Redskins Set Their “Final” Roster:
Yesterday was cutdown day and the Redskins had to make a few tough decisions. Despite most of the roster being set there were a few surprises and concerns.
One of the biggest concerns is the lack of youth particularly draft picks that made this team. From the past three drafts (including the supplemental pick of Jarmon) the Redskins have just 8 players remaining. And of those only two are starters, Trent Williams and Brian Orakpo, (Kareem Moore is a starter but is injured right now). That just isn’t the way you build a winner, especially one coming off a 4-12 season. And you can’t just say that it is a new coaching staff because Shanahan kept just 2 players of the 6 in his first draft class, Williams and 4th rounder Perry Riley. While some of these guys are going to be on the practice squad and could eventually have a role on this team, there are plenty of 6th and 7th round picks around the league (on much better teams mind you) that will have an immediate impact in the NFL.
One of the bigger surprises was the fact that three undrafted rookies made the team, TE Logan Paulsen, WR/PR Brandon Banks, and RB Keiland Williams. All three players showed some great promise and could have nice futures in the league. Williams might have made the biggest impression since he not only beat out veteran Willie Parker, but a former Shanahan draft pick from his Denver days, Ryan Torain. All three players should have a big impact on this season, but they must keep producing to stay on this team.
Another concern for me is the number of wide receivers and offensive linemen that made the team. Only 8 offensive linemen are on this final roster, compared to 6 wide receivers. While those numbers might make sense on an Arena Football team, they don’t seem to make much sense on an NFL team. Especially considering that RT Jamaal Brown missed all of last year with an injury. While he is healthy now it is a pretty big risk to keep so few backups. By contrast the receiving corps is incredibly deep, though still probably the worst unit in the league. The Redskins might have quantity but they don’t have quality at the receiver position. I’m really shocked that Roydell Williams made this team, not only over Terrence Austin, but I really don’t know what he brings to the table.
While the Redskins set their 53 man roster there are a lot of NFL players looking for work right now and here are a few that could make sense for the Redskins:
TE Chase Coffman- The Redskins really don’t need another Tight End but Coffman was a great college talent who never caught on in Cincinnati. I think he can rebound in this league and become not only a good player, but a starter. The Redskins probably won’t look to add another pass catching tight end, but Coffman is one to keep an eye on.
WR Dezmon Briscoe- The rookie wideout couldn’t stick with Cincinnati, but their receiving talent is just a bit better than the Redskins. He’s not the fastest receiver, but he has great size, hands and leaping ability. He would be the biggest target on the Skins, and could take R. Williams roster spot.
DE Jarron Gilbert- Gilbert was just a 3rd round pick a year ago, but has been considered a major bust in Chicago but should catch on with another team. He was miscast as a DE last year in a Tampa 2 defense and this year a defensive tackle. He is probably better suited as a 5 technique end in a 3-4, and could be an interesting choice for the Redskins. Though it is unlikely since I doubt they will cut one of the veterans or Jarmon.
QB Dan LeFevour- While a few other young qb’s were cut I think LeFevour might have the most upside. He didn’t stick in Chicago, but he has some promise and would be an interesting young quarterback in Washington. Right now 3rd string John Beck is our “young” quarterback, but he is 29 years old. Not exactly the developmental QB you are looking for. While they did just sign him to an extension, there are no guarantees when it comes to NFL contracts and I would make the switch to a true prospect. If for some reason both McNabb and Grossman go down I don’t think the difference between Beck and LeFevour will be the difference in a winning season.
S/CB Macho Harris- Harris had a promising rookie year in Philadelphia, but was screwed up by having to switch positions between CB and safety. With the injury to Kareem Moore, Harris could fill in for free safety (a position that isn’t really natural to the other three safeties on the roster), and add great depth and special teams ability. I still believe Harris has a long term future as a solid starter and well worth the risk for the Redskins.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh- While Housh would be a great get for this receiving corps and better than Brizcoe I don’t really think the Skins will have a chance. I’m sure one of the real playoff contenders (Vikings, Chargers, Jets, Steelers ect.) will grab him up. If for some reason those teams pass on him he would be a good short term fix for Washington.