Washington Redskins have the pieces in place to contend in the NFC East

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Washington Redskins got off to a hot 6-3 start under newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith. Fans started to believe that their team could be headed back to the playoffs.

Then in Week 11, Smith went down with a horrible leg injury, breaking his tibia and fibula. They Redskins were unable to recover from Smith’s injury, going 1-6 for the rest of the season. They finished thee year 7-9 and were unable to obtain a playoff berth.  

The big picture: Thanks to some key offseason personnel moves and an incredible draft haul, Washington is poised to break through with a winning campaign in the next year or two.

Key veteran acquisitions: The Redskins brought in a veteran quarterback, paid a huge sum for an All-Pro safety, brought back a running back who is defying Father Time, and added a veteran cornerback.

  • Case Keenum: With Alex Smith’s injury being so bad that he will likely be out next season, the Redskins needed to add a quarterback. Keenum is a veteran who started all 16 games for the Broncos last season. He is not the Redskins’ long-term answer at quarterback, but he will provide depth and competition to a position rattled by injuries last season.
  • Landon Collins: The Redskins signed star safety Landon Collins to a six-year, $84 million deal — an NFL record. Collins greatly bolsters a secondary that ranked 17th in the league last year.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Veteran cornerback and two time Pro-Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came of out retirement and signed with the Redskins. “DRC” is past his prime, but he adds much needed depth to the Redskins’ cornerback position.
  • Adrian Peterson: The Redskins resigned running back Adrian Peterson to a two-year, $8 million deal. The veteran and future hall of fame RB flashed last season, showing that age is just a number. Now he’s aiming for an elusive goal achieved by only a handful of players in NFL history.

Key Departures: The Redskins definitely felt the loss of a few key players from last year’s roster, including a top linebacker who is now with the Green Bay Packers.

  • Jamison Crowder: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder left the Redskins to sign with the Jets. Crowder missed many games last season as he was plagued by injuries. However, over the past four seasons when he was on the field, he was very productive.
  • Preston Smith: Linebacker Preston Smith signed a massive contract with the Packers. Smith had four sacks last season and at times played like an elite player. However, the Skins were frustrated with his inconsistent play.
  • Ty Nsekhe: Offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe signed a two year, $14.5 million deal with the Bills. Nsekhe was a very good backup, and his departure hurts the Skins’ depth on the offensive line.

Nailing the draft: During the 2019 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected 10 players — five defense and five on offense — and had one of the best drafts of any team in the league.

Here are their key picks:

  • Dwayne Haskins: With the 15th overall pick, the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State. Haskins came third for the Heisman Trophy last year. He has a great arm and just enough mobility to make plays outside the pocket. At Ohio State last season, Haskins threw 50 touchdowns while only throwing eight interceptions.
  • Montez Sweat: The Redskins traded back into the first round to draft defensive end Montez Sweat 26th overall out of Mississippi State. Sweat has the talent of a top defensive lineman, recording 22.5 sacks in two seasons at Mississippi State. He has been drawing rave reviews this offseason.
  • Terry McLaurin: The Redskins drafted receiver Terry McLaurin in the third round out of Ohio State. McLaurin played with Haskins and is a great route runner. He is also incredibly fast, running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the combine.
  • Bryce Love: The Redskins drafted running back Bryce Love in the fourth round of the draft out of Stanford. Love is a star running back who came second in Heisman Trophy voting two seasons ago. The reason he fell to the fourth round was because he tore his ACL last season. Love gives the Redskins yet another running back to play with and could very well be the steal of the draft.

This young group of talented players Washington assembled in the draft gives the Redskins the firmest foundation they have had in a long time.

The bottom line: The Redskins looked in complete disarray at the end of last season. However, the front office gave fans hope for the future with a great offseason.

Signing Landon Collins was a huge addition to the defense. However, Dwayne Haskins is the key addition this offseason. If he can live up to his potential, the Redskins are in great shape for the future.