2014 49ers' Opponents Preview: Washington

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at Washington in anticipation of the upcoming season.

The 2014 NFL Draft is officially a wrap, which means offseason additions are just about complete. There will be some small free agent additions here and there, but training camp rosters are just about set. With that in mind, we are back to review each of the 49ers 2014 opponents. Each team has gained and lost numerous players, so this series will help get you more familiar with the rosters of each opponent.

After a disappointing season, Washington has turned over the roster quite a bit, but questions still remain. The big question going forward, of course, surrounds Robert Griffin III. RG3, after bursting onto the NFL stage in a big way, took a proverbial step back last season after rushing back from a knee injury. I'm no medical expert, nor did I follow the situation as closely as a Washington fan would have, but it seemed to me that RG3 suffered as a result of coming back from the injury too quickly.

This surely isn't the only cause of the young QB's struggles though. For a while last season, Washington seemed a toxic environment. The whole hubbub came to a head within the team over Mike Shanahan's treatment of RG3. Feuding, or at least disagreement, rose up between Shanahan, Griffin, and team owner Dan Snyder. I have to imagine that this might have some consequence on a young player, playing the most difficult position in the game.

In addition, Washington didn't surround Griffin with the type of players he probably needed to take the step forward they wanted him to take. Despite his immense talent, physical gifts, and audacious play, he couldn't carry the team by himself. He's simply too young of a player to do that. But, as we will see in the free agency portion below, Washington has attempted to fix some of these problems; a good decision considering the fact that they went into this offseason with an incredible amount of cap space and no first-round pick in the draft. You don't always want to build a team in free agency in the NFL, but it made a lot of sense for Washington to make the moves they did this year.

The team has more talent now than it did a year ago. It's going to be up to new head coach Jay Gruden, who is replacing Shanahan, to mold it. Gruden was a bit of an interesting pick for the HC job. But, we will see how he does in the hot seat.

Free Agency:

Additions - DT Jason Hatcher, CB Tracy Porter, OT Bruce Campbell, DE Clifton Geathers, LB Adam Hayward, WR Andre Roberts, LB Darryl Sharpton, OL Shawn Lauvao, WR DeSean Jackson, LB Akeem Jordan, S Ryan Clark, OL Mike McGlynn.

Losses - E Darryl Tapp, C J.D. Walton, C Will Montgomery (cut).

The big addition here is obvious. Jackson moves from the Eagles to Washington, immediately adding a potent receiving option for Griffin. Roberts, as well, adds some necessary depth to the Washington core talent group, particularly in the receiving corps. I think that the defensive additions will be quite fruitful for Washington, though, and shouldn't be underrated. While nobody on that list will likely make the defense elite (Football Outsiders ranks them as the 21st defense in the league last season), they should be able to keep games competitive enough for Washington to improve upon its dismal last season.

Draft:

47. Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
66. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
78. Spencer Long, G, Nebraska
102. Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
142. Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane
186. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
217. Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana
228. Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas

As I mentioned above, Washington was without a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This was the last of the picks in the RG3 trade with the Rams. The loss of a first-round pick always hurts, but I think Washington was able to pick up some good players later in the draft to make up for it. You've gotta like the first three picks. Finding talent in the trenches is always helpful, and the OL help could benefit Griffin's knee.

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