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Why Stacy McGee is Washington’s breakout player this season

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He may not have the stats, but McGee’s going to be a big part of Washington’s defense, says retired NFL defensive end Stephen White.

Washington Redskins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

This offseason Washington picked up Stacy McGee from the Raiders. Not many people probably noticed because he was brought in to play on the interior of the line as a nose tackle/defensive tackle in a 3-4 defense. Aside from a few notable exceptions, interior 3-4 defensive linemen just don't normally generate big headlines or a lot of public interest because their job is usually to force two people to block them and let a linebacker make the play. And if you look at McGee's stats, they aren't necessarily that impressive either.

But fuck those stats, that dude's film is baller.

He's a big guy at 6'3 and over 340 pounds, but my goodness he is light on his feet. He moves very well and has a ton of short-area quickness which allows him to easily side step offensive linemen who are expecting him to just run down the middle of them every play.

What I also love about him is his effort. He looks like a Mack truck running down the field and chasing down plays. He isn't afraid to dive to try to get a guy on the ground. Whatever it takes to stop the ball carrier, McGee is not only able, but willing to do on most plays.

He also has good technique which allows him to anchor down and not get pushed around on those occasions when he is called on to go down the middle of somebody.

I gotta tell you, I think he is a perfect fit for a Washington defense that has been much maligned of late. After losing their nose tackle Chris Baker to Tampa Bay this offseason, Washington needed a replacement like McGee who could come in and be just as good of a run defender, while maybe being an upgrade as far as a pass rusher.

Lets be real, nobody is expecting a nose tackle to have a ton of sacks, but don't be surprised if McGee ends up with five or more this year, especially if Washington's new defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky, allows him to stunt quite a bit. Centers trying to single block him are going to catch hell every Sunday.

The big issue with McGee is can he stay healthy? He has only played in all 16 games one time in his first four years in the league. Last season he had the most starts in his career (nine), but that was also the total number of games he played. I am putting faith in him that those injury issues are behind him, and with the situation he finds himself in with Washington I think McGee is about to wreck shop. That’s why he's my pick for Washington's breakout player for 2017.