Washington Redskins

4 Dark-Horse Candidates to Make Redskins' Final 53-Man Roster

Shae CroninCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2014

4 Dark-Horse Candidates to Make Redskins' Final 53-Man Roster

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    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    At this time of the year, with NFL rosters packed to the brim with unknown rookies, as well as assumed starters and seasoned vets, it's hard to say how the final roster will shake out. 

    And in Washington—under the new direction of head coach Jay Gruden—the situation is no different, as the Redskins look to bounce back following a dismal 3-13 record from a year ago. 

    Here's an early look at four dark-horse candidates to land a spot on the Redskins' final 53-man roster. 

Courtney Bridget Jr.

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    Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    Despite Richard Sherman-like measurables, Courtney Bridget Jr. wasn't selected in May's NFL draft. Instead, the Redskins signed the former Hampton University cornerback as an undrafted free agent just a couple weeks later. 

    Seeing as how nearly every other team passed on Bridget several times over in the draft, he's probably the least likely of any name on this list. But given we're all familiar with the Redskins' secondary woes over the past few seasons—in addition to their building for the future—there's a small chance the nearly 6'3" corner sticks to the final 53. 

    Bridget has the size and attitude to turn in a gritty camp this summer and perhaps cut his teeth on special teams as a rookie. And then moving forward, the team observes how he takes to coaching and what potential (beyond the physical traits) he truly has. 

Tanard Jackson

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Probably not so much a dark horse if not for the past two years of no NFL football. But for safety Tanard Jackson, that's his unique case after serving suspensions for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 

    Remember back to what feels like so long ago, when Jackson joined the team in 2012 and us fans were excited for what he could bring after reuniting with defensive backs coach Raheem Morris?

    While that excitement may have since diminished (a lot), there's still a desire to see what Jackson can do in this defense—and there's no question the Redskins could use some help in the deep half.

    This is far from a shoo-in, and despite his relationship with Morris, Jackson will have to work his behind off to make the final roster. But with the struggles at that position, as well as the lack of depth, I like his chances. 

Lache Seastrunk

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Lache Seastrunk makes the list for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he's a sixth-round rookie, and secondly he's one of six running backs currently listed on the Redskins' roster. 

    This wouldn't be the first time I've gotten lofty with Seastrunk and his potential moving forward, but he's the change-of-pace back Jay Gruden covets in his offense, a la Giovani Bernard in Cincinnati last season. 

    While we're all praying Seastrunk has decent hands to go along with his obvious speed and explosiveness, coaches are probably more on the side of hopeful than optimistic. Yes, Seastrunk has the college highlight reel to keep you wanting more, but how does that translate in camp? And where does that stack him against other running backs like Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr., Chris Thompson and Silas Redd, all of whom you could argue are also fighting for a roster spot?

Nick Williams

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    The Redskins have more than a dozen receivers listed on their current roster, making the position one of the team's toughest to break through unless your name happens to be Garcon, Jackson or Roberts. 

    But in the mix is Nick Williams—a non-threatening physical presence (5'10", 184 lbs) who will likely rely on game smarts and solid hands to earn his spot on the roster. 

    We saw a tiny bit of Williams last season after the Redskins signed him as an undrafted free agent last May. He finished his rookie season with most of it spent on the practice squad but also with three catches and nine kickoff returns in five games.

    Any chance of Williams making the roster would seem to lean toward the side of bold prediction, so consider this one: Williams makes the final 53 as a return man on special teams and helps the offense when called upon as a dependable short-area slot guy.  

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