The Washington Redskins defense is stacked. When you focus on the men up front, particularly in the trenches, every which way you turn you’ll run into either a former first-round pick or a player who has proven that he can get the job done when called upon.
With big names like Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne, it’s easy to fall by the wayside. However, there’s one other player who led the team in sacks in 2019 and has even higher hopes for the upcoming season. His name is Matt Ioannidis, and USA TODAY’s Touchdown Wire named him the Redskins most underrated player.
With the addition of second overall pick Chase Young, the Redskins now have five (!) first-round picks along their defensive line. But Ioannidis, the 2016 fifth-round pick out of Temple, was the team’s most productive pass-rusher in 2019 with 8.5 sacks, eight quarteback hits, and 38 quarterback hurries. Ioannidis also led all Washington defensive linemen with 37 total stops and 11 tackles for loss. He’s not the biggest name on that line, nor will he ever be, but especially if Young goes off in his rookie season as expected, Ioannidis’ numbers could be even more impressive in 2020.
While he is locked into a contract for the foreseeable future, the Redskins have been able to lean heavily on Ioannidis to keep their production up while waiting on both Payne and Allen to come into their own as one of the best rushing tandems in the NFL. It may be tough to hold his own and compete for a fair share of playing time if those two reach their ceiling this year, but my guess is that Ioannidis will rise to the occasion as always, and remain a pivotal part of the Washington defensive line.
Predicting weekly point spreads for Redskins 2020 season