Redskins Post Draft 53 man roster prediction

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

Quarterback: (3) Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

-This group should all be back, with Griffin taking back over the starting role. Though Griffin is penciled in as the starter, both Cousins and McCoy are there for insurance in case his struggles continue or another serious injury occurs. Given those concerns it’s pretty much a lock that the Redskins will keep 3 quarterbacks on the roster again. While other teams can save a roster spot by keeping just 2 QB’s, they have a more stable starting QB situation and don’t have the same injury concerns.

Running back: (3) Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Silas Redd

-The first two backs are a lock with Morris as the starter and Matt Jones as the back-up/short yardage/3rd down back, if everything goes to plan. Even if Jones has some early struggles and can’t assume the full role they hope for him, he’s a lock for the 53 man roster. Then the decision becomes do the Redskins keep just 3 backs or add a 4th. I favor them keeping four, which allows them to keep both Redd and Chris Thompson, but I’m not sure they will do that. It would likely mean keeping only 5 WRs, which probably won’t happen. If they only keep 3 backs I think Redd edges out Thompson. Redd is a more complete back, doesn’t have the extensive injury history Thompson has and has more utility on special teams. With the addition of Jamison Crowder to the receiver group, Thompson’s potential in the return game is diminished as well.

Fullback: (1) Darrel Young

– This is a lock that Young will be on the roster given his special teams ability alone. Throw in the fact that he’s one of the better fullbacks in the league and he brings a lot of value to a roster. Now the question becomes will the Redskins offense utilize him more than they did a season ago. If they are going to more of a power rushing attack having him as a lead blocker more often makes sense.

Tight End: (3) Niles Paul, Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen

-The Redskins should keep three tight ends again and with the top three back and no serious competition it looks like the same group is returning. Jordan Reed may be listed as the “number 1″ tight end, but I’m guessing Niles Paul ends up with the most snaps this season. Paul showed last year that while Reed was out he could be an effective receiving option and do most of what Reed could do as a pass catcher. Though Paul isn’t a great blocker by any stretch, he’s better than Reed, which should give him more playing time. If Reed can be fully healthy this season he could maybe reach his full potential as a Joker tight end. He is a versatile weapon in the passing game and still remains the only Redskins target (not counting Paulsen) who is over 6’1”, so he could be a goto target in the red zone (though last year he was ineffective). Paulsen is probably the tight end who is most likely to get beat out, as he is coming off a pretty poor year. He’s a good special teamer, but his blocking (which is supposed to be his strong suit) was wildly inconsistent and at times a major liability. Paulsen also has been committing too many penalties and is ineffective as a receiver.

Wide Receiver: (6) DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer, Ryan Grant

-I don’t see any real surprises here. The Redskins opted to keep Pierre Garcon despite his big salary this offseason so he and Jackson are locked in as a the starters and should get the majority of the work. While Andre Roberts role is likely diminished some this year, he will still likely be the 3rd receiver and maybe work as a kick-off returner. His contract makes it prohibitive to cut him this year (though next year that is definitely an option). Rookie Jamison Crowder will likely be first in line for punt return duties and possibly kick return as well. Look for him to get some work in the slot throughout the season, though he probably won’t unseat Roberts as the primary 3rd receiver. Assuming the Redskins keep 6 WRs both Spencer and Grant should make the team. Spencer though might get the nod if they only keep 5, and is more likely to be active on game days even with keeping 6. Grant was impressive in camp last year, but he doesn’t figure to contribute on special teams like Spencer will. Spencer is also known to be a very capable blocker so they may look to give him some extra snaps to improve their WR blocking as well.

Offensive Line: (9) Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Tom Compton

-This is where it gets interesting. Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff are not only locked into roster spots, but their starting roles as well. After that it becomes anyone’s guess as who makes it and in what role. Rookie 4th rounder Arie Kouandjio should definitely make the roster, but he may be a starting guard, the primary back-up or inactive on game days all depending on how camp goes. Shawn Lauvao struggled last year after signing as a free agent, but given that it is prohibitive to cut him right now he should be back for another year. He probably will get a starting role, but I wouldn’t say it’s a certainty. Kory Lichtensteiger was probably the Redskins 2nd best offensive lineman last year (which is not really a compliment), and he’s very versatile capable of playing all 3 interior positions. Normally he’d be likely to be back even if he’s not starting given his versatility, but he’s an undersized player and the Redskins appear to be moving to more of a power running scheme. Right now I think he’s back, but it will be an interesting battle. Veteran Chris Chester seemed likely to be on the chopping block given his relative high salary and poor play, but so far it looks like the Redskins plan on him being back. There is even some thought that he might move to center since he has better size than Lichtensteiger. Morgan Moses and Spencer Long are likely back as former 3rd round picks in just their 2nd year. There is a chance that one might get cut, but there really aren’t any great options to replace them. Both players might get a shot at one of the starting guard spots. Finally Tom Compton figures to back for one more year as a back-up swing tackle. He hasn’t been that good when he’s played, but he’s still young and cheap with a little experience.

