Washington Redskins: Grading the Entire 53-Man Roster
While some won’t agree with the Shanahanigans, the front office and coaching staff appear to have gotten it right.
The following is a breakdown at each position and current grades for each player as we head into the regular season.
Robert Griffin III (B+)
A new era has begun in Washington and fans shouldn't act shy. RG3 is arguably the most electrifying athlete to ever put on an area sports uniform and he appears prepared to put the city on his back.
Rex Grossman (C-)
It pains me to see him on the roster, but not wanting to enter the season with two rookie quarterbacks is completely understandable. As long as Grossman doesn't hit the field, fans should be able to sleep at night.
Kirk Cousins (C)
After looking like he did in the preseason, Cousins gives fans and coaches something to look forward to. Expected to be the team's No. 2 next season, Cousins' improved play over the years could intrigue other teams around the league.
Running Backs: B-
Evan Royster (B-)
Most expected an increased role for Royster in his second season and his name atop the depth chart would indicate as much. But that isn't written in stone. Royster has the vision to succeed in Shanahan's scheme, but the team will likely stick with whichever runner is hot at the time.
Roy Helu Jr. (B-)
After nursing sore Achilles tendons this summer, Helu looked good in the Redskins' final preseason game. He showed burst through the hole and I'm still a believer when it comes to Helu in pass-pro. We could see a lot of him on third down.
Alfred Morris (C+)
As one of the more exciting stories of the Redskins' preseason, rookie Alfred Morris made the most of his opportunity and deserved every bit of his reward. With Royster and Helu not necessarily in the best of shape, don't be surprised if Morris is the primary ball-carrier come midseason.
Wide Receivers: B+
Pierre Garcon (A)
Because of his free-agent contract this summer, Garcon was a lock to make the roster. But his connection with RG3 was the most exciting part of his preseason. Garcon will be the Redskins' speedy playmaker this season.
Josh Morgan (B)
After a slow start to the preseason, Morgan worked to get better and has shown up in the preseason with good routes and a few nice catches. He's currently listed ahead of Leonard Hankerson on the depth chart, and rightfully so.
Santana Moss (B+)
Seeing Moss in the slot this season will look different in comparison to seasons past, but we could see production from the Santana of old. He has entered camp in great shape, his veteran presence is an asset on the field and he probably has the most sure hands of any pass-catcher on the team.
Leonard Hankerson (C+)
Despite returning from hip surgery, I think it's safe to say that everyone expected a little more out of Hankerson this preseason. Entering his second professional season, Hank is still working on some kinks in his game. He hasn't necessarily been bad. But he hasn't popped either.
Aldrick Robinson (C)
After spending last season on the practice squad, the coaching staff had a good idea of what they needed to see from Robinson during the preseason in order to give him a spot. Robinson demonstrated his speed, showed off some sticky hands and proved that he could serve as a returner if needed.
Dezmon Briscoe (B-)
At the time, fans probably didn't know much about Briscoe when the Redskins claimed him off waivers. And if they did, it was probably in a negative light. But with his former head coach Raheem Morris now a part of the Redskins staff, Briscoe and his rocky past were given another chance. He's a huge target and he has potential to be a TD-machine.
Brandon Banks (B)
It's hard to say if Banks was ever on the roster bubble, as Shanahan led you to believe one side and then the other. The good news is that he's on the roster, now. Banks has game-breaking ability that could wind up being the difference between a win and a loss in two games every year. Look for Kyle Shanahan to incorporate him in the offense too.
Tight Ends: B+
Fred Davis (A)
As long as he stays away from the reefer, Davis has the potential to be a top tight end in the league. He returns as one of the Redskins' only playmakers from last year and I'd look for he and RG3 to get familiar with one another early on.
Niles Paul (B-)
One of the more interesting and entertaining story lines this year will be the development and progress of Niles Paul at his new position. His catching skills are already there, but keep an eye on Paul as a blocker this season.
Logan Paulsen (C)
While his blocking remains a work in progress, Paulsen is a decent tight end option. He's large on the line, yet still has the ability to get off and receive the short pass.
Offensive Tackles: C+
Trent Williams (A)
With the way coaches have been talking about him in practice—in addition to how he has looked during preseason games—Williams looks to be on pace for a breakout year. And it couldn't come at a better time.
Tyler Polumbus (C)
I can't say that Polumbus starting on the right side is comfortable, but fans can hope for improvement. At this point, with Jammal Brown on the PUP list, Polumbus is the only option. It should be noted, however, that Polumbus is a worker and his tenacity is appreciated.
Jordan Black (C)
A little surprising to see Black receive the nod at swing tackle, but the coaches seemed to like him from the beginning. He was nearly out of football altogether before the Redskins came calling and told him he was atop their list. Funny how quickly things change.
Maurice Hurt (C-)
He went through the bumps and bruises as a rookie last season and Maurice Hurt is still working to improve his game. So long as he's working hard and demonstrating versatility, the Shanahans have a spot for him.
Interior Offensive Lines: C
Will Montgomery (C+)
Returning as the team's starting center, I still feel that Monty is a backup in the NFL. That said, I won't doubt him before the season starts. He's experienced at the position and familiar with the scheme at this point.
Chris Chester (B-)
After an unimpressive season last year when it comes to run-blocking, I'm hoping Chester's experience and full offseason will payoff for the Redskins.
Kory Lichtensteiger (A)
We saw how important Lichtensteiger was to the Redskins' success last year after losing him for the season. Assuming he's healthy, there's no worries along the left side of the offensive line.
Josh LeRibeus (D)
The rookie will backup Lichtensteiger on the left side, but we shouldn't be excited to see him play right away. For one, 'Steiger is a cog for the team. Two, LeRibeus simply isn't ready yet.
