Between now and the start of training camp I'll be making my predictions about who will be on the final 53-man roster for the Washington Redskins--who's there, who's in, who's on the bubble, and who's out. The predicted roster will be revised and updated as preseason events warrant. Today, the defensive line:
Who's here Now: (16) Ends: Alex Buzbee, Andre Carter, Phillip Daniels, Rob Jackson, Jeremy Jarmon, J. D. Skolnitsky, Derek Walker, Chris Wilson, Renaldo Wynn Tackles: Lorenzo Alexander, Antonio Dixon, Kedric Golston, Cornelius Griffin, Albert Haynesworth, Vaka Manupuna, Anthony Montgomery. (Note—Jarmon is not yet on the official roster so it's likely that another DE will be released when he signs his contract. Also, I am counting Brian Orakpo as a linebacker.)
How many will stick: 10
Starters: From left to right, Daniels, Haynesworth, Griffin, Carter. On obvious passing downs, Orakpo will move up and rush the passer from the left side. The additions of Haynesworth and Orakpo and the return of Daniels turn this unit from a relative weakness to a strength. Ideally, Haynesworth will crash the middle
Solid backups: Golston, Montgomery, Jarmon, Wilson. Jarmon probably won't get a whole lot of time at end, barring injury, as he needs to bulk up and learn the system. Montgomery and Golston will go from sharing the starting job to trying to make an impact as rotational players in their contract years. Wilson seems to be the best bet to back up Carter as the pass rushing defensive end.
Last men on: Alexander, Jackson—The battles for the last two, or maybe even three, spots on the defensive line will be among the highlights of August. Alexander didn't play as much on offense as he did under Gibbs but his flexibility gives him a leg up on the competition. Jackson will have to perform well enough to warrant a spot on the game day roster on a regular basis if he's going to make it. He needs to hope that the Redskins do decide to go with 10 plus Orakpo on the D-line because he's very much on the bubble if they go with nine.
First men off: Wynn, Buzbee—I made the case last week that Wynn could be released when Jarmon signs. If he does stay, he'll give it a battle but the acquisition of Jarmon sealed Wynn's fate. For Buzbee it's a matter of poor timing. He had his shot to make some noise last year but he suffered a season-ending knee injury the same day that Daniels did.
Spots taken so far: 18
Spots to go: 35
Next: Running back-fullback