The Washington Redskins owned one of the NFL‘s weakest pass defenses in 2013, allowing 244 yards through the air to opposing offenses. Due to their lack of safety play, Washington signed former Pittsburgh Steeler FS Ryan Clark this offseason, and will look to pair him with one of their young safety prospects in either Phillip Thomas or Bacarri Rambo due to underwhelming play by SS Brandon Merriweather.
Thomas and Rambo are both second year players, and while Thomas certainly has the ability to become a nice safety at the next level, Rambo has the ball skills to become a pro-bowl caliber player.
Rambo, who played in 11 games (three starts) last season, collected 43 tackles and one sack during his rookie season. The 6-foot, 200 pound safety certainly has the ball skills to become a stud safety, but he needs to become a much better tackler to play strong safety.
Rambo has had questionable tackling skills ever since he came on the national scene playing for the Georgia Bulldogs. He tends to “catch” tackles and does not know how to properly run through the tackle. Similar to Merriweather, Rambo tends to go for the kill shot rather than making a sound tackle on the ball carrier, leading to a missed tackle and a big gain for the offense.
He does have the ability to come down with the football, however, which is a skill that Merriweather has always lacked. Rambo’s ability to locate the ball when it is in the air and come down with it is second to none.
Washington should be looking to start either Rambo or Thomas this season over Merriweather, who should be a camp cut this season. Rambo certainly has the ability to be a key contributor this season, but he will have to win the job outright from both Thomas and Merriweather.