Adam Gettis (D)
Despite being undersized and outmatched, I wasn't as disappointed with Gettis as others. Although he's not ready to play right now, Gettis has potential in the scheme with his athleticism and speed.
Defensive Ends: A
Stephen Bowen (A)
Reliable, tough, and hardworking. Stephen Bowen is the real deal.
Adam Carriker (B+)
He may not be flashy, but Carriker is a crucial piece in the Redskins' defense. He's powerful, intelligent and providing of veteran leadership.
Jarvis Jenkins (B)
His rookie season was cut short last year when he tore his ACL, but Jenkins is on his way to recovering his explosiveness and I think coaches are excited to get him on the field. I'd look to see him in rotation with Carriker.
Kedric Golston (B-)
As a backup, you want your player to be reliable and understanding of his job. Entering his seventh season this year, Golston is just that.
Nose Tackles: A-
Barry Cofield (A)
As one of the most important positions in a 3-4 scheme, the Redskins have been very happy with Cofield and his transition from defensive tackle to nose tackle. After a solid year of work last season, I expect to see improvements in Cofield's development as a plug in the middle.
Chris Baker (B-)
Even with someone as good as Cofield ahead of him, we'll see some Chris Baker this season. He showed well during the preseason and Baker uses his size effectively.
Outside Linebackers: A-
Ryan Kerrigan (A)
After playing every snap last year as a rookie, expectations for Kerrigan this season are high. Fortunately, for Redskins coaches and fans, Kerrigan appears up for the task. His transition to the position has been painless and he's a workhorse.
Brian Orakpo (A)
We're still waiting for him to have that stat-stuffing season. But so long as he continues to draw attention and force holds along the end, Orakpo is effective. Once he puts it all together, Orakpo will be an absolute terror.
Chris Wilson (C)
Impressive story for Wilson and I'm happy to see him on the team. He played decent ball in the preseason and adds some depth as a pass-rusher.
Rob Jackson (C+)
I like Jackson as a backup. He still seems raw at times, but he brings power off the edge when called upon.
Inside Linebackers: A
London Fletcher (A)
In what seems like his 256th season, London Fletcher is the ageless wonder. He continues to anchor the Redskins defense and he's just as important off the field as he is on it.
Perry Riley (B)
Entering his third season as a Shanahan draft pick, Riley is deserving of a starting role. The coaches have groomed him and he has worked alongside London Fletcher. Riley is a hard tackler and he demonstrated good play recognition during the preseason.
Lorenzo Alexander (B)
He's a jack of all trades and coaches would trust him as a starter. Alexander reminds me of a Belichick-style player. So versatile and valuable that you just can't let them get away. Whatever position it may be, Alexander will contribute.
Keenan Robinson (C+)
As a fourth-round selection in last April's draft, Keenan Robinson is still learning the NFL game. However, his development over the preseason was impressive and he showed enough to beat out veteran linebacker Bryan Kehl. Robinson is good in coverage, he's a strong tackler and his reaction improved as the summer went on.
Josh Wilson (A-)
Easily the Redskins' best cover-corner this season, Wilson is due to have a big year. He had very little time to get accustomed to the scheme last season and was still able to play good ball by season's end. With a year under his belt and a full summer of work, Wilson should be even better in 2012.
DeAngelo Hall (B)
Coaches are set to play Hall in the nickel this season, which should result in better usage of the veteran's playmaking skills. We should also look for Hall on blitz packages and coming up in run-support.
Cedric Griffin (C)
After such a down preseason, most were surprised to see Griffin make the cut. While his experience is valuable, his play so far this summer hasn't been. Hopefully the coaches saw something the fans didn't.
Richard Crawford (C+)
As a late-round rookie, no one expected much out of Richard Crawford. But after an impressive preseason of demonstrating ball skills, physicality and returning abilities, we could see a whole lot more of Crawford than anticipated. And that's a really good thing.
Crezdon Butler (D)
Because they were carrying just four corners, the Redskins made a weekend waiver claim.
Brandon Meriweather (B+)
After a down season in Chicago last year, Meriweather looks to improve in a scheme that better suits his talent. If he can keep a level head and remain healthy, Meriweather can be a very good safety.
Madieu Williams (C+)
Williams may deserve a better grade following the preseason, but his durability remains a concern. When healthy, Williams is a smart and instinctive player that can help the Redskins' secondary.
Reed Doughty (B-)
Something has to be said for a guy that lasts through umpteen coordinators and coaches, yet still finds a way to make the same NFL roster. Doughty's valuable to the Redskins, so long as he doesn't start. But then again, it's not his fault if he does.
DeJon Gomes (C+)
After starting five games and recording 35 tackles as a rookie last season, it's exciting to see Gomes back on the roster. Even as a backup, Gomes will get some valuable playing time and he'll hopefully get better from it.
Jordan Bernstine (C)
Bernstine should thank Tanard Jackson for being a complete idiot, because Jackson's suspension seems to be what freed up roster space for the rookie this year. But that's not to say Bernstine wasn't deserving. He was quick to the ball during the preseason, showed well as a tackler and came up with an interception against the Bucs.
Billy Cundiff (B-)
Until we see Cundiff deliver, you're not going to convince me that he's a better option than last season's kicker Graham Gano.
Sav Rocca (A)
As one of the best punters in the game, I had no choice but to show my respect by naming my fantasy team after him. Sock'em Sav Rocca.
Brandon Banks (A)
He's a playmaker. When Banks touches the ball, anything can happen. And that's exactly what you need in a specialist.
Nick Sundberg (B)
We won't sit here and break down the long snapper position, but Sundberg enters his third season with the Redskins. Coaches are cool with it. That is all.