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Woz

2018 Positional Group Analysis: Interior Offensive Line

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I've been planning this for a bit (for each of the position groups), but the OTA thread made me actually do it. So to start off with, I'm going to look at what I think could conceivably be the weakest positional group on the 2018 Redskins heading into training camp: the interior offensive line.

ROSTER AS OF MAY 30TH, 2018

C
===
Chase Roullier		2017 6.15 (199)		1 year, 1 team, 13 games, 7 starts	[13 GP, 7 GS in 2017 for WAS]
---
Tony Bergstrom		2017 FA (midseason)	6 years, 4 teams, 53 games, 7 starts	[9 GP, 3 GS in 2017 for WAS]
Demetrius Rhaney	2017 FA	(midseason)	4 years, 2 teams, 33 games, 1 start	[1 GP, 0 GS in 2017 for WAS]
---
Alex Balducci [OC|G/DT]	2016 UDFA (Oregon)	2 years, 1 team, 2 games, 0 starts
Casey Dunn		2018 UDFA (Auburn)	0 years


G
===
Brandon Scherff		2015 1.05 (5)		3 years, 1 team, 46 games, 46 starts	[14 GP, 14 GS in 2017 for WAS]
Shawn Lauvao		2018 FA			8 years, 2 teams, 94 games, 85 starts	[9 GP, 9 GS in 2017 for WAS]
---
Tyler Catalina		2017 UDFA (Georgia)	1 year, 1 team, 7 games, 2 starts	[7 GP, 2 GS in 2017 for WAS]
Kyle Kalis		2017 UDFA (Michigan)	1 year, 0 teams
---
Isaiah Williams		2016 UDFA (Akron)	2 years, 1 team, 0 games

Nominally speaking, the Redskins return the top three starters at all three positions. So why am I in an uproar? Outside of Brandon Scherff, they've got a ton of questions.

  1. They only returned to Shawn Lauvao after the draft so there was no one realistically available otherwise. Whether this was planned or not, I don't know. It's a problem because Lauvao stinks. While I don't really put a ton of stock in PFF, they had him graded out as the 77th best guard last year. Out of 79 options.
  2. Chase Roullier looks like a decent find as a center, but he's got limited starting experience. However, that limited starting experience is about the same as the next "best" player on the roster in a sixth of the amount the available playing time.
  3. The Redskins did pick up Tony Bergstrom and Demetrius Rhaney in the middle of last season to bolster their line, but those two aren't what you might call world beating talent.
  4. Oh, do note Alex Balducci. He played defensive tackle at Oregon, but when he was signed as UDFA in San Francisco, they moved him to guard. After cutting him, the Jets picked him up and tried him out at center. 
  5. Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis - the two guys they had last year as UDFAs. They gave Catalina the roster nod over Kalis last season, but he was a bum. Kalis might be better, but he did lose out last year.

All in all, they've got two guys who qualify as NFL level talents across six spots on the line (two deep at three positions).

This is seriously ungood. The Redskins showed last year that depth is absolutely critical on the offensive line, but they essentially ignored the problem this offseason. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

The good news for the guys on the list not named Scherff and Roullier is that a 2018 roster spot amounts to a wide open competition. Yes, Lauvao essentially has the inside track, since he's the only guy beyond Scherff with more than a handful of starts, but I don't see how the Redskins keep him around given his poor play and his injury track record (he's only started 41 of the possible 64 games (64.1%) under his previous contract with the team).

There are options out in free agency land, guys like Alex Boone (105 games played, 86 starts across eight seasons (didn't start until his third season)) and Jahri Evans (183 games played, 183 games started across 12 seasons). Yes, they're older than every one on this list (including Lauvao who turns 31 in October), but they've got more experience than Lauvao (and Scherff as well).

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giphy.gif

 

Encouraging thing for me is, it's the only position of strong concern on the whole team, for me (and health pending).  I'm not calling all other positions rock solid, packed with stars, or destined to be healthy all year. Just as you said, the likely weakest link on an otherwise good fence. 

I never really watched much of Lauvao, and I don't know enough about the coaches to guess why more focus was not placed at this spot. With the selection of that 3rd rd swing OT, it still makes me think that Ty Nsekhe will get a real shot to slide inside and take the job from Lauvao. He obviously needs to suit up early on to do so. 

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43 minutes ago, oldman9er said:

giphy.gif

 

Encouraging thing for me is, it's the only position of strong concern on the whole team, for me (and health pending).  I'm not calling all other positions rock solid, packed with stars, or destined to be healthy all year. Just as you said, the likely weakest link on an otherwise good fence. 

I never really watched much of Lauvao, and I don't know enough about the coaches to guess why more focus was not placed at this spot. With the selection of that 3rd rd swing OT, it still makes me think that Ty Nsekhe will get a real shot to slide inside and take the job from Lauvao. He obviously needs to suit up early on to do so. 

The WRing core is way more of a problem than the Oline imo.

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4 minutes ago, MKnight82 said:

The WRing core is way more of a problem than the Oline imo.

The OL, if healthy, is very good at 3 of the 5, with an early thumbs up to the C spot. Would you agree? 

If so.. then LG is the only OL spot of concern. 

 

As for WRs.. there is yet to be a proven star among them, but there is plenty of good tier 2 talent here. 

