The Redskins are heading into the final phases of their offseason program. OTAs get underway next week, minicamp unfolds in the middle of next month and it’s off to training camp. While there is a long way to go, it’s not too early to project what the 53-man roster will look like when the final cuts are made on September 2.
I projected the offense yesterday; here’s the defense:
Players new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.
Defensive line (6)
Starters: Jonathan Allen, Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee (NT)
Backups: Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis
McGee isn’t an ideal nose tackle but I don’t see room on the roster for Phil Taylor. Hood and Ioannidis both can back up at NT. This looks like an improved group but it could use another player with Allen’s impact.
Inside linebacker (4)
Starters: Will Compton, Zach Brown
Backups: Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight
Compton calls the defenses, although he may come off the field in favor of Foster in nickel situations. They carried a fifth ILB last year for special teams so someone will have to pick up the slack from another position.
Outside linebackers (4)
Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette
Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games so a tough numbers decision is put off until Week 5.
Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Josh Holsey, Fabian Moreau
Moreau is not a sure bet to be on the opening 53; if there is any setback in his rehab from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered during his pro day he could start the season on the PUP list. Holsey had his share of injury problems during his career at Auburn (tore his left ACL twice) and he has a lot to prove.
MORE REDSKINS: Tandler's rookie camp practice observations
Starters: D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens
Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett
The starters are set while the reserves are very tentative. The coaches talked up Hall in March but they drafted Montae Nicholson in April. There have to be concerns about Hall’s ability to stay on the field. Everett is more of a special teams player; Josh Evans is a better safety and he could get the nod. Perhaps they could go with one fewer cornerback and keep a sixth safety since Blackmon can fill in at corner if needed.
LS Nick Sundberg, K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way
Some want a challenger for Hopkins to be brought in but it’s hard to see him not being the kicker Week 1 even if they sign competition.
Last three on: Everett, Holsey, Ioannidis
Last three cut: Evans, Nicholson, Taylor
Defensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, total of eight new to the organization.
Full roster breakdown: 25 offense, 25 defense, three specialists. Eight rookies, total of 14 new to the Redskins. Six new starters (five on defense, one on offense).