Odds for Each Washington Redskins' Undrafted Free Agent to Make the Final Roster
The Washington Redskins left this year's draft with a franchise quarterback and a solid group of young talent to work into the grand Shanahan plan. The next step is wading through the score of players who went undrafted in order to fill roster space and getting as many bodies in camp as possible.
Most undrafted free agents are added for depth with only a passing chance at regular action, but there is always the potential to be a part of a rotation.
London Fletcher knows all about the plight of undrafted free agents, having gone undrafted out of John Carroll University in 1998. He has turned himself into one of the best linebackers in the NFL today—maybe in history. Though the chance of that happening for any of this year's crop of players is slim, it gives them motivation to put forth their best effort.
Here are the odds each of the Redskins' undrafted free agents make the final 53-man roster for the 2012-2013 season.
Eain Smith, Safety, West Virginia
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The Redskins entered last season with high hopes for LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe at strong and free safety, respectively. The team signed Brandon Meriweather to occupy the strong safety spot ahead of Reed Doughty, but the short-term contract means he isn't an absolute lock to start.
Eain Smith had a solid career at West Virginia as a solid tackler, but he lacks ideal size and capacity for development.
Smith's best chance to make the final roster is a rash of injuries or abject failures ahead of him on the depth chart. He would have to beat out late-round pick Jordan Bernstine for a spot, which is unlikely.
He could make the team as a special teams player, but that is hardly a role the Redskins are desperate to fill.
Lance Lewis, Wide Receiver, East Carolina
Lance Lewis spent just two season at ECU after starting his career at the junior college level. He finished his career as a Pirate with 149 catches, 1,716 yards and 22 touchdowns, but missed the final four games of his senior season with a foot injury.
Though the Redskins added talent at wide receiver in free agency, Lewis could sneak his way onto the active roster with a strong camp performance.
It would help Lewis greatly if he showed a particular aptitude on special teams, but he recorded just 17 punt returns in his career, all during his shortened senior season. The number of bodies he'd have to work his way through doesn't bode well for his potential to make the final roster.
D.J. Holt, Linebacker, California
The Redskins are heading into training camp with solid depth at inside linebacker. They brought London Fletcher back, Perry Riley has made great strides since becoming the starter, Jonathan Goff was added in free agency, and they signed fourth-round pick Keenan Robinson.
With all of that said, it doesn't appear as though there is much room for D.J. Holt to make the final cut.
Holt was the second-leading tackler on the Golden Bears defense behind Mychal Kendricks, who was taken in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Holt was not much of a playmaker on defense, and made his living as an efficient tackler in the framework of a solid defense.
There is too much depth and talent all but guaranteed to be on the roster for Washington, giving Holt next to no chance to make the regular roster.
Grant Garner, Center, Oklahoma State
It seems the Redskins are always desperate for depth along the offensive line, but this season doesn't seem to be the case. Though they are lacking in what is perceived as elite offensive line talent outside of maybe Trent Williams and Chris Chester, they have a solid group of versatile linemen to work with.
Grant Garner is a smart player, which is important for linemen in Shanahan's offense, but he doesn't have tremendous strength or mobility to make the most of his football intelligence.
Will Montgomery is a solid center, but there is definitely room for improvement. That said, Erik Cook didn't excel in limited duty at center, which could open the door for Garner. The offensive line saw a lot of different looks last season, and the flux could leave an opening for Garner to beat Cook out.
Brian McNally, Outside Linebacker, New Hampshire
It is safe to say that the linebacker position, both inside and outside, is one the deepest on the Redskins roster. Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo are the unquestioned starters on the outside, but there is room for an extra body with Lorenzo Alexander taking snaps at tight end to go with his utility duties.
Brian McNally was a great pass-rusher at New Hampshire, but didn't face the sort of blockers the NFL boasts on the outside.
McNally could earn a spot as a reserve at outside linebacker, assuming he can't beat out Markus White for a higher spot on the depth chart. He works hard and doesn't take plays off, but that might not be enough to crack the final roster.
Josh Oglesby, Offensive Line, Wisconsin
There are a lot of bodies amassed along the offensive line heading into training camp, but not a lot of outstanding talent. The Redskins drafted Tom Compton and Adam Gettis and could easily see a lot of change at some key positions along the line.
Josh Oglesby is a big, physical tackle, but isn't particularly mobile and he didn't really stand out on Wisconsin's solid offensive line.
Linemen in Shanahan's offense have to be mobile, and Oglesby is not that kind of player. He doesn't have great range, and would struggle against the elite defensive ends just the NFC East has to offer.
There is nothing about him that points to a legitimate shot at making the final 53-man roster.
Darius Hanks, Wide Receiver, Alabama
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With Santana Moss looking to recapture his former luster as a slot receiver, the Redskins aren't really desperate for a replacement. Terrence Austin is likely the next guy in line to assume that position should Moss miss any time.
Darius Hanks didn't have an outstanding career at Alabama and would be hard pressed to make himself more appealing than his average statistics make him look.
To be fair, Alabama wasn't a big passing team, and when they did pass, they spread the ball around. Hanks didn't have a lot of opportunities to break out, but he did enough to warrant a look from the Redskins. He may end up being a practice squad addition because of his experience with Alabama's pro-style offense, but he's not likely to make the active roster.
Kerby Long, Wide Receiver, James Madison
Like Hanks, Kerby Long didn't have an impressive college career, but Long makes up for his lack of production with sheer speed and playmaking ability. Long is another slight receiver bound for the slot position, but his 4.3 40 at JMU's Pro Day opens up the possibility of return duties in preseason.
Long's special teams potential is bolstered by the great speed he possesses to go with superior size when compared to incumbent return man Brandon Banks.
He was allowed to rely on his speed more than route running and didn't have to battle physical defenders in college. He is coming off a torn labrum suffered during last season, which he will have to show he is fully recovered from.
He could easily replace Banks in the return game. Since he is better at using his vision to set up lanes, he can blow through as opposed to just running fast and hoping the edge is clear.
Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
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The Redskins secondary was efficient, if unimpressive, last season, due in part to DeAngelo Hall's attempt to take fewer chances and Josh Wilson's adjustment to the Jim Haslett 3-4. After Wilson and Hall, there are plenty of players, but none of them particularly impressive.
Chase Minnifield showed good instincts and play recognition at Virginia, which allowed him to be a physical corner in spite of his slight frame.
Minnifield had arthroscopic knee surgery in January and opted to perform at his pro day at less than 100 percent. The Redskins kept his workouts light during rookie minicamp, which shows some level of confidence in his potential.
Outside of the Hall and Wilson, there is very little certainty regarding the depth chart, which gives Minnifield ample room to work his way into not only a roster spot, but a regular role on defense.
Lennon Creer, Running Back, Louisiana Tech
Washington's backfield is already crowded with Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Tim Hightower and Alfred Morris. There is next to no room for an extra body in the mix, even with Mike Shanahan's affinity for running backs.
Lennon Creer had a solid career between Tennessee and Louisiana Tech, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 24 touchdowns.
Though he didn't get a full workload until his junior season, Creer rushed for 2,019 yards in his final two seasons. Talent isn't the issue for Creer, but the task of cracking the top three running backs is a tall one. Shanahan isn't likely to keep four running backs on the active roster, and the practice squad may not have room for two running backs given the need for depth elsewhere.