5 Players Who Might Find Themselves on Redskins' Practice Squad in 2014
A veteran team intent on competing for a postseason berth in 2014, the Washington Redskins aren't flush with openings for the litany of young prospects they've drafted and signed this offseason.
But with the likelihood higher that their aged core of veterans will at some point succumb to injury, the Redskins have a need for such players, in the present and in the future.
With that said, here are five players who might find themselves on Washington's practice squad in 2014.
WR Cody Hoffman
An undrafted wideout, the 6'4" Cody Hoffman brings some much needed size to the Redskins' receiving corps.
Speaking with reporters, per CSN's Tarik El-Bashir, head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged the team's shortcomings in this department.
"And that’s one thing [about] our receiving corps, you’d like to have a couple of guys who are 6-2, 6-3," he said.
Outside of the injured 6'2" Leonard Hankerson, Washington didn't sport a receiver over 6'1" on its depth chart last season. Without a discernible size advantage to exploit, the team's red-zone offense struggled and only scored on 52 percent of its trips.
Even with that said, Hoffman—BYU's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns—will have a tough go at just making the team.
Washington only carried six receivers last season.
That leaves Hoffman to battle it out with Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Nick Williams and Santana Moss for the final two spots.
Lacking the speed and precise route running to separate from defenders, though, Hoffman's odds of making the team aren't too promising.
Still, with his sure hands and standout play on special teams, Washington shouldn't hesitate to sign Hoffman to its practice squad.
If he can improve as a route-runner and learn how to better utilize his body, Hoffman could make the team in 2015.
TE Ted Bolser
The Redskins' seventh-round pick, Ted Bolser will have to battle it out with Niles Paul for the right to backup Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen.
Although he was a former receiver who made the transition to tight end at Indiana, Bolser isn't the most threatening pass-catcher.
Bolser only had 35 catches and 320 yards in 2013. In his scouting report on Bolser, NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki further detailed his deficiencies as a receiver.
"Lumbering mover. One-speed route runner with minimal burst and acceleration to separate. Much of his production is schemed--creates little on his own," he said.
Where Bolser can contribute, though, is on special teams.
In an interview with Andrew Walker of Redskins.com, Gruden acknowledged this.
“We were the 32nd-ranked team in every special team category and it was a major item for us in the draft, and Ted is a good special teams player as well as a tight end,” he said.
Considering that Paul is a special teams contributor as well, Bolser doesn't have a leg to stand on in his efforts to take his roster spot.
Instead, with Paul set to enter free agency after the 2014 season, preparing Bolser on the practice squad to replace him seems like the logical move.
RB Silas Redd
A highly touted prospect prior to his arrival at Penn State, Silas Redd's once promising collegiate career fell by the wayside because of scandal and injury.
After a breakout sophomore campaign in which he rushed for 1,241 yards, Redd transferred to USC in the wake of the penalties the NCAA levied against the Nittany Lions.
Set back by injury his final two seasons there, Redd's draft stock tumbled, culminating with him going undrafted.
Still, if Redd can recapture the form he displayed at Penn State, he'd be an ideal candidate for Washington to stash on its practice squad.
With the short shelf life that running backs have, the team would be wise to garner the services of a player who has a similar skill set to its lead back, Alfred Morris.
While the speed and pass-catching ability of Roy Helu, Chris Thompson and Lache Seastrunk make them better complements to Morris, none in this trio has the requisite running style or size to fill his void if he were lost to injury.
A well-built back with the cutback ability and strength to power through contact and finish runs, Redd doesn't fall in that category.
S Akeem Davis
While safety was one of the weakest positions on the Redskins last season, the team's offseason moves won't make it easy for Akeem Davis to earn a spot on the team.
The team re-signed Brandon Meriweather and picked up former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark. Add in the reinstatement of Tanard Jackson and the return of Phillip Thomas from injury, and there's now a logjam at safety.
Still, considering that neither Clark, Meriweather or Jackson are the long-term answers at safety, there's ample reason for Washington to stash a player of Davis' caliber on its practice squad.
Although he failed in his attempt to make the Seattle Seahawks last season, Davis' physical talents are evident.
At his pro day in 2013, Davis ran a 4.48 and 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, according to ESPN.com's John Keim.
Formerly a linebacker during his collegiate career at Memphis, Davis' sure tackling would be a welcome addition to a secondary that was plagued by missed tackles in 2013.
Afforded the time to learn the safety position, a year on Washington's practice squad could prepare Davis for a bigger role in 2015.
K Zach Hocker
Even if Kai Forbath wins the kicking job, the mere fact that Washington drafted Zach Hocker speaks to his tenuous job security.
Although he missed only four field goals in 2013 (and made his final 13 attempts of the season), three of Forbath's misses came from 40-plus yards out, making leg strength the clear issue here.
And this weakness doesn't just rear its head on field goals. As ESPN's John Keim noted, Forbath's 14 touchbacks fall way short of the league average of 41.
In contrast, distance appears to be Hocker's strength.
During his senior season at Arkansas, Hocker was 5-of-7 on kicks over 40 yards.
While consistency was an issue for Hocker during his collegiate career, a strong showing during the preseason could very well net him Forbath's roster spot.
Worst case scenario for Hocker, he makes the practice squad. If Forbath again struggles in 2014, then at the very least the Redskins have Hocker to call on as his replacement.
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