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Scouting report: Jason Hatcher

One of these days, when free agency finally slows (every time I think it is, they pull me back in. Wait, that line’s been used so: every time I think it’s slowing they bring in more players. How’s that?) I want to take a more detailed look at some of the Redskins' new free agents. Until then, I'll rely on people who are much smarter and have worked in the game. Like Matt Williamson, a former NFL scout who is now a scout for ESPN. He gave me his take on new Redskins defensive lineman Jason Hatcher:

What jumps out at Williamson: “He was very good for the Cowboys the last two or three years. This is the best he’s played. I know he’s an older guy, but what’s interesting about him is when they ran a 3-4, he was a dominant 3-4 end. Then they bumped him to a 4-3 and he was as good as a 3 technique. So he has versatility. He’s a real good interior pass-rusher. There aren’t many of them around and that goes a long way, especially with [Brian] Orakpo on the outside. That’s hard to protect against. It’s more of a win-now signing because he’s not young. You would hope his best two years weren’t these past two years and then he starts to fall off. But I don’t think he’s going to be long for the league. But he is playing at a high level. Not many guys in the league rush as well as he does from the interior. He’s not bad against the run. He doesn’t just attack up the field and leave gaps behind him, either. He’s been highly consistent the last couple years.”

How Hatcher benefits the outside linebackers: “If he’s over a guard on the outside shoulder on passing downs with a four-man line, with Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan and maybe [Barry] Cofield in a nickel package, it’s awfully difficult to imagine you’ll do little blitzing out of nickel because you should be able to consistently get there with four. He’s going to have an advantage over most guards one-on-one. If you force teams to start going with their protection schemes from the inside-out, making yourself stronger up the middle, then Orakpo is going to feast. To me it’s easier to defend two great edge rushers as opposed to a great edge pass-rusher and an interior pass-rusher because they’re such different beasts. If you deal with that guy inside, you leave yourself short on the outside. Maybe Kerrigan is the one who benefits the most. If I’m an offensive coordinator, Kerrigan is my third preference to stop. I’m afraid of Orakpo first and Hatcher next and I’ll leave Kerrigan on a right tackle alone all day. He could have a big game and they won’t have to blitz a lot.”