurt is listed as an interior lineman, his performance in a spot start at right tackle proves that he has the ability to play almost anywhere along the line.

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NFL Offensive Tackles Available In Free Agency

As of April 4, 2013; names listed are in no particular order:

--Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals: With Jake Long’s signing in St. Louis, Smith became the most intriguing free agent tackle left on he market. Smith has the skill to be a bona fide franchise tackle and at age 26 will likely improve over the next several seasons. He won’t be cheap and he has only started all 16 games in a season once, but the talent is there.

--Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons: Released earlier today, Clabo is a durable and reliable option at right tackle. The 31-year-old former undrafted free agent has not missed a game since 2007 and understands the value of hard work.

--Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers: Starks has played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Steelers, including the last several seasons on one-year deals. Starks (6-8, 345 pounds) is a massive physical specimen and may not fit with what the Redskins need in the mobile offense. Then again, if quarterback protection is the key, he could be a fit in Washington.

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Collegiate Offensive Tackles Available In The Draft

As of April 4, 2013; names listed are in no particular order:

-- Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Playing under former Washington Redskins star Monte Coleman at APB, Armstead (6-5, 306 pounds) is a superior athlete that also excelled at track and field. Coleman was the only coach that recruited Armstead and gave his blessing for two sports, which paid off nicely for Armstead and the program. He was three-time All-SWAC in football, eight-time All-SWAC in track and field.

--Dallas Thomas, Tennessee: Call him a ‘Volunteer,’ but Thomas started two seasons at left tackle for Tennessee before switching to left guard in his season season. He has the agility to move along the line of scrimmage and the ability to play either position at the NFL level. Should be available in the middle rounds.

-- David Bakhtiari, Colorado: Although a bit under-sized (6-4, 299 pounds) by NFL tackle standards, Bakhtiari possesses the mean streak necessary to play the position at the top level. A hard worker and fundamentals guy, he may miss on the cut block, but he should be available in the middle rounds of the draft.


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