The Ringer published its most underrated position groups in the NFL on Tuesday, and the Redskins’ defensive line made the cut.
Washington’s up front defense is coming off a season where they gave up the most rushing yards in the NFL, but upgraded when they selected Daron Payne in the first round, added Tim Settle in the fifth round and signed veteran linebacker Pernell McPhee to the group.
2018 Washington Redskins Minicamp: Day 1
Here’s photos from the Washington Redskins Minicamp practice that took place Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.
The article, written by Danny Kelly, states that Payne's pairing with former college teammate Jonathan Allen is "going to be a pain (both literally and figuratively) for offensive linemen." Kelly also notes that Preston Smith has “breakout-star potential” after coming up with eight sacks last season and that Anthony Lanier II can grow into a better player after a promising performance in 2017.
Then there's sack leader and three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan, described by Kelly as “the pass-rushing rock," that will headline the team's "deep, versatile, and physical front."
“[Depth] definitely helps a lot,” Allen said. “I feel like going back to last year, we definitely had the guys to stop the run, we just didn’t put all of the pieces together. So coming back for another year with [defensive line coach] [Jim] Tomsula, another year with all the guys I feel like is going to help out a lot. I really feel that we’re going to be a dominant defense. If we can stay healthy and do what I know we can, there’s nothing stopping us.”
The Redskins started last season with a 3-2 record after Week 6, but injuries to the defensive line hurt the defense. Washington had five games last season where they kept opponents under 20 points per game, resulting in five wins.
A key for that same kind of success will be the Redskins’ D-line remaining injury-free.
“The biggest thing is going to be staying healthy,” Kerrigan said. “We started out pretty well last year but injuries took their toll. But we’ve got a lot of good pieces. I like what I’m seeing from the younger guys, the draft picks. We’ve just got to keep building day by day.”