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Roster Review: Defensive Tackles

90829.jpg breaks down the Redskins' roster position-by-position and identifies potential need areas. Up next: defensive tackles.

Defensive tackles are often the foundation of a defense.

For the Redskins, that philosophy could take on added importance, especially if the defense switches to a 3-4 this offseason.

In a 3-4, the defensive tackle becomes a nose tackle, positioned right over the center on every down.

Is Albert Haynesworth suited for that role?

The 6-5, 350-pounder has played in a 4-3 his entire NFL career, emerging as one of the league's premiere defensive tackles.

Haynesworth's stats suggest it was a down year, but his presence helped pass rushers Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo combine for 22 sacks.

Haynesworth played in 12 games and posted 56 tackles, four sacks and one fumble recovery in his first year in Washington.

His trend of not being able to play a full 16-game regular season continued last year. He missed three games with an ankle injury and one game with a hip injury.

On March 9, the Redskins signed free agent Maake Kemoeatu to give the defense more of a classic nose tackle.

Kemoeatu, 6-5 and 345 pounds, has played in 107 games with 61 starts in an eight-year career with Baltimore (2002-05) and Carolina (2006-09).

Kemoeatu has registered 291 tackles (183 solo), four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his career.

He spent the 2009 season on the Panthers' injured reserve after suffering a torn Achilles tendon during training camp.

When Haynesworth was sidelined last season, the Redskins turned to fourth-year lineman Kedric Golston as his replacement in the lineup.

Golston has drawn raves from coaches for his high motor on the football field.

Last season, he played in all 16 games, with six starts, and logged 50 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

Anthony Montgomery, also a fourth-year lineman, continued to see limited action last year as a reserve defensive tackle.

A 15-game starter in 2007, Montgomery has played in just 10 games, with one start, in the last two seasons combined. He has 16 tackles in that span.

Antoine Holmes, a rookie last year, joined the Redskins on Dec. 1 after stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings.

A developmental prospect, Holmes played college football at North Carolina State.


If the Redskins switch to a 3-4, then Haynesworth would likely fit in best at defensive end where he can make an impact rushing the passer.

However, he also has the versatility to play nose tackle.

Look for Haynesworth to continue to play multiple roles, no matter what alignment the defense is in.

It appears Kemoeatu has a good chance to become the starter at nose tackle.

The Redskins have tendered contracts to Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery, both restricted free agents this offseason.

Montgomery, who was listed at 6-5 and 330 pounds last season, has a chance to establish himself as a nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment.

With the Redskins releasing veteran Cornelius Griffin on March 4, it would not be surprising if the team continued to search for defensive tackle help in free agency and the draft.

Three NFL Defensive Tackles Eligible for Free Agency

As of March 20, 2010; names listed are in no particular order

-- Kendrick Clancy, New Orleans Saints: Clancy has experience playing in a 3-4 with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2000-04. The 11-year veteran has played for the Saints the last three years, but was sidelined most of last season with a knee injury.

-- Kenny Peterson, Denver Broncos: Peterson, a 7-year veteran, played for Mike Shanahan in Denver from 2006-08. He emerged as a starter last year under current Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, who replaced Shanahan.

-- Barry Cofield, New York Giants: Cofield, a restricted free agent, has started for the Giants the last four years. As part of a stout Giants defensive line, he has totaled 156 tackles and 6.5 sacks in his career.

Three Defensive Tackles Available In NFL Draft

As of March 20, 2010; names listed are in no particular order

-- Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska: Suh was such a dominant force at Nebraska that he finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. He logged 85 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks for the Cornhuskers last season.

-- Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma: McCoy is a high-motor lineman and who started three years for the Sooners. He posted 83 tackles, 33 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks in his college career.

-- Dan Williams, Tennessee: From the same college as Albert Haynesworth, Williams started three years for the Vols and logged 160 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and seven sacks.

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