I like the Akeem Jordan signing for a simple reason: He’s going to help their special teams. So if he does not win a starting job, which he will definitely compete for, the Redskins will still benefit.
Last year, the inability to get much help from the backup linebackers on special teams was a killer. Along with many other things, of course. But that’s one reason I felt their lack of success there was as much an organizational failure as anything.
Coaching was an issue in many players' minds, but they were not built to have a lot of special-teams success. It did not help that Keenan Robinson was hurt before the season and that Bryan Kehl went down in October (though the special teams were bad with Kehl, too; not his fault, but the point is, he didn't miss the whole year).
The more linebacker depth you have, the better your special teams should be; that’s the belief of many in the NFL. You want big guys who can run and hit. And, yes, they had one in Lorenzo Alexander, who was dominant in this area. I haven't seen many guys take on double-teams -- and win -- like he did in Washington.
I don't know if any of the three linebackers Washington has signed (including Adam Hayward and Darryl Sharpton) can do the same, but I do know all come here with the reputation for being good in this area.
So if the starting inside linebacker position comes down to Sharpton and Jordan, whoever doesn’t win the job will still contribute. Nick Barnett played special teams last year; he did not contribute to them. It was never his area.
But Sharpton, Jordan and Hayward all are used to life as a reserve. They don’t turn up their noses at special teams. This matters. As you might recall, one of the beefs in the locker room was exactly that, not everyone bought into playing on special teams.
What they could use, too, is for second-year player Brandon Jenkins to improve here. He’s another big who can run, but who did not do well on special teams.
I'm curious to see what the Redskins do at inside linebacker now in the draft, if anything. Before Jordan's signing I would not have been surprised if they added another player at this spot.
It's also telling that Sharpton and Jordan, the two who will battle for that position, both received one-year deals. So clearly the Redskins don’t feel they have their long-term replacement there. Of course, this gives Robinson another shot to prove he can stay healthy and play inside.
It also tells me this is not viewed as a premium position in the defense. They want someone who can first and foremost stop the run and they also know they did not receive the same level of play from London Fletcher they had in the past. I don’t know that Jordan or Sharpton is anything more than a two-down player, but they can use Robinson in passing situations if necessary.
On some leftover matters: I don’t know how big a loss it was for the Redskins not to sign tackle Donald Penn, who opted for Oakland. The Raiders could give him the chance to start at left tackle, a position he struggled at in Tampa last season. While Penn might have been better in some ways than Tyler Polumbus, I don't think it was unanimous that it would be in all ways. And Penn did struggle in protection; yes, on the left side, but he would have had some problems on the right side too. But it's also clear that Polumbus has a lot more convincing to do, as should be the case.
Also, Kenny Britt's visit went well Tuesday from what I've gathered. The Redskins don't seem to feel the issues he's had, with his knees and off the field, are a concern. They think receivers coach Ike Hilliard would be a good fit for him. Not sure why, but that's what I've heard. I don't know where they stand in terms of a contract, but clearly the interest is solid.