That can be good enough so long as the TEs and RBs are doing their thing. 

 

I'm feeling the greater concern goes to LG1 versus WR1. 

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On 5/30/2018 at 7:35 PM, oldman9er said:

Encouraging thing for me is, it's the only position of strong concern on the whole team, for me (and health pending).  I'm not calling all other positions rock solid, packed with stars, or destined to be healthy all year. Just as you said, the likely weakest link on an otherwise good fence. 

It's that bolded part that worries me. And that is not just a problem on the interior line. I would argue they have only three NFL starter quality linemen (Trent, Moses, and Scherff), with one solid spot starter/swing man (Nsekhe), and one possible (Rouiller). The lack of depth across the board is playing with fire, something one would have thought they learned last year ... but apparently not.

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29 minutes ago, Woz said:

It's that bolded part that worries me. And that is not just a problem on the interior line. I would argue they have only three NFL starter quality linemen (Trent, Moses, and Scherff), with one solid spot starter/swing man (Nsekhe), and one possible (Rouiller). The lack of depth across the board is playing with fire, something one would have thought they learned last year ... but apparently not.

Well they did draft Geron Christian.  

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19 minutes ago, MKnight82 said:

Well they did draft Geron Christian.  

Just a question for thought. How many of the 32 have 5 ,, less say all 5 at least rate a B on a A B C D F rating ? Four or 5 teams .. Maybe less, maybe more. ?

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16 minutes ago, RSkinGM said:

Just a question for thought. How many of the 32 have 5 ,, less say all 5 at least rate a B on a A B C D F rating ? Four or 5 teams .. Maybe less, maybe more. ?

Im not sure, but the problem is our LG situation is probably F-

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47 minutes ago, MKnight82 said:

Im not sure, but the problem is our LG situation is probably F-

Nah, D+,, Lauvao is fair at run blocking. Whiffs too often pass blocking. 

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1 minute ago, RSkinGM said:

Nah, D+,, Lauvao is fair at run blocking. Whiffs too often pass blocking. 

If he's on the field.  He gets banged up often.

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1 hour ago, MKnight82 said:

Well they did draft Geron Christian.  

Who hasn't signed yet (or hadn't as of last week at least)

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2 minutes ago, RSkinGM said:

Nah, D+,, Lauvao is fair at run blocking. Whiffs too often pass blocking. 

Given Gruden's preferences for the passing game, that's ungood.

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On 6/4/2018 at 1:35 PM, RSkinGM said:

Just a question for thought. How many of the 32 have 5 ,, less say all 5 at least rate a B on a A B C D F rating ? Four or 5 teams .. Maybe less, maybe more. ?

0

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On 6/4/2018 at 12:44 PM, Woz said:

It's that bolded part that worries me. And that is not just a problem on the interior line. I would argue they have only three NFL starter quality linemen (Trent, Moses, and Scherff), with one solid spot starter/swing man (Nsekhe), and one possible (Rouiller). The lack of depth across the board is playing with fire, something one would have thought they learned last year ... but apparently not.

This is a problem for all teams. 

Also, what is your definition of NFL starter quality OL?

I certainly think if Nsekhe wasn’t stuck behind Trent and Moses that he’d be a starter somewhere.

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18 hours ago, turtle28 said:

This is a problem for all teams.

All 31 other teams have just three or four linemen on their roster that one might consider suitable to be a starter in the NFL with little to no viable depth at all behind? The offensive lineman crisis is worse than I had heard.

18 hours ago, turtle28 said:

Also, what is your definition of NFL starter quality OL?

It's somewhat subjective but it boils down to "if [team] had to start [player], how confident would/should [team] be that [player] won't be a boat anchor around [team's] offense?"

Trent Williams? No concerns with him starting.
Brandon Scherff? No concerns with him starting.
Morgan Moses? Mild concerns, but not going to fret too much about them.
Chase Roullier? Some concerns, but I'd roll with him.
Ty Nsekhe? Some concerns, but I'd roll with him.

Everyone else the Redskins have? Oh shiiiiiiiii ...

18 hours ago, turtle28 said:

I certainly think if Nsekhe wasn’t stuck behind Trent and Moses that he’d be a starter somewhere.

We'll agree to disagree.

Nsekhe graduated in 2009. He spent a month on the Rams' regular season roster in September 2012 (appeared in 2 games), and then did not appear in the NFL until 2015 with the Redskins. The rest of those six years were spent in the AF2 (the AFL's developmental league), the AFL, the CFL (practice squad only), and on offseason appearances in the NFL. For six years, Nsekhe toiled in obscurity. At age 29, he got his first real chance in the NFL. The Redskins have kept him under control via the ERFA (he could only sign with the Redskins) and RFA tenders (2nd round).

Next year, at age 33 (would be 34 in the middle of the 2019 season), he will become an unrestricted free agent in the NFL for the first time. The Redskins might re-sign him, or they might let him walk. If he walks, he's likely not going somewhere that he's the automatic starter. Yes, he'll have a decent chance at the gig, but it will only be on a year-to-year basis, in all likelihood.

That may be harsh, but it is the reality of Nsekhe's situation. He has massive value to the Redskins because he has plenty of experience (he was playing in the AFL) but is incredibly cheap relative to what his position would command. If/when his price goes up, his value will sink.

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