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Roster Review: Defensive Ends

Posted Mar 13, 2012

With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching, Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: defensive ends.


With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching, Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: defensive ends.

When the Redskins made the switch from 4-3 to 3-4 in 2010, the responsibilities of the defensive linemen changed from playmakers to gap blockers. As a result, the team was forced to rebuild the defensive line from scratch.

Last offseason, the Redskins added Jarvis Jenkins with the 41st overall pick in the draft and then signed former Dallas Cowboys lineman Stephen Bowen.

The team re-signed Kedric Golston and added free agents Doug Worthington and Kentwan Balmer midseason for depth.

Bowen was inserted as an immediate starter and battled through family tragedy and a midseason knee injury to remain on the field. He started all 16 games and totaled 58 tackles, six sacks, 22 quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery.

Incumbent starter Adam Carriker appeared in all 16 games as well and produced the best statistical season of his four-year career.

Playing primarily in the base defense, Carriker tallied 49 tackles, six for a loss, 5.5 sacks and nine quarterback pressures.

Jenkins was challenging for playing time in training camp before a knee ligament injury in the third preseason game ended his season.

He is expected to be ready for off-season activities.

Golston appeared in nine games as a reserve lineman and provided quality depth before he was sidelined for the season with a knee ligament injury.

He finished with 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Balmer joined the Redskins after he was released from the Carolina Panthers. The former first-round pick took time to adjust to the 3-4 scheme and appeared in only three games for the Redskins.

After his release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp, Worthington came to Washington and joined the practice squad for most of the regular season. He was promoted to the active roster for the final two games, but did not play in any games.


GARY FITZGERALD'S POSITIONAL ANALYSIS

Bowen quickly and quietly emerged as a defensive leader -- look for him to continue to be a steadying presence up front.

The Redskins will be glad to get Jenkins back on the playing field. He was certainly the most impressive rookie last preseason before his injury.

Carriker and Golston enter the offseason as unrestricted free agents and their status is uncertain. Carriker had a fine season last year and was a favorite of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

Balmer saw limited playing time last season but Haslett likes his frame as a 3-4 end. He could get an extended look in training camp.

Worthington impressed coaches in practice last season and he could warrant a closer look as well.

If Carriker and Golston do not return, then the Redskins may need to add another defensive end to the mix. Otherwise, this position has some depth.


Three NFL Defensive Ends Eligible for Free Agency

As of March 13, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Kendall Langford, Miami Dolphins: Playing in the 3-4 in Miami, Langford put up typically low numbers while still applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks. The Petersburg, Va. product has good size (6-6, 295 pounds), and at age 26, he is still young enough to develop his game as a pro.

-- Cory Redding, Baltimore Ravens: The last time Redding was a free agent, he was considered a flameout following two unsuccessful stints in Seattle and Detroit. Two years later, he’s one of the top 3-4 defensive ends available, with only age (31) factoring against him. His 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2011 were both bests since 2006, as he seems totally adjusted to the 3-4 scheme.

-- Aaron Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers: Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2008 and was released by the Steelers earlier this offseason. Reports indicate that Smith may be content to call it a career. Smith is familiar with the Haslett 3-4 defense from his time in Pittsburgh.

Three Defensive Ends Available In NFL Draft

As of March 13, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Quinton Coples, North Carolina: Coples is thought to be a better 4-3 defensive end. He acquitted himself well at the Senior Bowl – the 6-5, 281-pounder showed he has ability as a power rusher and a speed rusher and dominated in the game, logging three tackles and a sack. Coples posted 17.5 sacks the last two years.

-- Melvin Ingram, South Carolina: Ingram, 6-2 and 276 pounds, emerged as a starter in his senior season, but he was a force each of the last two years. Overall, he compiled 109 tackles (35 for a loss), 22 sacks and two interceptions in four seasons at South Carolina.

-- Vinny Curry, Marshall: Curry was productive as a pass rusher the last two years, posting 12 sacks in 2010 and 11 sacks in 2011. The 6-3, 266-pounder is regarded as relentless off the edge but can also bull-rush as well. He could be underrated since he played in Conference USA.