2018 NFL Power Rankings: Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh puts Rams on top

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Brandin Cooks
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Brandin Cooks /
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(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

23. Washington Redskins

What a last couple of months it’s been for the Washington Redskins, as the team went from trying to figure out whether Kirk Cousins would be back in the picture to taking care of the situation early on by agreeing to trade for Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs. Without question, Smith’s veteran leadership should benefit some of the younger guys at receiver, and while the Redskins are certainly excited about the potential surrounding Paul Richardson, this team still has a lot to prove.

A few years ago, Washington was considered one of the top teams to beat in the NFC, as Cousins was fortunate to have a dangerous duo in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to work with, that is until they both left in free agency last offseason. From Cousins’ perspective, it’s easy to understand why there was some frustration towards the organization after refusing to reward him with a long-term deal, and seeing them open the checkbook for someone like Smith must have felt like a slap to the face.

No matter what Smith accomplishes during his first year in Washington, the main factor that’s going to matter the most is whether the defense comes through. The NFC East is loaded with high-powered offenses led by the Philadelphia Eagles, so the Redskins’ defense will need to step up in 2018 to give this team a fighting chance.