Dan Graziano’s NFC East Blog on ESPN.com went through the division and named the All-Division Team going into Week 1. In general, it names all of the obvious favorites on paper, and you can see that the division is pretty stocked with talent.
The Redskins were selected for a respectable five of 27 positions, but there were a few surprises:
Inside linebacker London Fletcher
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo
Kick returner Brandon Banks
Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe
Fullback Mike Sellers
There were no explanations provided, so there’s an air of mystery here.
The reasonable picks:
The Redskins were well-represented at linebacker with inside linebacker London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo getting the accolades. This is a tough division for pass-rushers, so it was a tip of the hat to Orakpo, who was listed behind DeMarcus Ware. Orakpo will look to improve his stock in 2011 after a shift to the 3-4 and outside linebacker in 2010 that led to a bit of a sophomore slump.
Fletcher was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2010 and has been too consistent for too long to choose anyone else. He is the captain on defense and undisputed field general, so he makes a logical pick.
Brandon Banks also qualifies for his accolades as a kick returner, although I think he’ll have better opportunities in punt returns under the new rules.
Oshiomogho Atogwe was brought in to patrol center field and be a ball-hawking play-maker in the Redskins secondary. Although he’s new to the division, he’s very talented and deserves consideration as one of the best.
The curious pick: Mike Sellers
Mike Sellers may well be the top fullback in the division, but the Redskins coaching staff doesn’t seem to agree. Sellers spent the entire preseason listed as a tight end, and according to the Redskins depth chart, is now listed as the backup fullback behind starter Darrel Young.
As a matter of fact, it’s not immediately clear what role the 36-year-old will fill with the Redskins this field, given head coach Mike Shanahan’s comments on Monday:
“It’s always tough as you get older to go and work as a third and fourth-team tight end,” he said. ”When he played in the game against Tampa Bay, he played well at the fullback position. And he can play special teams. He’s a guy that can help us in a number of different ways and I appreciate how hard he’s been working.”
Best in the division, perhaps, but not likely to be considered best on his own team in Week 1.
The explanation could be as simple as that Graziano threw out the preseason and just went with last year’s stats as indicators. This would explain why Tim Hightower wasn’t given consideration for his amazing preseason at running back.
Graziano also suggested the left guard Kory Lichtensteiger and strong safety LaRon Landry were considerations for their respective positions as well.
We’ll see how these predictions are manifested in Week 1.
Tags: Dan Graziano, espn.com, nfc east blog, washington redskins
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