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Redskins 53 man roster prediction after 2nd preseason game: Defense

Steve Shoup

Redskins 53 Man Offensive Roster Prediction | Defensive Roster Prediction | Practice Squad Prediction

Defensive line: 6 – Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

-The Redskins have an exciting starting defensive line, with a good group of back-ups as well. With Stacy McGee likely on the PUP list there isn’t much of a roster battle in camp. Hood is the only guy who is even remotely unsafe, and honestly he probably would have made the team as a 7th DL if McGee was fully healthy. It’s possible the Redskins could try to break camp with a 7th DL until McGee is healthy, but if so it’s likely they are coming from outside of the organization. There just isn’t anyone else in camp who has impressed enough to warrant a 7th roster spot, or to challenge Hood for the 6th roster spot.

Overall this is a really good, versatile group that has a lot of upside to be one of the stronger units in the league. When McGee does come back he will add another strong run defender to the group and further let the Redskins match-up appropriately versus other team’s strengths.

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Outside Linebacker: 4- Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Anderson

-No surprise here as this depth chart is pretty well set. Kerrigan and Smith are locked into starting roles. McPhee is set to be a situational rusher, who gets a fair amount of reps when the Redskins use three EDGE players or if either starter needs a play off. Anderson still hasn’t done much to show that he’s worth the 2nd round pick the Redskins invested in him, but the coaches have given him some praise this camp. His role will likely be limited this season, but it would be nice if he can show a little bit more as a pass rusher so when he’s in there, it’s not such a liability.

Inside Linebacker: 5- Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Zach Vigil

-At the start of the camp the three depth roles seemed a bit more wide open, but now it looks like Harvey-Clemons and Hamilton are pretty safe bets to make the team. That leaves just the one open spot for Vigil, Martrell Spaight and Pete Robertson to battle it out for. All three players are making a strong case for the role and right now it could go to any of them. Spaight has the most experience, Vigil is probably the most well rounded, and Robertson is the most versatile as he can back-up OLB roles as well. Unless Robertson really wins the job outright by a clear margin, I think he’s more likely to be signed to the practice squad given his eligibility there. Between Vigil and Spaight it could go either way, but I think Vigil is just a bit more well rounded vs the run and pass. He’s also probably got the edge on Special teams which helps as well.

Cornerback: 6 – Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman, Adonis Alexander

-No changes here as the young corners passed a key test last week versus Jets’ quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater. Dunbar and Moreau both look ready for their new roles, and offer plenty of upside to the starting unit to go along with Norman who is still one of the best in the league. Danny Johnson has held his own so far and has had two really strong preseason games. It’s a bit of a risk trusting the 4th corner role to an undrafted rookie, but Johnson has so far earned the role. Stroman also appears very safe and he continues to impress coaches. Alexander appears safe given that the Redskins gave up a 2019 6th round pick to select him, but he hasn’t played in the preseason yet. He’s been dealing with an injury and it’s possible the Redskins are trying to limit his exposure to pass him through waivers and sign him to the practice squad. Or perhaps the injury is serious enough they can justify keeping him on IR this season. Among current guys in camp he’s still likely to make it, but if the team sees someone on the waiver wire they like, or a veteran to add some experience they could look to try to stash Alexander.

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Safety: 4 – D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, DeShazor Everett, Troy Apke

-Back to only keeping four safeties as I think the extra roster spot is needed elsewhere. There really isn’t that much suspense with this position group, though depth guys like Fish Smithson and Kenny Ladler have been impressive in camp. The Redskins position group is just pretty well set in stone and barring an injury it’s not going to change. One promising thing is that Apke has been impressive so far as a rookie. He came in to camp a bit raw as he was still learning the nuances of the position. So far though Apke has looked good with the 2nd team defense and has made a couple of really nice plays. His athleticism is special and in a couple years if he develops he could be a very good starter. Until then he can be a solid back-up and a special teams ace.

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

-Least surprising “position battle” as none of these three have any challengers in camp for their jobs. All are locked in to make the team and are a pretty decent special teams trio. I do wonder if the Redskins will look to sign a K/P to handle the duties for the 4th preseason game. Not sure if the Redskins want to risk an injury to either Way or Hopkins in that game.

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