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With Added Depth, Redskins Like Current Defensive Line Group


With veteran free agent additions, the drafting of Matt Ioannidis and even Trent Murphy's full-time move to having his hand in the dirt, Joe Barry likes the talent along the defensive line.

Defensive line was considered one of the Washington Redskins' top needs entering the 2016 NFL Draft by some draft pundits, with some even floating around the idea of multiple defensive linemen being selected.

But the Redskins picked just one defensive lineman in the entire draft, and that came in the fifth round when Washington selected Temple nose tackle Matt Ioannidis.

The reasoning behind taking just Ioannidis was simple. The team really likes the talent already in-house along the defensive line which includes two veteran free agent additions.

 "Being able to sign Kendall Reyes, being able to sign Ziggy Hood, those are guys that have played at a high level in this league and I had firsthand knowledge of Kendall just because I was with him for two years in San Diego," Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry told ESPN980 recently. "Kid played at a high level his first two years, had 11 or 12 sacks as an inside rusher, Ziggy Hood was a phenomenal player coming out of Missouri a few years ago, was a first-round draft pick for the Steelers. …They're still young, they're not veterans, but they're still in their mid-20s and I think they've got a lot of good tread left on the tire."

The Redskins also return the likes of Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Ricky Jean Francois and Stephen Paea from last season along with Trent Murphy, who is moving inside after two seasons spent at outside linebacker.

Murphy is well on his way to making a complete transition, as he's packed on nearly 20 pounds since the Redskins' playoff game to the Green Bay Packers in January.

"The thing after being around Murph for a year, I felt Murph is at his best when he's going forward, when he's able to get off the ball and go forward," Barry said. "Now he did a good job when we asked him, because we played him at Sam linebacker last year, Sam linebacker has got to drop and play a curl-flat, he's got to zone match people in corners, he's got to be able to play zone drops. He did a great job but it was unfair to him."

Take a look back at the top images of the Washington Redskins' defensive linemen from the 2015 season.

Barry spoke with Murphy about making the switch, where he told him that he'll be in five-technique and be able to "put [his] hand down in the dirt and go forward."

"He already does in sub anyways because he's a defensive end," Barry said. "A coach has a number of jobs, but the first thing is to get his players in positions to do what they do best, and we're going to let Murph do what he does best and that's get off the ball and go forward."

While Murphy likely won't see action at nose tackle, someone on the roster will take over for the spot Terrance Knighton occupied last season.

Even though the Redskins are only in their base 20 percent of the time according to Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, they have options for filling that void.

"I think the nice thing is that we have a handful of guys [that can do it]," Barry said. "Chris Baker has a background of playing nose, even Ziggy in his career played nose. I know in San Diego we threw Kendall in there at times and played nose. I think this Matt Ioannidis kid we took from Temple, he's going to be an interesting dude, you know he really is. Kedric Golston still has, I use the phrase 'tread on the tire,' Ked still has a lot of football left in him. So I think we'll be [fine]."




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