Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ depth chart.
Some battles are straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until its finalized Aug 31.
So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …
Position: Z receiver
On the roster: Josh Morgan, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Donte Stallworth, Lance Lewis, Chip Reeves
Likely to make the 53: Morgan, Hankerson, Robinson
Comment: This is very much a “show me” group of players as all three of them have something to prove.
—Morgan was reasonably productive last year with 48 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns. However more is expected of a player who signed a two-year, $11.5 million free agent deal in 2012. That contract is up after this season and Morgan needs to get into the end zone more often and average more per catch (10.6 yards) if he is going to be back or at least return earning a paycheck similar to his current one. His surgery to repair lingering issues from his 2011 ankle injury should help.
—Hankerson needs to develop some consistency in his third season. In seven games last year he had either no receptions or just one. He can be a prime third-down and red-zone target if he can even out the bumps in his game.
—Robinson has to show that he is more than a deep threat. After he caught two long bombs for touchdowns against the Eagles and Cowboys in November he virtually disappeared from the offense. He’s fast so he’ll get another chance but at some point Robinson will have to develop into more of a well-rounded receiver. We have seen flashes of it so, as with Hankerson, he needs to become more consistent.
Battling for a job: Stallworth, Lewis, Reeves
Comment: You could say that Stallworth can’t hold a job—he hasn’t worn the same uniform for two consecutive seasons since 2004-2005 with the Saints. But he keeps getting chances and making teams so the 32-year old still has some ability. He will be among the favorites to make it if the Redskins keep six wide receivers as they did last year.
Lewis gets his second chance to make the Redskins after he went undrafted coming out of East Carolina in 2012. An injury derailed him last year so we will see what he can do if he stays healthy. Reeves is quick and has a shot at the practice squad.