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In-depth chart: Defensive backs

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In-depth chart: Defensive backs

The Redskins 90-man offseason roster is set, at least for the time being. Its time to take a look at who they have, who will start, and who will be around when the Sept. 9 opener in New Orleans rolls around.Weve looked the the offensive backs, the line.and the receivers and tight ends on that side of the ball and at the defensive line and linebackers. Today we put the defensive backs under the microscope.CornerbackStarters: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson
Reserves: Cedric Griffin, Leigh Torrence
Fighting for a job: Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Richard Crawford, Chase MinnifieldIt will be interesting to see how Hall will play if the Redskins can get into a substantial lead in games on other than rare occasions. His gambling style works much better in those circumstances. Wilson got better and better as last year went on and he became more comfortable in the defense.I put Griffin and Torrence in as the nickel and dime backs but almost any of the players in the fighting for a job line could wind up there as well and it would not be a shock. Barnes held the nickel job last year but his play led the team to sign Griffin and Torrence and to draft Crawford to try to replace him.Minnifield will be worth watching. He was projected to be a third-round pick but microfracture surgery on his knee pushed him all the way off the draft board.SafetyStarters: Tanard Jackson, Brandon Meriweanther
Reserves: DeJon Gomes, Madieu Williams
Fighting for a job: Reed Doughty, Josh Bernstine, Travon BellamyThe picture here is even more fluid than it is a corner. Jackson and Meriweather are not entrenched as the starters by any means. Meriweather, in fact, is not a solid lock to even make the team.If everything works out well here then Jackson, with his shoulder injury healed, will improve his tackling--he was one of the worst-tackling safeties in the NFL last year--and Meriweather will regain the form that made him a starter for three years in New England. But only time will tell if things will work out that way.It will be hard to keep Doughty off of the roster since he can do so much but they didnt bring in Jackson, Meriweather, and Williams because they were wild about his play at safety. Gomes didnt embarrass himself when he got some play at safety in the latter half of last year. But hell have to do better than not be a disaster to get substantial playing time this year.Williams is a top-notch person and locker room guy but it remains to be seen if he will be occupying a locker later when the roster is cut to 53.

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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM IS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH PLANS FOR NEW STADIUM

He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

RELATED: RANKING THE TOP ROOKIE QBS FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL

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Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Fantasy football: Ranking the top eight rookie quarterbacks in 2017

Rookie camps are in the books as teams now move to organized team activities. Does that mean it's too early for fantasy football rankings? 

Probably, but seeing as the rookies are new to the scene, we might as well start projecting where and how they fit. 

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Sterling Shepard and Michael Thomas were among the rookies who produced and then some in 2016.

Based on the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft, there’s hope for even more first-year standouts.  

Starting with the Bears selecting quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall, 19 skill players were drafted in the first and second round.

That includes fellow first-round quarterback selections Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Several sleeper candidates followed. 

Here’s my look at the Elite Eight quarterbacks with the 2017 fantasy football season -- and beyond -- in mind.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S 2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE QB RANKINGS

2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings:

Running Backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

* Wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans