Updated 53-Man Roster Projections for Redskins Post-Week 3 of Preseason
Three weeks of preseason are in the books, and the first round of cuts have been made, which means the Washington Redskins are one step closer to their final roster. There weren't many surprises in the cut to 75, but the moves they made put some of the positions in perspective.
There's still time for players on the bubble to make an impression, but the final 53-man roster is quickly coming together.
The Redskins have to make some decisions as to keeping extra bodies at some key positions, particularly in the secondary and along the offensive line, but most of the depth chart has been decided at this point.
Here's a look at how Washington's depth chart is shaping up after Week 3 of preseason.
Starter: Robert Griffin III
Backups: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Griffin's up-and-down preseason performances may raise questions among fans and the media, but there is no question that he is going to be the starting quarterback. Cousins, having put on some shining performances during preseason, has cemented himself as the go-to backup.
The only thing that will move McCoy up the depth chart is either Griffin or Cousins getting hurt or Cousins being traded.
Starters: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young (FB)
Backups: Roy Helu, Lache Seastrunk
Alfred Morris will be the workhorse for the Redskins offense, and he will likely see an expanded role catching passes out of the backfield. Helu is a dependable change-of-pace back with soft hands and great speed.
Lache Seastrunk wins out over Chris Thompson, Evan Royster and Silas Redd primarily because he was drafted by Jay Gruden. Thompson and Royster are holdovers from Mike Shanahan's regime while Redd may be a practice squad addition if he's lucky.
Thompson may sneak onto the roster, but he has been injured and has just one more chance to show his worth in preseason. It may be too little, too late.
Darrel Young saw next to no real competition from Stephen Campbell during camp or preseason. He remains one of the most underrated fullbacks in the NFL.
Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
Jordan Reed is poised for a breakout season in 2014. His rookie year would have been a breakout had he not suffered a hip injury and a concussion that ultimately ended his season.
Behind Reed are Logan Paulsen, the best blocking tight end on the roster, and special teams ace Niles Paul.
Paul's roster spot is probably the most tenuous at present because he doesn't get many touches on offense and has been the captain of a floundering special teams unit.
Ted Bolser was drafted because of his work on special teams, but the Redskins can't really justify four tight ends, only two of which have any role on offense.
It is a coin toss as to which player makes the final cut, though experience gives the nod to Paul.
Backups: Santana Moss, Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson
Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are the unquestioned starting trio for the Redskins. The real question is how the depth chart shakes out after them.
Santana Moss has shown he is still capable of producing despite his advanced age. He's infinitely more versatile than Aldrick Robinson, who makes the roster as a deep threat, and is more refined at this stage in his career than rookie Ryan Grant.
Grant makes the roster by virtue of being healthy and playing like a veteran. He has displayed excellent hands and an ability to make plays on the ball despite being considered an average athlete.
The one potential wrench in the gears is Leonard Hankerson, who is on the PUP list while he recovers from surgery to repair his ACL and LCL. If healthy, Hankerson could push for a roster spot, though Grant's emergence as a reliable receiver makes it less likely.
Starters: Trent Williams, Tyler Polumbus
Backups: Morgan Moses, Tom Compton
Trent Williams is among the best left tackles in the NFL, and his excellence is made more apparent by the less-than-stellar play of right tackle Tyler Polumbus.
Polumbus returns as the starter, and all evidence from preseason suggests he has not made any significant improvements to his pass-blocking ability.
Rookie Morgan Moses was expected to compete for the starting position, but his transition from college left tackle to NFL right tackle has been rough. Tom Compton, a one-time late-round pick with raw talent, has made great strides this offseason, making Moses' difficulties that much more apparent.
Starters: Shawn Lauvao, Chris Chester
Backups: Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus
Shawn Lauvao was signed to replace Kory Lichtensteiger, who moved inside to center to replace Will Montgomery. Chris Chester remains the starter at right guard, though for how long remains to be seen.
The Redskins released Adam Gettis, giving Josh LeRibeus the nod as a backup.
Rookie Spencer Long is expected to overtake Chester as the starter, though the timetable for his preparedness isn't clear. Long saw time at left guard during preseason, but his ascent to starter status may be a simple matter of experience and fine-tuning.
Starter: Kory Lichtensteiger
Having released Mike McGlynn and having only Tevita Stevens as a potential backup, the Redskins may opt to keep Kory Lichtensteiger as the lone center on the offensive line.
There is some versatility along the offensive line, Chris Chester has played some center, Josh LeRibeus could step in in a pinch, so it isn't a grave concern to have just one center on the roster.
Starters: Barry Cofield, Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker
Backups: Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers
Barry Cofield will be the only listed nose tackle on the roster come Week 1, but expect Chris Baker and just about every other defensive lineman to line up at that position throughout the regular season.
Baker and Jason Hatcher will be the starters at defensive end with Kedric Golston and Jarvis Jenkins serving as their primary backups. Clifton Geathers is a monster of a man at 6'8", and he could make things interesting if made part of a rotation.
With Stephen Bowen's return date still undecided, the Redskins have to keep the depth chart stocked as though he may never return this season or may not be at full strength when he does return.
Starters: Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley
Backups: Will Compton, Darryl Sharpton
Keenan Robinson has not only looked impressive during preseason, but he's also managed to make Perry Riley look expendable. Riley is still a solid presence, but has yet to really put it all together. He's got the physical tools, but makes some rookie mistakes even in his fifth season.
After Robinson and Riley are Will Compton and Darryl Sharpton.
Compton is still young, but has value as a special teams contributor. Sharpton, on the other hand, has veteran experience in the 3-4 defense, but he has been hindered by a high ankle sprain this preseason.
Injury aside, Sharpton is simply the best option in terms of depth and experience the Redskins can maintain.
Starters: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan
Backups: Trent Murphy, Everette Brown, Adam Hayward
Outside of the surprise release of Rob Jackson, the linebacker depth chart looks as expected. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will be the starters, but expect rookie Trent Murphy to get a lot of looks on passing downs.
Everette Brown and Adam Hayward were pursued this offseason, giving them the edge over Gabe Miller, who is still practice squad eligible and could be worth stashing for the time being.
Starters: Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather
Backups: Bacarri Rambo, Phillip Thomas
Ryan Clark should provide a veteran presence at free safety despite being past his prime. He's still a tackling machine and has instincts to put him in the right place where speed and youth would have gotten him in the past.
Brandon Meriweather will start the season under suspension following his illegal hit on Baltimore's Torrey Smith, but he will resume his starting duties following the two-game ban.
The suspension may give Bacarri Rambo a chance to perform since Phillip Thomas re-injured his surgically repaired left foot against the Ravens. Rambo played free safety last season and was horrible, but perhaps his style is better suited for roving closer to the line the way Meriweather has in preseason.
Depending on how serious Thomas' injury is, it may be an opportunity for Trenton Robinson to catch on as more than a special teams contributor.
Starters: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson
Backups: Tracy Porter, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield
DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson are locks as starters. The rest of the depth chart is less certain because of the versatility and talent available.
Tracy Porter was signed to solidify the nickel corner position, but rookie Bashaud Breeland may make a push for more playing time at some point this season. His offseason citation for possession of marijuana has yet to be ruled on, and a suspension is still a possibility.
E.J. Biggers is a versatile corner best suited for nickel and dime duties, and he can play free safety in a pinch.
Chase Minnifield finally catches on the active roster, beating out Richard Crawford who loses his grasp on a roster spot because he hasn't shown enough progress as a defender, and isn't needed as a returner since Andre Roberts was signed this offseason.
Kicker: Zach Hocker
Punter: Robert Malone
Long Snapper: Nick Sundberg
The Redskins didn't draft Zach Hocker just to light a fire under Kai Forbath. He has a stronger leg on kickoffs, and he is just as good converting field goals and extra points as Forbath.
Forbath hasn't really separated himself from the rookie, though neither kicker has shown any signs of weakness, save for Forbath's illegal procedure penalty on a kick he sent out of bounds.
Robert Malone survived his competition with Blake Clingan to claim the punting job for now, though he must still beat out the recently added Tress Way. Malone has been solid in preseason, which puts the Redskins in a better situation than they started the offseason with after they parted with Sav Rocca.
Nick Sundberg returns as the long-snapping specialist.