Noah Spence's visit reveals Redskins desire to keep adding pass rushers

Early in the offseason, it was clear that the Washington Redskins wanted to do two things with their defense: Get younger along the front and add as much pass rush help as possible. They really haven’t gotten younger, and they’ve bolstered their rush by re-signing Junior Galette. But the latter move isn’t enough to satisfy them.

That’s why it wasn’t a surprise that Washington hosted outside linebacker Noah Spence Tuesday. He’s been projected as a first-round pick by some (though ESPN analyst Todd McShay had him going to the New York Jets in the second round in his latest mock on the Insider's page), but whether or not he’s ultimately the player Washington drafts is somewhat irrelevant. It shows the level of desire to add more pass rushers.

After Galette re-signed, he told ESPN980 about sitting in the booth with general manager Scot McCloughan during the playoff loss to Green Bay. Galette said McCloughan kept expressing frustration with the [lack of a] pass rush. So just having Galette back might not be enough to satisfy that desire.

They also have Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith as outside linebackers. Trent Murphy remains, but he is not viewed as a strong pass rusher and might move to defensive end. If they added another outside linebacker, they could also move Smith to end; it was a consideration earlier this offseason. I don’t know if it remains so, but Smith at 270 pounds would need to add around 20-25 pounds to make a full-time switch.

Or maybe they draft someone who is simply a situational rusher, someone who could be a fourth outside linebacker yet still help as a pass rusher. I don’t think you take Spence to be that guy; if you draft him, it’s to play and make an impact. He's 6-foot-3 and around 250 pounds; he did not have a blazing 40-yard dash time (4.8 seconds) but he has good instincts.

He clearly has some red flags, though McCloughan is partial to players who have overcome tough situations. Spence was a first-team All-Big Ten performer as a sophomore at Ohio State before drug issues eventually forced the conference to kick him out. He resurfaced at Eastern Kentucky where he starred (as he should). Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was instrumental in helping Spence get another shot in college. Take that for what it’s worth.

I don’t know if Spence will be the choice at 21. I do know the Redskins hunt for pass rush help will never end.