The #Washington Redskins entered the 2017 offseason with a plan to get better on the defensive side of the ball. Their defensive unit has routinely been near the bottom of the league standings the last few years, and it was brutality obvious the team needed to spend less on moving the ball and more on stopping it.

A quick glance at the post-draft roster will show you that the franchise succeeded in improving the entire unit, today we’ll take a closer look at the depth chart along the #Defensive Line.

Improvement in the defensive trenches

Since the 2016 season ended, the Redskins have attempted to rebuild their weak defensive front.

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The team let Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-Francois walk in free agency, and then signed Phil Taylor (6-3, 335 pounds), Terrell McClain (6-2, 302 pounds) and Stacy McGee (6-3, 310 pounds) to fill their roster spots. Back from last year’s team are Matt Ioannidis (6-3, 308 pounds), Ziggy Hood (6-3, 305 pounds), AJ Francis (6-5, 330 pounds), Anthony Lanier (6-6, 282 pounds) and Joey Mbu (6-3, 310 pounds).

The Redskins added Alabama DL #Jonathan Allen (6-3, 286 pounds) in the first round of the draft and then signed undrafted free agents Brandon Banks (6-3, 287 pounds) and Ondre Pipkins (6-3, 325 pounds).

The vibe out of Redskins Park all offseason has been that Anthony Lanier is the player to watch this year regarding overall improvement. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden give Lanier praise every time he’s asked about the defensive line.

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While the team has no ‘sure-fire’ answer to who will play nose tackle, they also only use a 3-4 base-set on 20-25 percent of plays, making a full-time nose tackle almost unneeded. The team does have Phil Taylor who was a first-round talent at NT before injuries set him back a couple of seasons ago. They also have Ioannidis, who they envisioned as a possible nose tackle when drafting him in 2015. The truth is they will probably go nose tackle by committee, as needed.

Projected starters

With a near blank pallet in which to paint the new defensive approach, the Washington Redskins will have plenty of options along the defensive line in 2017. While the nose tackle spot in the 3-4 will likely be filled by committee, the inside tackle spots when the defense shifts to nickel formation will be the position to watch. Lanier, Hood, Ioannidis, Francis and McClain will split reps at that spot.

The defensive end spots will likely be dominated by rookie Jonathan Allen and veteran Stacy McGee. Both players could also see time in nickel or dime when the Redskins move their outside linebackers to ends they tend to slide their true ends inward on the line. At any rate, Redskins fans will find the team improved along the defensive line this offseason.