Redskins Roster Outlook: Where the Rookies Fit In?

Steve O Speak

Looking at the Redskins depth chart, I was very interested to see where the rookies will fit in, and wasn’t too surprised that only Trent Williams is listed as a starter. Now that isn’t because the Redskins are some deep playoff team with an All-Pro at every position. No, it is because once again the Redskins traded away their middle picks and didn’t trade any of their assets (Campbell, McIntosh, Rogers), or trading back in the 1st round to stock pile young talent.

I’ll include Jarmon on this list since even though he isn’t a rookie, he was the Redskins 3rd round pick. I’m not including McNabb on this list because they only acquired one year of McNabb, paid an additional pick next year, and finally he is an aging veteran. Even if he re-signs, you aren’t building for the future, you are riding out the end of his career (if it’s a Warner or Favre ending great, if it is Brunell or Bledsoe ending, it could get ugly). The Redskins did get value by trading for Carriker (just swapping spots), so I do give them credit there but he has been around for a couple of years so I won’t include him either.

OT Trent Williams: Williams is firmly entrenched as a starter, and by all indications he will be the blind side tackle when the season opens. With the acquisition of Jamaal Brown I would have considered easing Williams in, but if he can handle it that is what you drafted him for. By all indications Williams is meeting or even exceeding expectations of being the 4th overall pick, which is a good thing because he could really be what this draft is based off of.

DE Jeremy Jarmon: Jarmon intrigues me quite a bit, he has bulked up some and should be able to handle being a 3-4 DE and a nickel DT, but he is pretty buried on the depth chart. Now I understand that bringing in veterans who better understand the 3-4 was key, but I just hope that Jarmon will get a fair shot this year and a decent chunk of playing time. Next to Williams he has the best chance of becoming a very good starting caliber player (potentially even a star).

ILB Perry Riley: Riley was solid value for a 4th round pick though the Redskins did pass up more pressing needs to draft him. Riley so far looks like he will be the primary backup (and potentially replacement) for Rocky McIntosh at inside linebacker. Riley will probably have his biggest impact on coverage teams as a rookie, but this is an important preseason for him to establish his future.

FB Dennis Morris: Morris was initially left off the depth chart and even when he is on he is listed as 3rd string at a position that sometimes only gets one player to make the final roster. Morris is behind converted LB Darryl Young and I think he will at least make the practice squad but it will be an uphill climb for the 6th round pick. Morris has a lot of promise, but the roster crunch could leave him looking for a job.

WR Terrance Austin: The Redskins added a number of new receivers this offseason to go along with holdovers Santana Moss, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, so it could be tough to crack the Skins roster, but Austin has a fair shot. For one thing the Redskins have quantity not quality at receiver, and it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see one of Thomas or Kelly traded. For another thing Austin could secure a spot as a returner, which is a wide open competition right now. I don’t know if he makes the 53 man roster but a practice squad spot would be likely, given future need.

C Erik Cook: Cook right now is listed as a center, but I wouldn’t be shocked if his future is at guard. For one thing the Redskins have good depth at center in durable starter Casey Rabach and backup and former Shanahan draft pick Kory Lichtensteiger. Lichtensteiger can also kick out to guard, which has the least amount of depth on the offensive line. I would guess the Redskins want Cook to learn the offensive line calls as a center just in case but will keep him as a backup at all three interior line positions. He is a bit of a project, but could develop into a starter a few years from now.

OT Selvish Capers: I am a little surprised to see Capers listed as a 3rd string LT as opposed to a RT, since most people feel like that is his natural position in the NFL. Capers did play LT in college so maybe it is just a matter of easing him in. Capers is a great sleeper pick and could very well end up being the Redskins 2nd best player from this draft class. He is a raw talent and still has some things to learn, but 2-3 years from now he could be a fixture on the Skins line. I think it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t make the team.

In all I believe only Morris and Austin are really on the roster bubble, and both could find a spot if they can contribute on special teams. This won’t be a rookie class for the ages, but there is some future potential there in Jarmon and Capers to be top notch starters. Morris, Riley and Cook could all develop into starters as well (though I don’t believe all of these players will, just that they have the potential). Unfortunately outside of Trent Williams and some special teams help, the Redskins won’t get much impact this season from their draft class.

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