Defensive Line: (6) Jason Hatcher, Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Frank Kearse

-The Redskins will keep either 6 or 7 defensive linemen depending on the health of the DL to start the season and how the rest of the roster shakes up. If one of the top guys is banged up to start the year the Redskins will opt for 7, but otherwise it really does make sense to keep on 6 guys given the talent of this group. Hatcher and Paea should be good full-time starters (i.e. playing 70-80% of the snaps), while Knighton figures to be the early down and short yardage run stopper. Baker and Jean Francois give them two capable rotational options, who can play the 5 tech, 3 tech or even the 0 tech roles if need be. All 5 of the top guys are locks for this roster, which leaves the 6th spot between Frank Kearse and Kedric Golston. Golston is the veteran who is considered a solid back-up, good special teamer and a leader, but Kearse probably has the advantage here. Kearse is younger and offers more upside in rushing the passer.

Linebacker: (9) Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy, Trevado Williams, Adam Hayward, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight

-Kerrigan, Smith, and Robinson are locked in to the roster and starting roles (Smith may split time, but should have the majority of snaps). Riley is likely to be back as a starter as well and Trent Murphy figures to be the primary back-up/3rd pass rusher locking him into a spot. So five spots are basically set, leaving 3 or 4 spots remaining. Most teams typically opt for the standard of 4 OLB’s and 4 ILB’s in 3-4 defenses, but the Redskins may add a 9th LB spot, or a different construction of their LB’s. Martell Spaight was drafted in the 5th round and while that doesn’t guarantee him a spot, most 5th rounders make the roster as rookies, so they are definitely counting on him to make the roster and he will either need to have a really bad camp or be completely outplayed to lose that spot. The issue is it already looked like the Redskins had two capable back-up ILB’s in Adam Hayward (who is a core special teamer) and Will Compton, who filled in nicely last year. Unless the Redskins keep only 3 OLBs they could be looking at 9 total linebackers. For the final OLB spot it will probably be between Trevado Williams and Jackson Jeffcoat with either having a shot to win the role.

Cornerback: (5) Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter

-The Redskins have an interesting decision here in whether they keep 5 or 6 cornerbacks. If they keep 6 rookie Tevin Mitchel likely gets the last spot. Keeping 6 though would mean either 8 linebackers of 4 safeties though so it would force a roster decision at another spot. Here I have them keeping 5 corners, and going with the most likely names. Culliver and Breeland are locked into the starting roles, while Hall and Amerson figure to have roster spots pretty well in hand also. Hall is coming off a serious injury so perhaps he starts the year on the PUP list, but if he’s healthy he’s making this roster. Amerson is coming off a horrible year, and now has really struggled in his first two seasons and hasn’t shown any signs of reaching the value of his 2nd round draft status. Though Amerson has shown flashes of big play ability, he’s also consistently shown that the majority of big plays he’s involved in are going for the other team. The emergence of Breeland and the signing of Culliver knocks him out of the starting line-up, but that also leaves his role well in doubt. As a rookie Amerson didn’t start but came in as the 3rd corner with Josh Wilson moving to the slot and Hall shadowing the primary receiver. Neither Breeland or Culliver really has any experience in the slot and they don’t figure to spend much time there unless they are shadowing a top receiver who moves inside. Amerson has never had the skill set to play inside, leaving him with little opportunity to see the field on defense. Given the lack of slot options, Tracy Porter has a good shot of making this roster despite his injury issues. Hall could play the slot, but he’s not been as effective there and it’s possible he’s lost a step coming back from this injury.

Safety: (5) Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson, Trenton Robinson, Phillip Thomas, Kyshoen Jarrett

-The Redskins are likely to decide between 4 or 5 safeties for the roster, and given the lack of proven starters it makes sense they could opt for strength in numbers. Dashon Goldson and Jeron Johnson figure to be the likely starters and are as close to locks for this group as you will get. After that it becomes interesting as you have five guys for three spots, in Duke Ihenacho, Akeem Davis, Trenton Robinson, Phillip Thomas and Kyshoen Jarrett. None of those guys are guaranteed anything so it is likely the best 3 get the job. Ihenacho has starting experience and good special teams credentials, but he could be the odd man out here. Akeem Davis has the size and speed you want from the safety position, and ideally is a core special teamer, but his instincts are lacking. Also last year he made some crucial mistakes on special teams that cost the Redskins and negated his positive plays. Phillip Thomas is a former 4th round pick, but he’s been pretty disappointing since the Redskins drafted him in 2013. He does have some potential, and possibly could fill both the free and strong safety roles (though doubful he can be a free safety), which could give him an advantage. Trenton Robinson isn’t a big name, but he’s a quality special teamer and does have some ability to fill in as a back-up free safety. Jarrett is a rookie 6th rounder who is good in the box and on special teams. He won’t be locked into a spot, but he’s the one guy from this group that the new staff brought in so you have to figure they see something in him. This roster battle could shake out in a lot of different ways, but Robinson, Thomas and Jarrett might have the early advantage.

Specialists: (3) P Tress Way, K Kai Forbath, LS Nick Sundberg

-I don’t see any changes to this group, as Tress Way was a pleasant surprise at punter and Forbath overall remains a good solid kicker. Sundberg has gotten better with his snaps, but he does commit more penalties than you’d like to see. Despite that he seems pretty safe. Forbath is the one on the “hot seat” the most as the Redskins did add a UDFA kicker, but really that is unlikely to threaten him. Forbath made 88.9% of his field goals last year which was tied for 8th in the league. Given the fact that he kicks from Fedex field which opposing kickers typically say is one of the worst in the league, Forbath’s consistency is impressive.

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