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Washington Redskins final 53 man roster prediction: Defense

Steve Shoup

Redskins Final 53 man offensive roster prediction | Redskins Final 53 man defensive roster prediction

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

-This group looks set to start the season, as Allen Payne and Ioannidis are your starters with Settle, Lanier and Hood for depth. Stacey McGee should start the year on PUP and come back mid-year for extra depth. With Ioannidis on track to play week one, there is little need to keep a 7th defensive lineman as well. The Redskins have a good balance here as the three starters are versatile enough to play in different roles in both odd and even fronts, and can contribute both vs the run and pass. Among the back-ups Settle is a primary run stuffer who had a really strong preseason. Lainer has shown nice pass rush skills the past couple of years and can help on pass rushing downs. Hood is versatile enough to fill any role, and while he’s not a quality starter, he offers good veteran depth.

Outside Linebackers: 4 – Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Anderson

-No surprises or added options here, but I do think there is a bit of a concern at this position group. Kerrigan and Smith are clearly great options to start, but are the Redskins confident with their depth for this key position? The last couple of years they’ve gotten good production out of their 3rd pass rusher and it’s really helped make them a better team. McPhee has the track record of being a solid 3rd option, but he didn’t impress much this camp/preseason. If he’s fallen off some, that could be a major blow to the most important position group on defense. Ryan Anderson has yet to show anything in the way of a pass rush, so if McPhee struggles the Redskins could be very thin here. They could look at the waiver wire to see if there are any natural pass rushers they could add for depth.

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

-While this looked like a bigger camp battle to start the year, I think Harvey-Clemons and Hamilton locked up roles with their upside and future potential. Pete Robertson was kind of in the mix, but I don’t think he did enough to really warrant a 53 man spot. In the end I think it comes down to Vigil and Martrell Spaight. Spaight has made this a really tough battle, but I think Vigil just offers more upside and he was more productive last year when he played due to injury. Given the injury concerns from last year, having a better experienced option makes some sense. I do see this decision going right down to the wire though as it’s a tough case between the two.

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

-I think the starting three are pretty set, and after the release of veteran Orlando Scandrick it basically left four late round/undrafted rookies battling for three spots. Adonis Alexander has the most draft capital invested in him with his sixth round supplemental selection. I don’t think he stays because of that, but what he offers as a bigger more physical corner. He’s a raw prospect, but has made some nice plays the last two weeks of the preseason. Greg Stroman was a 7th round pick this year, he has been up-and-down in the preseason, but has held his own and is viewed as a potential return man option. Danny Johnson was an undrafted free agent, but so far has outplayed the rest of the group. He would arguably be the fourth corner on the team to start the year. Ranthony Texada was quiet to start camp, but impressive the last couple weeks of the preseason. He’s the smallest of the bunch, which sets him back some, but he does play bigger than his size which helps.

I think you can make a case to keep any three of the group above, I think the most likely outcome is keeping Johnson, Alexander and Stroman on the 53 man roster and Texada on the practice squad. Johnson has probably earned the nod as the 4th best corner to start the year, and would be the most likely to get claimed on waivers. Alexander has enough upside and size that he could be claimed as well. Also having the size helps from a depth standpoint as well. Both Stroman and Texada are in a similar boat as they both could probably pass through waivers. It’s possible the Redskins look to add a veteran and keep both of them on the practice squad, but assuming they keep one I would go with Stroman. I think he’s got the slight edge and has more special teams utility.

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Safeties: 4 – D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

-The Redskins could have considered keeping a 5th safety, and both Fish Smithson and Kenny Ladler showed enough to warrant consideration. Unfortunately I just don’t think the Redskins have the extra spot to use for a fifth guy here. Swearinger and Nicholson are the starters with Everett as a solid back-up/core special teamer locked to make the team. Apke has been inconsistent in the preseason, but the Redskins knew that going in, that he would be a work in progress. He has flashed at times and his speed and athleticism are very impressive. For a fourth safety who probably won’t see the field much, the Redskins can let him develop.

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

-Never any doubt that the three specialists would make it. Not only did the Redskins not have anyone else in camp, but all three have been given long term deals. Hopkins has been the most inconsistent of the 3, but the team seems to still believe in him. He’s got a strong leg, but his accuracy the last two years has been disappointing.

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