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Roster Review: Guards/Centers

Posted Feb 15, 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: guards/centers.


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

When the Redskins entered the 2011 season, the center and guard positions were thought to be strengths on the offensive line.

Before training camp, the team parted ways with veteran center Casey Rabach for a younger option in Will Montgomery.

Kory Lichtensteighter, a castoff from the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings, looked comfortable in his second season at left guard.

And free agent acquisition Chris Chester settled in at right guard.

In the first four games of the season, Lichtensteiger was the team’s most consistent lineman, holding the pocket against pressure up the middle and opening up holes in the running game.

He suffered torn knee ligaments in a Week 6 loss to Philadelphia and the offensive line’s roster depth was tested.

Montgomery was initially moved to left guard to fill the hole, giving second-year center Erik Cook a chance to make his NFL debut. He made the first two starts of his career in Weeks 7-8.

After those two games, the Redskins decided to move Montgomery back to center and promote seventh-round draft pick Maurice Hurt from the practice squad to fill in at left guard.

Despite matching up against bigger defensive nose tackles, Montgomery withstood the rigors of his first 16-game stint.

Chester was the Redskins’ only offensive lineman to start every game at the same position. He developed in head coach Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme as the season progressed.

Hurt ended up starting eight of the Redskins’ final nine games and made strides despite his inexperience.

The Redskins signed guard Nevin McCaskill to a futures contract in early January. Since 2007, McCaskill has had roster and practice squad stints with seven NFL teams.


GARY FITZGERALD'S POSITIONAL ANALYSIS

Lichtensteiger is a restricted free agent this offseason and if his rehab goes well – as expected – then it’s likely he returns to the team in 2012.

He could face competition from Hurt, though.

The Redskins could look to free agency to address the position – several young, quality guards are expected to be available.

Montgomery enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and his return is uncertain. Center is his natural position but he can also play guard and his versatility benefits him.

The Redskins may look to free agency or possibly the NFL Draft to upgrade the position.

It appears Cook needs a strong offseason and training camp to earn playing time in 2012.

Chester was solid and reliable at right guard – that position appears to be set.


Three NFL Guards/Centers Eligible for Free Agency

As of February 14, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints (Left Guard): Widely considered to be one of the top free agents at any position, Nicks could leave New Orleans as they try to re-sign other key free agents. At 27 years old, Nicks is only just entering his prime, and is already considered one of the strongestand most athletic guards in the league.

-- Ben Grubbs, Baltimore Ravens (Left Guard): While Nicks can be considered dominant at the point of attack, Grubbs is a solid option that’s good at everything.  Although he was limited this season with a toe injury, he made a strong push in the Ravens’ playoff run and started all 16 games in each of the previous three seasons. He could be a target to join former teammate Chris Chester in Washington this offseason.

-- Nick Hardwick, San Diego Chargers (Center): Although rumors have surfaced of him mulling retirement, Hardwick says that he fully intends to play in 2012 and beyond.  At only 30 years old, he still has a few quality years left, and he will be one of the top free agent centers on the market.  If the Redskins are looking for an upgrade at center and think they can lure him away from San Diego, Hardwick becomes a strong candidate.

Three NFL Guards/Centers Available In NFL Draft

As of February 14, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- David DeCastro, Stanford (Guard): Andrew Luck had to have time in the pocket to become an elite college passer, and one of the linemen he can thank is DeCastro, a 6-5, 312-pound guard. DeCastro is solid anchor on the inside, a run-blocker who can excel in zone blocking and reach the second level in a hurry. Scouts say he has thrived due to excellent technique, toughness and smarts.

-- Mike Brewster (Center): The team has had an affinity for drafting leaders in recent seasons and Brewster, a Buckeyes team captain, fits the bill. The 6-5, 305-pounder finished his college career with 49 consecutive starts. He impressed scouts with flexibility and mobility, perhaps making him an ideal fit for the Redskins’ zone blocking scheme.

-- Cordy Glenn, Georgia (Guard): Glenn, 6-5 and 346 pounds, has a unique body frame that is top heavy, which should make him an enticing pro prospect. He played left tackle at the Senior Bowl but most scouts project him as a guard in the NFL. In practice, Glenn seemed to swallow up some rushers, including Alabama defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw, a projected first-round pick.