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Roster Review: Defensive Tackles

gary-banner2.jpg breaks down the Redskins' roster position-by-position and identifies potential need areas. Up next: defensive tackles.

The Redskins have infused more youth in the defensive tackle position in recent years. The team used a pair of mid-round draft picks in 2006 to find two promising prospects.

Anthony Montgomery, a fifth-round draft pick in '06, showed progress last year after a tough rookie campaign. Coaches had to rework his technique and toughen up his approach to the game before giving him more playing time.

Montgomery responded by earning a starting job coming out of preseason. The 6-6, 315-pounder emerged as a solid run-stopper up the middle, recording 47 tackles (35 solo) in 16 games last year. He also had a half-sack and two fumble recoveries as well.

Kedric Golston was a sixth-round pick in '06 and ended up starting 13 games for the Redskins that year.

Golston bulked up to 320 pounds last year, but he saw less playing time as Montgomery emerged as a starter. Still, he made plays when he had the opportunity.

In Week 16, Golston tackled Minnesota Vikings fullback Tony Richardson for a safety. On special teams, Golston blocked a PAT and a field goal attempt. In all, Golston finished with 16 tackles (12 solo), one sack and one fumble recovery.

Golston backed up 8-year veteran Cornelius Griffin, the other starter at defensive tackle.

Amid the changes along the defensive line, Griffin remains an anchor, a leader and a quiet force. When healthy, he is a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

He started 16 games last year--the first time he accomplished that since 2001--and recorded 52 tackles (28 solo) and 2.5 sacks. He combined for 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in two games against Philadelphia, his two best outings of the season.

Reserve lineman Lorenzo Alexander started the season as a promising defensive tackle, recording four tackles in a limited role.

When the offensive line suffered a series of injuries, Alexander was called on to play some guard, fullback and tight end.

Surprisingly, the 6-1, 300-pounder made the transition seamlessly. And now coaches have a decision to make: continue his development at defensive tackle or shift him to offensive line.

The Redskins re-signed Ryan Boschetti on March 12 to maintain depth at defensive tackle. Boschetti has seen limited action in four seasons with the Redskins--last year he played in just one game--but he is well-liked as a high-energy, upbeat player.

When reviewing the defensive tackle position, it has to be mentioned that ends Phillip Daniels and Demetric Evans are often shifted inside, especially on pass-rushing situations. At the very least, they add to the depth at the position.

#### Positional Analysis

The Redskins are happy with the run-stoppers along the defensive line, but team officials want to find a young defensive tackle that can provide more pass rush up the middle.

Few options are available in free agency, so the Redskins may look to the NFL Draft to find more depth at the position.

Montgomery and Griffin provide a solid tandem as starters.

Montgomery is young and has plenty of upside. Keeping the 31-year-old Griffin healthy for 16 games is a key.

Golston could see more playing time as he rotates in with Griffin.

Alexander's future position is uncertain, but he wouldn't mind returning as a two-way player again.

Boschetti will once again compete for a roster spot in training camp.

## Three Defensive Tackles Eligible For Free Agency
As of March 14, 2008; names listed are in no particular order

  • Ian Scott, Philadelphia Eagles: Scott did not see action with the Eagles last year. From 2003-06, he started 33 of 49 games for the Bears. He played one year--his 2003 rookie season--for new Redskins defensive boss Greg Blache.
  • Jovan Haye, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Haye, a three-year vet, was a force as a pass rusher for the Bucs. He started 16 games last season and recorded 68 tackles (48 solo) and six sacks. He is a restricted free agent.
  • Damione Lewis, Carolina Panthers: Lewis, a 2001 first-round draft pick by the Rams, was a part-time starter for the Panthers the last two seasons. He has eight sacks in the span.

Three Defensive Tackles Available In the Draft

As of March 14, 2008; names listed are in no particular order

  • Glenn Dorsey, LSU: Dorsey is 6-1 and 297 pounds and could be the top defensive player chosen in the draft. He had a dominant senior season with seven sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss and won the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurksi Award and the Lombard Award.
  • Sedrick Ellis, USC Ellis, 6-0 and 309 pounds, is a powerful lineman who should get strong push as a pass rusher. A first-round prospect, he had 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss last year.
  • Dre Moore, Maryland: Moore, 6-4 and 305 pounds, is regarded as a raw prospect but with plenty of upside. He was a solid pass-rusher for the Terps, recording 9.5 sacks the last two seasons.
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