Washington traded a conditional 2011 draft pick for the two-time pro bowl offensive tackle on Saturday, further bolstering an offensive line that has been largely reworked this offseason.
The sixth-year veteran missed all last season with hip and sports hernia injuries. If the 6-foot-6 tackle proves fully healthy and stays on the field -- he started 15 games each of the three seasons prior to the injuries -- there’s little denying that he could end up being the Redskins’ most significant offseason acquisition. He was a dominant force in New Orleans before getting injured.
Brown gives the Redskins the most offensive line depth the team has had in years. His presence also creates competition that wasn’t expected before the trade.
Brown’s going to start. Presumably, he’ll be placed on the left side so that there is a proven veteran protecting Donovan McNabb’s blindside.
That allows Oklahoma rooki,e Trent Williams, who is also a lock to start, to slide over to right tackle. Williams played on the right side in college, so learning the position won’t be much of a stretch.
Meanwhile, Derrick Dockery, who hasn’t missed a game in his six NFL seasons, will start at left guard, and Casey Rabach, a sixth-year Redskin, will continue to center Washington’s front five.
But who will start at guard to Rabach's right?
Mike Williams has been working there with the first team all offseason. But the Brown trade means 31-year-old Artis Hicks, signed as a free agent this spring, will no longer be lining up as a first-team tackle like he was at minicamp. Primarily a backup the past three seasons, Hicks has played more guard than tackle during his NFL career. A former teammate of McNabb’s who started in a Super Bowl with the Eagles, Hicks should get to compete with Williams for the right guard job.
"Offensive line depth" and "Washington Redskins" have been antonyms for some time, but by adding Brown, the Redskins are suddenly in position to have their first solid offensive line in several years.
For a team that used four left tackles and five right guards last season, the search for proven NFL blockers could still be ongoing.
With Brown inserted into the lineup, the Redskins could open the 2010 season with a line 60 percent rebuilt with fresh faces.
If you saw the team play a year ago, you know what that means. The Redskins are now about 60 percent more likely to get back to .500.