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Redskins' 53-man roster finalized--for now

Redskins' 53-man roster finalized--for now

The Redskins have finalized their 53-man roster at least for today. There could be changes if they add players who were released by other teams so the bubble players can’t rest easy just yet.

Here is the roster as it stands tonight. The team can begin signing players to the 10-man practice squad after waivers are cleared at noon on Sunday.

Starters are in bold.

Offense

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy

With this morning’s report that Griffin will stay, this was set.

Offensive line (10): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus, Ty Nsekhe

This is an overload; one could be released if the team picks up a third tight end

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Rashad Ross

Ross wasn’t on many peoples’ radar before training camp started but he forced his way onto the roster with a strong preseason.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier

Either Tom Compton is going to be the third tight end or they will find somebody on the waiver wire. Reed is injury prone and Carrier has only been here a few weeks.

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

This has been set in stone since the start of training camp. Undrafted rookie Trey Williams could be a practice squad candidate if he clears waivers.

Defense

Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

They have gone with seven on the DL in most years but I think they need an extra linebacker to help on special teams.

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat

Jeffcoat played pretty well when moved to the active roster late last year due to injuries. He got an opening to the roster when Junior Galette was injured and he took advantage of it.

Inside linebacker (4): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight

The Redskins could be looking for another linebacker on waivers.

Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers, Deshazor Everett

Bashaud Breeland will not be on Week 1 roster due to NFL suspension.

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

A total of 10 defensive backs is a little heavy; they could release one to make room for another linebacker.

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

Forbath brushed off a challenge in training camp and this was set.

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 16 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including seven draft picks

 

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

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When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, Aqib Talib has a long and checkered past, which includes multiple arrests and failed PED and drug tests. The problems aren't new either, the talented cornerback was first arrested as a high school student. In college at Kansas, Talib was suspended multiple times and had multiple positive tests for marijuana use. 

Why does this matter for Redskins fans on the eve of the NFL Draft?

Despite all the trouble, Bruce Allen drafted Talib 20th overall in 2008 when the current Redskins general manager was in the same role for Tampa. While Talib's legal troubles and suspensions continued in the NFL, he also proved to be a highly capable cornerback in the pro game. 

The lesson for those trying to determine the Redskins draft board: Allen might be willing to look past red flags if a player presents good value. Talib did in 2008, and there could be opportunities for Washington in 2017.

Reuben Foster jumps to mind, as the talented Alabama linebacker will enter the league in the substance abuse program. While Foster's issues pale in comparison to other allegations about some draft prospects, players like Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley and Caleb Brantley will also present unique circumstances for NFL teams to evaluate. 

GMs are thrust into the unenviable task of determining a player's character, often in short periods of time. As 'Skins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained, the team grades every player for their football skills first, and only later adds in character information. From Campbell's comments:

When you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don’t factor in the character. You don’t grade character, you grade talent. So you don’t throw away somebody early that may have some redeeming quality, or there’s a side to the story you don’t know about. You grade football players as football players first on talent, and then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weeding all that, getting more information, deciding, ‘OK, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.

Thursday night the Redskins will be forced to make a determination on the right player for the team. That decision could include judging a player's character, and that could mean balancing legal or substance abuse troubles with talent and ability.

Talib is only one pick in Allen's long personnel career, but it's one worth noting. 

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