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Need to Know: How many of the Redskins' 2016 starters are on the roster now?

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Need to Know: How many of the Redskins' 2016 starters are on the roster now?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 18, 41 days before the NFL Draft.

How many 2016 starters are already on the roster?

I posted about the 2016 defense yesterday and one of the comments I got was that the unit is still a work in progress. While that is undeniably true with the draft still six weeks away, most of the starters are already on the team. Let’s take a look and see how many of the likely 2016 starters are currently under contract.

Offense:

Line: Williams, Lauvao/Long, Center, Scherff, Moses
Receivers: Garçon, Jackson, Crowder, Reed
Backs: Cousins, Jones

Arie Kouandjio could be in the mix at left guard, too. But the likely starter is in the building. It’s a pretty good bet that Kory Lichtensteiger will start at center but there is enough doubt there to leave that position a question mark.

Perhaps Jones is not fully locked in at running back but unless they take a back during the first two days of the draft it seems likely that he will be given the first shot to be the “lead dog” in what is likely to be a running back by committee.

Defense:

Line: Baker, Nose tackle, Right end
Linebacker: Galette/Smith, Kerrigan, Foster, Compton
Backfield: Breeland, Culliver/Blackmon, Hall, Ihenacho/Bruton

Stephen Paea is the favorite to start at right end but the draft may well bring a starter at nose tackle and one at right end. Perhaps a high draft pick at safety could work his way into the Week 1 starting lineup but I’ll go with this group for now.

So there is one position on offense where the likely starter may not yet be under contract and two on defense. Certainly depth matters and that is where the draft will come into play. Also, this may not be the lineup when December rolls around; there could be changes for reasons other than the inevitable injuries. But, for right now, the Week 1 staring lineup is a cake that is very close to being baked.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 68 days ago. It will be about 177 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 31; 2016 NFL draft 41; Redskins training camp starts 132

In case you missed it

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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Quarterback

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts on Thursday. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. On offense we’ve put the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line, and tight ends, under the microscope. Today the focus turns to quarterback.

2016 final game starter: Kirk Cousins

Has started all 32 games in two seasons since he was named the starter. Cousins played every offensive snap last year.

Departures: None

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Projected 2017 starter: Cousins

Trade talk that was all over the place in February and early March is all but gone. It appears that Cousins will be the starter for 2017. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

2017 reserves: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

For a while in 2014, McCoy was ahead of Cousins on Jay Gruden’s depth chart, starting three games over a healthy Cousins. McCoy is under contract through 2018 and it will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at starting if Cousins leaves as a free agent. But for 2017 McCoy will continue his role as an insurance policy.

Sudfeld will find out a lot more about his future in burgundy and gold in the next several days. Former general manager Scot McCloughan was very high on Sudfeld’s potential as a future starter. If others in the building were as convinced as McCloughan was they likely will bypass the position in the draft. Taking a QB, especially somewhere in rounds three or four, would be a sign that they don’t like Sudfeld nearly as much as McCloughan did.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often  

Where can the quarterback position find improvement?

Cousins had another big statistical year, breaking his own team record by passing for nearly 5,000 yards. But he can improve in the red zone, where his completion rate plummeted to 47.5 percent after completing 64.1 percent in 2015. Cousins also saw his third-down completion percentage drop from 69.2 percent in 2015 to 61 percent last year. Not surprisingly, the offense struggled in both areas.   

Locks and bubble players

If no quarterback is drafted all three are locks. If one is taken, Sudfeld should start looking at how he can break his lease.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: JP & Tandler break down Redskins draft targets, and players to avoid

How plausible is a draft day trade? Could the Redskins move up? And what to do about all those 'diluted samples'? JP Finlay and Rich Tandler break it all down.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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