The Redskins recently signed C/G Eric Olsen after he was waived by the Broncos. I assumed that he would be signed to the 53-man roster, but he was signed to the practice squad. Instead, Erik Cook made the 53-man roster as backup center. If Will Montgomery is injured, Cook replaces him. If a guard is injured, Montgomery shifts to guard, and Cook replaces Montgomery. Therefore:
- If any interior OL is injured, then Erik Cook is on the field. This must not happen.
Until now, the Redskins apparently didn't have a better alternative. Now they do: Eric Olsen.
Olsen is possibly a starting-caliber NFL center, and can also play guard. He played three positions for Notre Dame and was Jimmy Clausen's center, giving up only one sack. Called the finest lineman at Notre Dame. Can move around anywhere on the interior of the OL, so can back up center, LG, RG. He played 6 games at RG in 2007, all games at LG in 2008, and all games at center in 2009. Notre Dame was also a much bigger program than Cook's alma mater, New Mexico.
Walter Football and CBS Sports both rank Eric Olsen very highly, especially compared to Erik Cook, taken by the Redskins in the same 2010 draft, #229 (7th round).
- Eric Olsen: #4 center prospect
- Erik Cook: #12 center prospect
The average rank for Olsen is 4.5. All other players ranked 1-6 made the 53-man roster in 2010, and 4 out of 5 of the others are NFL starting centers heading into 2011.
- Eric Olsen: #5 center prospect
- Erik Cook: #14 center prospect
Meanwhile, the Redskins appear to have reached for Erik Cook. Of the 8 other players ranked above or near the ranking of Cook, only one was drafted - and is now waived. Only 1 of 8 made the 53-man roster for any team, and only for 3 games. Most of the 8 appear on the way out of football right now, having been released by their teams in 2010 or in the past week.
Camp reports indicated that Erik Cook was routinely driven off the ball by the Redskins DL. There's no indication that he deserves a roster spot, other than desperation on the part of the Redskins.
The Redskins should immediately promote Eric Olsen to the 53-man roster, and send Cook back to the practice squad. Olsen should get immediate reps as the backup center, so he can come up to speed quickly. Ideally he would not have to play against the Giants, but that's a calculated risk. The risk of playing Cook at all, for any extended time in 2011, is virtually certain to blow up on this team.
Eric Olsen is the top-tier swing man the Redskins need for their interior OL.