The Redskins have the league maximum 90 players on their roster and a lot of what goes on between now and the season opener against the Steelers will be about finding out who will be on the final 53-man roster. There is plenty of talk from Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan about competition. But how much competition is there really? How many of those coveted 53 jobs are already locked up and how many are up for grabs? As OTA’s start tomorrow let’s take a look with the caveat that injuries and a truly surprising performance could change the picture for a few players.
Right now, it looks like these players are locks to make the final roster:
QB (2): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
RB (2): Matt Jones, Chris Thompson
WR (5): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder
TE (3): Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Vernon Davis
OL (6): Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio
Nate Sudfeld will be the third quarterback but the team might try to carry him on the practice squad rather than on the 53. Keith Marshall has to overcome a history of injuries to make it. I could have included Rashad Ross among the receiver locks but he will need to show improvement in his ability as an NFL receiver and be more than just a fast guy. Shawn Lauvao is on the bubble due to his high salary cap number ($5 million) and the injuries to his lower extremities that likely will keep him out all of the offseason and perhaps training camp. You have to consider Ty Nsekhe a solid favorite to beat out Takoby Cofield for the backup tackle job but not quite a lock. Some might see Lichtensteiger as being on the bubble but I think he stays around as a guard/center reserve even if he loses his starting job.
The Redskins are likely to keep 25 offensive players so there are seven jobs up for grabs on that side of the ball.
DL (6): Stephen Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Matt Ioannidis, Trent Murphy, Kendall Reyes
LB (7): Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Junior Galette, Perry Riley, Will Compton, Mason Foster, Su’a Cravens
DB (8): Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, David Bruton, Will Blackmon
I’m tempted to add Kedric Golston as a lock on the defensive line since he is the ultimate survivor but I’m not convinced that they will keep more than six on the D-line. As discussed here, there will be a huge battle for the remaining one or two inside linebacker spots. They kept 10 defensive backs last year but they have some versatility this year so they may carry only nine in 2016.
There are likely to be 25 defensive players on the roster so that leaves four spots open.
The three specialists on the roster, kicker Dustin Hopkins, punter Tress Way, and long snapper Nick Sundberg, are all locks.
That makes a total of 42 locks so 11 jobs are up for grabs. Who is in contention for those 11 spots? We’ll take a look tomorrow.