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Redskins 53 man roster prediction after two preseason games

Steve Shoup

Offense:

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Quarterbacks: 3 – Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

-No change here, the only chance the Redskins were going to only keep 2 QBs would have been if Sudfeld fell flat on his face and had a terrible camp/preseason. That hasn’t been the case and in fact Sudfeld has played pretty well (albeit vs 4th stringers), which locks him on the roster.

Running backs: 3 – Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley*

-The Redskins are keeping three running backs, but I’m still not sold that all three are currently on the roster. Jones and Thompson are clearly safe, but Kelley right now is just a placeholder until the Redskins sign someone or claim a back off waivers after final cuts. Kelley will probably get a practice squad nod, but I have a hard time believing that he will be there opening night vs the Steelers.

Tight ends: 3  – Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Vernon Davis,

-Originially I thought the Redskins would keep four tight ends, but I think the blocking ability that Vernon Davis has shown will allow the Redskins to let Logan Paulsen walk and keep an extra cornerback. Reed, Paul and Davis are fantastic trio of tight ends and the versatility that guys like Paul and Davis bring to the table will allow the Redskins to mix-and-match their tight ends to suit their needs and frustrate opposing defenses.

Wide Receivers: 6 – DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Rashard Ross, Ryan Grant

-I don’t see any real changes here as the Redskins receivers seem pretty locked in. A couple undrafted guys have flashed in camp so don’t be surprised to see Kendall Thompson, and Maurice Harris to push for practice squad roles, there just isn’t any room for them on the final roster.

Offensive line: 9 – Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Ty Nsekhe, Bryan Stork*

-Assuming that newly acquired center Bryan Stork doesn’t retire, the Redskins might have found their future at the center position. Kory Lichtensteiger should still make the team and he might even start the first week or two as Stork gets ready with this offense, but it shouldn’t be long before Stork supplants him. Stork’s addition should pretty much lock up this roster group, with Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Lichtensteiger/Stork, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses locked as the starters. Behind them the Redskins will have a nice group of Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Ty Nsekhe and the loser of the center battle. This is going be the best starting unit and depth the Redskins have had along the offensive line in a good 8+ years.

Defense:

Defensive Line: 7 – Chris Baker, Stephen Paea, Kendall Reyes, Kedric Golston, Ricky Jean-Francois, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis

-Even with Trent Murphy going back to OLB, I see the Redskins sticking with seven defensive lineman and using their quantity of players to their advantage based on match-ups. Chris Baker is a Pro Bowl caliber player, but the rest of the group appear to be average-to-above average. That’s okay though, because it means that the Redskins won’t be giving any of their snaps to below average players who are a liability on defense. The only real surprise of the group is Ziggy Hood, who seemed like a longshot at the start of camp. He was a former first round pick, but his play in the league has been highly disappointing and he signed as a street free agent. Two guys who are unlikely to make the team but have played well are Corey Crawford and Anthony Lanier, expect both to get a look on the practice squad.

Outside Linebacker: 4 – Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Lynden Trail

 

-The loss of Junior Galette forced the Redskins to do some reshuffling as they moved Trent Murphy back from the defensive line to the outside linebacker role that he played his first two years in Washington. With Murphy back at the position that locks up three of the likely four spots at this position group. The fourth spot seems like a wide open battle between Lynden Trail, Houston Bates, Michael Wakefield, Willie Jefferson, and Ejiro Ederaine. This battle could go any which way, but it feels like Trail, Wakefield and Jefferson are the frontrunners. It’s anyones guess, but Trail seems to be possibly the most intriguing player (and the most likely that another team may grab before they would land on the practice squad).

Inside Linebacker: 5 – Will Compton, Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight, Terence Garvin, Su’a Cravens

-Compton and Foster seem to have the starting roles locked down, which puts Perry Riley firmly on the bubble. If Riley isn’t starting he’s an expensive back-up to have (the Redskins can cut him and save $4 million in cap space), particularly when some others are looking to be very capable back-ups. Second year pro Martrell Spaight has had a very impressive camp/preseason and he looks like he can be a quality back-up option for the Redskins. Rookie 2nd rounder Su’a Cravens is clearly more ILB than safety at this point and he’ll be able to back-up this position as well as have a situational role on passing downs. Special teamer Terence Garvin has played well in the preseason also and gives the Redskins further depth at the position. With three younger and cheaper players able to back-up the starters Riley seems like the odd man out.

Cornerback: 6 – Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kyle Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler, DaShaun Phillips

-Norman and Breeland give the Redskins one of the top starting duos in the NFL and a great advantage against top passing offenses. Veteran Greg Toler has had a great camp and he seems to have locked up a roster spot. Kyle Fuller and DaShaun Phillips are battling for the nickel role and are both safely on the roster (Fuller was always safe). Quinton Dunbar is the one “extra piece” so to speak, but he’s played well and showed so much promise last year that it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t make it. Six corners is a lot to carry, but the talent is here to warrant keeping an extra guy.

Safety: 4 – David Bruton, DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Duke Ihenacho

-I think the Redskins keep four safeties though Deshazor Everett could push for a role. If they keep just 4 safeties (plus Cravens in the hybrid role) I don’t see any of these guys not making the roster. Hall has transitioned quite well to the safety position, and Will Blackmon is following in his footsteps with the move as well. Bruton and Ihenacho both are pretty safe as well. This might not be a great unit, but it’s a lot deeper and talented than it’s been in a long time.

Specialists: 3 – P Tress Way, K Dustin Hopkins, LS Nick Sundberg

-Nothing new here, the Redskins are very happy with all of their specialists and don’t even have any extra bodies in camp competing for one of these roles.



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