Predicting the Redskins 53 Man Roster After the Draft
This is obviously a very preliminary look at the Redskins 53 man roster after the draft, but it’s always fun to see where people stand. In the coming weeks we’ll look more at each position battle and how many players per position the Redskins should keep:
I think a lot of people believe the Redskins should only keep two quarterbacks, and Jay Gruden has done that in the past so it’s a possibility, but in the end I think they keep 3 guys. Unfortunately RGIII carries one of the highest injury risks among quarterbacks in the league due to his two previous ACL surgeries. On top of that his style of play is going to generate him taking extra hits, putting him even more at risk. Colt McCoy is a cheap option for that 3rd QB role and one that has a little NFL experience.
Running Back/Fullback: 5
This is another position where the Redskins need extra reinforcements and should keep 5 total backs. The running back/Fullback position is one that sees a lot of injuries throughout the year and you need to be ready for when that occurs. Last year the Redskins were lucky that their top 2 backs Morris and Helu remained healthy, but that same luck didn’t apply to the rest of the backfield. Chris Thompson missed the last half of the season due to injury and Evan Royster went on IR at the end of the season. Fullback Darrel Young also missed multiple games during the year. Some may wonder why Evan Royster makes the cut. Despite his shortcomings as a runner, he does play special teams and can be an emergency fullback.
Tight End: 3
The Redskins go back to three tight ends this year, meaning that 7th rounder Ted Bosler will need to make the team as a practice squad guy. Bosler isn’t a major threat as a pass catcher and he’s not much of a blocker so it’s tough to see him replacing Logan Paulsen. Bosler’s strongsuit is special teams, but that shouldn’t really threaten Niles Paul. Paul was one of the few Redskins special teamers who actually played well last year and overall he’s a really good special teamer. Paul is an outside gunner which is different than what Bosler brings to the table. For Bosler to make the team he’s going to have to make it on his own accord and not just by beating someone out.
Wide Receiver: 5
The top three spots are set in stone, which not only makes this position easier to predict, but it means the Redskins don’t need to keep 6 receivers. With the top three guys getting the vast majority of playing time and receiver targets, having a 6th guy doesn’t make much sense unless they are an incredible special teamer. Leonard Hankerson should get the 4th spot if he can return from his injury. If he can’t and he needs to go on the PUP list it could open the door for Santana Moss. Moss would make more overall sense as a 5th WR, especially because he could help in the return game some, but the Redskins seem high on Ryan Grant and they will likely give him a shot given that he’s younger and under control for 4 years.
Offensive Line: 9
Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Tyler Polumbus, Mike McGlynn, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Adam Gettis, Tom Compton
The Redskins have been extremely lucky the last two years with the health of their offensive linemen, but they can’t risk being unprepared by keeping just 8 OL. Nine guys is a good number for them and it makes sense given the fact that few positions are set in stone. In addition to Trent Williams, veterans Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger and Tyler Polumbus all figure to be starters. Chris Chester could be in the mix as well, but between Mike McGlynn who Gruden coached in Cincy and the younger guys, I think the Redskins look to replace him given the contract. Rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long are pretty much guaranteed spots, though probably neither will be a starter week 1. Long could have a better chance with an opening, but McGlynn or Gettis could get the nod. The final roster spots will likely come down to Adam Gettis, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus and Maurice Hurt. LeRibeus has been pretty much out played by Gettis since they were drafted and that will likely continue this year. Compton has an extra year of team control and isn’t coming off an injury like Hurt. Though he hasn’t played it as much Compton can be an emergency option at guard as well.
Defensive Line: 7
Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers, Stephen Bowen
The Skins seem likely to rotate their defensive line this more and try to utilize different groups based on the situation and personnel opposing them. Hatcher, Cofield, Baker and Jenkins will probably see the majority of the snaps, but Golston, Geathers and even Stephen Bowen appear poised to make the team in reserve. Bowen is coming off a microfracture surgery and has a lot of money still tied to him, but the Redskins seem keen on keeping him. Hopefully they can find a way to reduce his salary these next two years if they keep him, but right now it’s tough to not see him on this team.
Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy, Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Robinson, Adam Hayward, Brandon Jenkins
The Redskins brought in three inside linebackers this year and while you could easily cut any of them, I think they all stay and join Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson in the ILB group. The Redskins need help on special teams desperately, and one of the best position groups for special teams is linebacker, so that is why the Redskins should keep all of these guys. On the outside 2nd round pick Trent Murphy is clearly the top back-up behind Orakpo and Kerrigan, but the skins should keep a 4th guy as well. It will come down to Jenkins versus Rob Jackson, but I see Jenkins winning given his upside and youth.
DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Bashuad Breeland, Chase Minnifield
With the drafting of Breeland in the 4th round the top 4 spots on the depth chart are set barring an injury. That leaves a very competitive battle for the 5th CB spot between Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, and veteran E.J. Biggers. Biggers is versatile and knows the coaching staff, Crawford showed a lot of potential as a return man two years ago, but I think Minnifield wins the spot. The key for him will be if he can show up on special teams this year. In camp and preseason last year he played pretty well by most accounts, but he couldn’t earn a job do to his lack of special teams play. Minnifield probably has the best upside of the group and if he can do anything on special teams the job could be his. Crawford has shown some upside and definitely has special teams ability, but he’s coming back from a serious knee injury and it’s tough to count on him until we see if he can return for camp.
Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Phillip Thomas, Jose Gumbs
The Redskins could keep 5 safeties if they cut back at another position, but there just doesn’t seem to be anyone else worth keeping. The top three spots are pretty safe, but the 4th safety role will be an interesting competition. Trenton Robinson is probably the best special teamer, while Bacarri Rambo has the most potential. Gumbs gets the nod because he can do both special teams, and play a little safety. Robinson hasn’t shown he’s more than a special teamer and since there are some question marks atop the depth chart, ideally you want a safety who can play some in game situations. Rambo has this potential, but last year he was a liability for the most part when he’s on the field. What really seals the deal for Rambo is the fact that his special teams play was so horrendous last year. Not only was his performance poor, but he just didn’t seem to care that it was bad. If he doesn’t make major strides this offseason the Redskins will cut him.
kicker- Kai Forbath, long snapper- Kyle Nelson, punter- Robert Malone
Though the Redskins drafted a kicker in the 7th round, I can’t see the justification of keeping him on as a kickoff specialist. That means Hocker has to beat Forbath out for the kicking job and that just isn’t going to be easy. If the punters in camp are smart they are working on kickoffs this offseason, because if either shows an ability to kick deep it could guarantee him a job. Right now the Redskins have really little at the punting position and this could end up being a case where they see a veteran get cut from another team and scoop in to pick him up. Though Nick Sundberg is considered the frontrunner for the LS job, he’s now missed the majority of the last two seasons due to injury and he’s got a contract that pays him above league minimum. That isn’t a good combination for a long snapper and last year’s replacement Kyle Nelson could beat him out.