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Positional Review - D Line

Our positional review comes to a close today with D Line, the area the Redskins are generally averse to addressing through high draft pick, significant free agent deal or trade. Again, this offseason they passed on a bevy of veterans on the trade/free agent market, and often for good reason.

But this has also been an area of significant concern. The lack of a consistent pass rush has undermined the club at critical junctures, but only rarely will Washington use a pick in the top two rounds on an end or defensive tackle. The coaches identified the need for a tackle capable of collapsing the pocket as the primary need on that side of the ball, but the Skins pick way to low to get a sure thing there - the Dorseys will be off the board right away - and while it's likely that position will be addressed in the third round or so, it's no slam dunk they get a stud who can replace Cornelius Griffin a year from now.

Anthony Montgomery continues to progress and has great potential, a solid starter. Fellow youngster Kedric Golston is also a great asset, and is a good situational player, but is limited physically (but what a motor he has). Getting to the QB is not their forte, however. Starting ends Andre Carter and Phillip Daniels are back, but ideally Daniels would be used more inside this season than on the edge; at 36 he is slowed but still boasts immense upper body strength.

For now, though, there is no definite successor to Daniels' outside starting spot. Youngsters Chris Wilson and Alex Buzbee both will battle to be rush ends used on obvious passing downs, but lack the body frame to be every down players at this level and could have big problems against the run. Lorenzo Alexander could be a solid tackle as well, but has split time with the offense and may eventually get more reps at guard. Demetric Evans is a valuable swing man, but, alas, not the answer as an elite end or a butt-kicking three technique.

The rest of the linemen on the roster are guys who will fight and claw just to try make the roster out of camp - Ryan Boschetti, Matthias Askew, Tommy Davis, Kevin Huntley. So there is a void to fill and plenty of room for improvement at tackle and guard.

And while there will likely be a shortage of tackles who would remotely warrant a selection with the 21st pick, there will be some ends to pick from. The kids will have some warts, but some talent too, and if the Skins are ultimately forced to use this pick and there is not a OL or WR that makes sense, then a DE like Phillip Merling or even Calais Campbell could get the call.

If the attempts to land a veteran WR continue to fail, then I would give the nod to one of the three WRs the Skins like best - Malcolm Kelly, Jordy Nelson, Limas Sweed - with the 21st pick, but, again, they're preference would be to trade down and still able to get players of this ilk.

By Jason La Canfora  |  April 23, 2008; 2:49 PM ET
 
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Next: Phillip Merling and Malcolm Kelly

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