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Redskins Post-Draft Roster Breakdown: Cornerbacks

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With the NFL Draft completed, Redskins.com is breaking down the team's roster as it prepares for the 2020 campaign. Here are the positions that have been covered so far:

Next up are the cornerbacks. Washington's top two options from last season, Quinton Dunbar and Josh Norman, are gone, while newcomers Ronald Darby and Kendall Fuller should both receive significant playing time in the secondary.

The Redskins will also be counting on fourth-year pro Fabian Moreau, whose three interceptions last season all came once he moved from the slot to the outside in Week 9.

Rounding out the position are Danny Johnson, Jimmy Moreland, Greg Stroman and Simeon Thomas.

ROSTER SUBTRACTIONS:

  • Quinton Dunbar
  • Josh Norman

KEY ADDITION(S):

  • Ronald Darby
  • Kendall Fuller

THE LATEST

The Redskins needed cornerback depth following the release of Norman, so they kicked off free agency by signing the versatile Fuller to a multi-year deal.

A Maryland native, Fuller began his NFL career with the hometown Redskins as a third-round pick in 2016 and became one of the league's high-graded slot cornerbacks by his second season. But after being dealt to Kansas City as a part of the trade for Alex Smith, Fuller served as their No. 1 corner in 2018 and played as a hybrid safety-corner down the stretch last season. His interception in Super Bowl LIV sealed the Chiefs' victory.

Back in Washington, Fuller is expected to assume a variety of responsibilities.

"Here's a guy that has position flex in terms of he can play the outside corner position, you can bring him inside, he can come in and play the nickel or play the matchup game," Rivera said. "If you get into a situation or dire restraints, he can play free safety for you. We feel good about him as a corner and as a nickel for us as well. We think he's got some very good value for us as far as we're concerned."

To make up for the loss of Dunbar, who was traded to the Seattle Seahawks days after the Fuller signing, the Redskins wrapped up free agency by bringing in Darby on a one-year deal.

Darby is another local product; he played at Potomac High School in Maryland before starring at Florida State and joined the Buffalo Bills as a second-round draft pick in 2015. He was named Pro Football Focus' Defensive Rookie of the Year, then put forth another productive season before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Over the past three seasons, Darby totaled six interceptions and 32 passes defensed.

"Ronald Darby is a guy I like in terms of he's got a good skillset," Rivera said. "He's very quick, he's got a quick twitch. He plays with vision. Some of the things that we want to do are going to give him an opportunity to have success because he is going to play through the receiver to the quarterback with vision. His anticipation is tremendous. He's a guy that we're really excited about just because of the success he's had."

Moreau was playing some of the best football of his career before going on Injured Reserve for the final three games of 2019. In 12 games (seven starts), he ranked second on the team with three interceptions while breaking up five passes and recording 44 total tackles.

Moreland, a 2019 seventh-round pick, finished just behind Moreau with 42 total tackles and four passes defensed in 14 appearances (five starts).

Johnson and Stroman missed most or all of 2019 because of injury, but they're both young cornerbacks who played in at least 14 games in 2018. Thomas, a sixth-round pick in 2018, made eight tackles in 12 games last season.

Finally, seventh-round rookie Kamren Curl is listed as a safety but played cornerback as a freshman at Arkansas.

"He's got cover skills, so he may be able to come down into the slot and cover receivers," Rivera said. "That's something that we have to find out."

WHAT TO WATCH

The Redskins went without drafting a cornerback for the first time since 2010, meaning the coaching staff must be comfortable with who's already on the roster.

As for who starts, Darby and Moreau will probably play on the outside with Fuller working in the slot. Fuller is a starting-caliber outside corner as well, but it makes more sense for him to play nickelback based on the current personnel.

Moreland could also push for a starting role if he shows the ball skills that helped him stand out during training camp and in the preseason.

"We like what we've done in terms of bringing [Darby] in and bringing Fuller in as guys that can match up and move with guys that we currently have on the roster as well," Rivera said. "We feel good about that group."

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