Report: Shanahan likes some of the holdover linemen

The Washington Redskins’ low key approach to free agency caught a lot of people off guard, especially those looking to have their wallets lined, but the focus it seems has been on the offensive line.

New general manager Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan brought a parade of linemen through on visits. The first key addition made from the outside was Artis Hicks, who signed a modest $9 million contract with $3 million guaranteed. He is projected to start at right guard as the club looks to revamp what was a banged up and understaffed group from a year ago.

The Redskins could be in the mix for a future left tackle with the No. 4 pick in the draft, and Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung is an option. But Shanahan isn’t discarding all of the parts he has to work with. The team re-signed center Casey Rabach, gave a deal to reclamation project Mike Williams and Shanahan sees the upside in Stephon Heyer, who could still figure in the mix according to a report by Jason Reid of the Washington Post.

"I though Heyer did some good things last year, and he was hurt," Shanahan told Reid. "I'm looking forward to seeing how much he grows this offseason. I think Stephon has a lot of ability.
"I think it's untapped ability, and if he's willing to work hard, I think he's got a chance to be a player in the National Football League. The question is, 'How hard will he work in this offseason to get to the next level?' And I'm hoping he does."

Shanahan has also praised the work of Williams, who has reshaped himself after his career nearly fizzled out completely. He could be in the mix at left guard.

"I think Mike has got a very high ceiling," Shanahan told Reid. "The guard is his position, not the tackle position.

"When he did play guard, I thought he played it well, especially losing as much weight as he lost. If he can keep to this whole offseason at the same weight that he finished, and keep on improving, he'll help us."

Shanahan’s teams have been known to make it work with journeymen linemen on a unit that is pieced together. Eventually, the Redskins are going to need to add some talent. That’s why a pick like Okung makes a lot of sense.

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