The 2018 offseason saw a lot of shuffling at the cornerback position. Most notably, Bashaud Breeland left in free agency for the Green Bay Packers and Kendall Fuller was traded along with a third-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for Alex Smith.
Returning cornerbacks Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar both had solid seasons, although Dunbar's was cut short with a nerve injury to his leg. With Dunbar's injury problems, several new faces had to step up at the cornerback position.
Here's how the unit performed this year:
Review of the Unit
The Redskins defense in 2018 had an up-and-down season. At times the defense looked elite, and at other times the defense struggled mightily. A lot of the defensive success hinged on the cornerbacks' success. The unit had an inconsistent season, but a lot of that was due to injury issues and personnel changes.
With two of the top cornerbacks on the depth chart from last season gone, a lot of work had to be done entering this season. Many new faces were added to the cornerbacks room, whether it be from the NFL draft or from free agency. This also left a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the veterans in Washington.
Much was placed on Josh Norman. Entering his third year of the five-year contract signed in the 2016 offseason, many believed the 2018 season to be a year where Norman needed to step up. Although he was not able to replicate the All-Pro season that he had with the Carolina Panthers in 2015, Norman was still able to have a strong 2018 campaign.
Norman remained healthy for the entire season, as he started in all 16 games. He had three interceptions, one fumble recovery, nine passes defensed and 61 total tackles with one tackle for loss.
Norman felt as if he had a good offseason, one which prepared him well for months ahead. However, Norman didn't seem pleased with his defensive production this season.
"I think it went well," Norman said. "Like I said I probably had the most turnovers I've had since I probably came in the league, somewhere around seven or whatever. I wanted to get more, a lot more. It was 12. I fell short but when I look down and look back at it when I get the time I'll see that I was consistent for the most part. Probably had a couple hiccups but it's to be had when you're trying to be your best at things that just don't work out for you. You go back to the drawing board and you fix them, and that's what you do as a top-flyer athlete, you always want that challenge you always want to see what the best is and go up against it and see if you can tackle it.
"For the most part we did that but we are going to go back to the film room and watch what we didn't do right and be critical on that and see if we can't make those adjustments to be better. I wasn't perfect this season by no stretch of the imagination and I'll say that for sure and I'll put that on myself. That's just what we need for the team."
Dunbar entered the season after signing a three-year contract extension in the offseason. Dunbar was named one of the starting cornerbacks after serving as a backup for his first three seasons.
The Florida product only played in seven games due to a nerve injury in his leg. In the seven games Dunbar did play, he was a huge difference maker for the Redskins. He intercepted two passes, broke up nine passes and compiled 33 total tackles.
After a rookie season where he saw limited playing time, Fabian Moreau had an increased role in his second season. Moreau was the slot cornerback this year filling in for the traded Kendall Fuller. Moreau played in every game collecting 58 tackles, one interception, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
One of the highlights of the season for the Redskins' cornerbacks was the emergence of seventh-round pick Greg Stroman. Playing in all but one game, Stroman emerged in the absence of Bashaud Breeland and Quinton Dunbar. Stroman finished the year with 34 tackles, one interception, four passes defensed and one forced fumble.
Despite going undrafted in 2018, Danny Johnson saw significant playing time in his rookie season. Johnson played in 14 games, getting 13 tackles and one pass defense.
Adonis Alexander was a sixth-round selection in the 2018 supplemental NFL draft and saw limited playing time in 2018. Alexander played in nine games, getting four tackles.
Joshua Holsey played in 12 games as a rookie in 2017 but unfortunately suffered an injury before the season began. This limited Holsey to play in only one game this year, where he had two tackles.
Harlan Miller and Alex Carter were both late-season additions to the roster due to injury. Miller played in the final two games of the season, and Carter only played in the final game of the season.
The Redskins have all of the cornerbacks on the roster under control for next year. This doesn't mean that there won't be any changes at the cornerback position though, as the Redskins could select a cornerback in the NFL Draft and there are still trades and cuts that could be made.
When asked about the cornerbacks, and specifically the importance of Josh Norman amid all the uncertainty at cornerback, head coach Jay Gruden sounded pleased with the group.
"Yeah, we got a look at some young guys, which was good. Adonis [Alexander] got a little bit more yesterday and [Greg] Stroman, Fabian [Moreau], Danny Johnson all did some good things from time to time. Fabian is still a young, developing player. Obviously, [Quinton] Dunbar hurt us a little bit but I talked to him today. He's recovering nicely from his leg. It looks like he's going to have total strength here pretty soon back to his leg so that's important. It's a good, young secondary. As for Josh, we know we have him for another year. He did some great things this year. Obviously, probably his numbers weren't where he wanted them to be – interception-wise or forced fumble-wise or what have you – but he's still a solid player for us and a great option."
Quinton Dunbar sounded optimistic about his battle with injuries and felt confident about being healthy when OTA's begin.
"Oh yeah, of course," Dunbar said. "I'll be back in 2019 without a doubt."