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Positional Review - LBs


This is another spot of particular concern, specifically on the second day of the draft. Taking a LB in the first few rounds, given the more glaring issues to be filled, is unlikely.

The Redskins have a stalwart MLB - London Fletcher - and though age is catching up to him the man has been remarkably injury-free and productive. He's a tackling machine and the central nervous system of this defense. HB Blades came along very nicely as a rookie, but whether or not he, like Fletcher, will be able to overcome his small size to be an elite middle LB in this league remains to be seen. Hard not to like what the kid did on special teams and used situationally on defense last season.

Marcus Washington's health is always an issue on the strong side. He's battled nagging injuries throughout the last three seasons, but the fact that this has finally been a surgery-and-rehab-free offseason for him should bode well. Weak side LB Rocky McIntosh is making a strong recovery from knee surgery - internally the team estimates for now he likely will not need to start the season on the PUP list, unlike Carlos Rogers - though both of his knees have been flagged for possible degenerative conditions, team sources said, which bears monitoring.

The kid is a game and if he's healthy he could be the guy to ultimately replace Marcus in a few years. As for other reserves, Khary Campbell is a special teams guy above all else, and new coordinator Greg Blache is not as apt to keep those types of players, who cannot provide much within the base defense. Matt Sinclair is a an over-achiever who won over the coaches last season with his superior will and work ethic, but his ability to contribute beyond special teams is questionable. Washington signed young LBs Rain Wallace and Danny Verdun-Wheeler in January, when rosters expanded, but both are projects at this point and training camp fodder.

The Skins have not re-signed veteran outside LB Randall Godfrey, who solidified the run defense in the second half of the season, but should they come away still with a void at OLB come Monday morning, he could get a phone call. The plan, however, is to find a young, athletic outside backer to be there to back-up McIntosh/Washington. Again, I don't see it happening until the third round at the earliest.

By Jason La Canfora  |  April 22, 2008; 12:20 PM ET
 
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