The Washington Redskins are scheduled to post their first official depth chart tonight and there are some interesting names at the top of each position. The depth chart was released to the media earlier this afternoon and should be available on-line this evening, according to the Redskins official twitter feed. Here are the position breakdowns with notable backups displayed in italics & underlined.
QB: Robert Griffin III
WR (1, 2): Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon
TE: Fred Davis
FB: Darrel Young
RB: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Roy Helu
LT: Trent Williams
LG: Kory Lichtensteiger
C: Will Montgomery
RG: Chris Chester
RT: Jammal Brown
DE: Adam Carriker, Steven Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston
NT: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
ILB: London Fletcher, Perry Riley
OLB: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan
CB: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson
S: Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams
K: Graham Gano, Neil Rackers
KR: Brandon Banks
PR: Brandon Banks
P: Sav Rocca
LS: Nick Sundberg
For the most part this depth chart is exactly how it was expected it look, especially before any preseason games; RG3 at quarterback, London Fletcher at middle linebacker etc.
There are however, a few positions that stand out and raise some questions.
Runningback is the first position that will catch many eyes because Tim Hightower is not at the top. Hightower is coming back from a major injury and Roy Helu displayed feature back capability in 2011. Add in Mike Shanahan's sixth-round draft choice Alfred Morris and it is understandable why some would be confused.
While I personally believe Helu belongs at the top of the depth chart, I would not get too worked up over which name appears first. Both Helu and Hightower will see plenty of carries during the regular season as Shanahan loves to rotate his backs. The biggest factor that will determine which runningback opens the year as the starter will not be ability or history, but health.
The wide receiving corps has been flooded with talent this offseason with Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan being added in free agency and Leonard Hankerson returning from injury. Most expected Pierre Garcon to earn one of the two starting jobs, but Hankerson was believed by many to push for the No. 2 spot.
Once again I will caution fans to not read too much into this first depth chart as it will not reflect the opening day starters at some positions. Furthermore, even if Moss is displayed atop the depth chart, that does not mean he will always play the No. 1 or 2 role. Most likely, we will see Moss move into the slot on three and four wide receiver packages with Morgan or Hankerson on the outside.
Defensive end is the biggest shock to me with Jarvis Jenkins not listed as a starter. Jenkins was absolutely dominant in preseason last year, and was competing for a starting job before a suffering season-ending injury. Jenkins was medically cleared back in April, and was thought to be pushing for a starting job again.
The most likely scenario is that Jenkins is healthy and will rotate with Carriker and Bowen, but this could be an indication of something bigger. Jenkins was thought by many to have the inside track at DE, and this first depth chart could signal hesitation from the coaching staff about his injury. If Jenkins is not fully healed, I would expect to see minimal rotations in the preseason until there is no question about his health.