Over 40 players are already set in stone to make the Washington Redskins 53 man roster and most of the other spots have clear favorites, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few potential surprises when final cuts are made. This list isn’t focused on guys who generally get talked about a lot or have some serious name recognition. So you won’t see Cam Sims or Brian Quick on here or any of of the potential running backs fighting for a roster spot. Here are a few players who generally don’t get talked about as much, but still have an outside chance of making the Redskins final 53 man roster.
-Texada was a 3 year starter at TCU and would have been a 4 year starter had he not lost his sophomore year to injury. He really excelled as a Junior and Senior with as a 2nd Team All-Big 12 honor his junior year and a 1st Team All-Big 12 honor as a senior. He was even a 4th team All-American by Phil Steele as a senior. The small 5’8″+ corner, plays a lot bigger than his size and had no issues in college with tackling or blitzing (which he was very adept at). His coverage skills were very good in college, but he struggled to get much traction pre-draft. The Redskins signed him as a UDFA and he looked like a long shot. He was noted by head coach Jay Gruden as a young corner that the Redskins were pleased with his development, which allowed the team to release veteran Orlando Scandrick.
How he could make the team: While Texada is generally considered unlikely to make the team because he’s behind fellow rookie corners Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander, that is hardly a guarantee. Johnson like Texada was a UDFA, while Stroman was a 7th rounder and Alexander a supplemental 6th rounder. None of those three are 100% locked in. Johnson is probably the safest of the bunch because at this time he has outplayed Stroman, Alexander and Texada. That likely leaves a three man fight for two roster spots. Texada has been solid this preseason and if in the final game he clearly outplays one of Stroman or Alexander, the Redskins may look to keep him over one of the drafted players.
-Dunn was a two year All-American FCS center at Jacksonville State before transferring to Auburn as a grad transfer his senior year. Dunn didn’t start the season as a starter, but ended up with 9 starts on the year and showed that he could hold up in the SEC. He didn’t have much draft buzz, but the Redskins signed him after a workout as another interior offensive lineman option.
How he could make the team: Though an absolute long shot to make the team when camp started, Dunn has held up nicely this year and definitely has put himself at least in the position of getting a practice squad spot. A 53 man roster spot isn’t out of the question as Dunn has been one of the more consistent offensive linemen in the preseason so far. The biggest problem for Dunn is the numbers game. Of the likely 9 roster spots devoted to the offensive line, 7 (5 starters and Nsekhe & Christian) are already locked. An 8th spot is likely to go to veteran interior player Tony Bergstrom who was forced to start a couple games last season for the Redskins. Now Bergstrom hasn’t been great this preseason so his spot isn’t 100% locked, but it would still be pretty surprising if he’s not on the 53 man roster. That leaves just one final spot for Dunn to compete with guys like Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, T.J. Clemmings and others. Those are tough odds, but Dunn has shown well so far and with a really good 4th preseason game he could earn the final spot.
-Holtz was a four year starter at Pittsburgh in college as a solid tight end who could contribute both as a receiver and a blocker. He didn’t put up huge numbers in college, but was productive in that offense and definitely contributed as a blocker. The Browns signed him as an undrafted free agent and he spent 2016 and 2017 in camp with them and a little time each year on their practice squad. He wasn’t even with the Redskins at the start of camp this year as he didn’t join the team until Manssah Garner got injured in the first preseason game.
How he could make the team: Adrian Peterson has had a major impact on the potential running back depth chart, but he could also help a 4th tight end (or a full back from another team) make the roster to handle fullback duties on the Redskins. Last year the Redskins deployed Niles Paul in a hybrid TE/FB/H-Back role, but this year there wasn’t likely anyone going to make the roster who could handle that type of role. The Redskins clearly weren’t planning on the fullback to be any sort of major staple of their offense, but that might have changed with the addition of Peterson. Peterson has always run better out of two back sets with a lead fullback, and that could force the team to consider adding a player to fill that role. Holtz handled fullback duties in the 3rd preseason game with Peterson and the Redskins had some success on those runs. It’s something they at least need to consider and could end up with Holtz finally making a 53 man roster.
-Pipkins was a top recruit at Michigan, but was never able to crack the line-up for three seasons, totally just 23 tackles in limited work. He transferred to Texas Tech for his final season in college and led the interior defensive linemen with 32 tackles and 4 tackles for a loss. He finally got the chance as Texas Tech and he showed well as a power run stopper. He’s versatile enough to play both the 5 technique and the nose tackle role, but he’s limited as he doesn’t generate much of a pass rush. Pipkins made the Redskins practice squad a year ago after signing as a college free agent.
How he could make the team: The Redskins will definitely keep at least 6 defensive linemen, and five of those spots seem pretty well set with Allen, Payne, Ioannidis, Settle and Lanier locked in. The 6th spot likely will go to veteran Ziggy Hood, who can play both inside and outside and would offer some nice experience considering how little the top 5 guys have. If the Redskins don’t keep Hood, Pipkins and Phil Taylor would the the likely options on the 53 man roster. The Redskins could also consider keeping a 7th defensive lineman to start the year, especially considering Ioannidis is just returning from an injury and might not be 100%. Pipkins could definitely be kept in a situation like that, and this is probably is best chance for making it.
-Though even bigger long shots there are a few other players who could be considered for this group. Offensive lineman Isaiah Williams was on the Redskins practice squad in 2016 and was on the Chiefs and Colts practice squads a year ago (also played a couple of weeks on the 53 man with Indy). He’s got both tackle and guard versatility and has been solid at times in the preseason. He should have an outside shot at that 9th OL role. Tight end Matt Flanagan could see himself making it in a similar role as Holtz above, if he can show versatility to man the fullback role as well. Flanagan is known for his blocking and is a solid in line TE with good size. OLB’s Casanova McKinzey or Dadi Nichols could be viewed as a 5th outside linebacker with some pass rush potential, though both are pretty low in that regard. It’s more likely that if the Redskins were to keep a 5th OLB for extra pass rush ability, they would look outside the organization.