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Projecting the Redskins' 53-man roster—Defense

Projecting the Redskins' 53-man roster—Defense

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:

RELATED: How will the Redskins' back split carries?

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.

Cornerbacks (6)

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

Safety (5)

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.

Specialists:

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).

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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Josh Norman didn't stand a chance defending Kyle O’Quinn on this dunk

Josh Norman didn't stand a chance defending Kyle O’Quinn on this dunk

Josh Norman is a man of many talents — at least on the football field, and in the friendliest possible way, he was reminded of that this weekend during a charity basketball game.

Opposite of the defensive nightmare Norman can be for receivers, the New York Knicks' Kyle O’Quinn had a little fun with the Redskins cornerback and the 10-inch height difference they share during the during Bam Bam’s Spring Jam at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia.

O'Quinn got the ball and went up for a particularly easy dunk as Norman jumped and tried to swat the ball away but his effort was futile. 

While this was all in good fun, Norman should probably stick to football. 

Former Virginia Tech defenseive back and current Seattle Seahawk Kam Chancellor's foundation is behind the charity game, which also included Redskins' Lynden Trail, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett and Antoine Bethea.  

Related: Kirk Cousins got some tips from an 85-year-old woman

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Memorial Day Reflection: Kirk Cousins appreciates the cost of freedom

Memorial Day Reflection: Kirk Cousins appreciates the cost of freedom

On Memorial Day, people all over the United States stop to reflect on the freedoms provided for by the military. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is no different.

"So grateful for living in this country and understanding that that came at a price and I just want to say thank you," Cousins said.

Speaking after an OTA session last week with military members in attendance, Cousins explained that he appreciates the added sense of history and obligation that comes from living in and around D.C.

"It’s a good reminder why it’s such a benefit to play here in Washington. It just feels like it’s that much more real with Andrews Air Force Base here and so many soldiers here. There’s something special about playing for the city of Washington, D.C. and driving 30 minutes into the city and going by the White House and the Pentagon and the monuments."

The Redskins hosted military members from multiple branches at their OTAs, and afterward, Cousins and a number of other players signed autographs. 

"You say ‘Man, I want to give these soldiers, these fans something to cheer about and make them excited and bring this city together.' Hopefully winning football games can do that. What a great thing. That’s the vision we’re chasing," the Redskins passer said. "Hopefully we can get it done this season."

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