Predicting the 53 - Training Camp Edition

Earlier in the summer, I predicted the Redskins 53 man roster. Several developments two weeks into training camp have prompted some adjustments in my predictions. As of this afternoon, this is how I see the Redskins roster shaking out. We will mock one more 53 before the final preseason game. 

Italics = 2013 rookie * = Anticipated starter, List represents depth chart.

OFFENSE (25)

Quarterbacks (2)

OTA Edition: *Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman

Now:  Griffin III, Cousins

On The Bubble:  Rex Grossman 

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Kirk Cousins has shown enough this camp to justify cutting Rex Grossman. Plus, its not like teams are beating down the door to acquire Sexy Rexy. He has been in the system long enough that if the Redskins need him back on the roster for any reason, the team can resign him. 

Backs (5)

OTA Edition: *Alfred Morris,

*Darrell Young, Roy Helu Jr., Chris Thompson

Now: *Morris, *Young, Helu Jr., Royster, Thompson

On The Bubble:  Jawan Jamison

If healthy, the Redskins will count on Roy Helu Jr. (far right) to spell Alfred Morris in 2013. Keiland Williams (far left) and rookie Jawan Jamison (middle) will vy for one of the team's final roster spots. 

I now believe that the Redskins will opt to keep Evan Royster on the roster. Not necessarily because he has had an impressive camp, but because Chris Thompson still isn't at 100% and hasn't practiced much. The risk that Thompson and the oft-injury Helu could be the only backups to Alfred Morris is one that the Redskins shouldn't take. They keep Royster for insurance. 

Wide Receivers (5)

OTA Edition: *Pierre Garcon, *Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson

Now: *Garcon, *Morgan, Moss, Hankerson, Robinson

On The Bubble:  Dez Briscoe, Skye Dawson

Wideout Leonard Hankerson has impressed thus far at training camp. The third-year pro out of Miami needs to display more consistency in 2013.

Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Santana Moss are all locks barring injury. Despite his inconsistency, Leonard Hankerson's third round draft status keeps him safe for at least one more season. Aldrick Robinson is retained simply because of his speed. By all accounts, he is having a good camp and has improved on his route-running. His ability to take the top off a defense is unique to this team as no other wideout possesses the same skill. Dez Briscoe and Skye Dawson are intriguing, but they lose out on the number's game.  

Tight Ends (4)

OTA Edition: *Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Jordan Reed

Now:  *Davis, Paulsen, Paul, Reed

On The Bubble:  None

A healthy Fred Davis adds another weapon to an already stellar Redskins' offense.

Fred Davis is a dynamic play maker in the open field as is rookie Jordan Reed. The thought of both of them on the field at once should give opposing defensive coordinators insomnia on Saturday nights before Redskins games. Logan Paulsen is the team's best blocking tight end and Niles Paul is the Skins' best utility player with Lorenzo Alexander gone. 

Tackle (3)

OTA Edition:   *Trent Williams, *Tyler Polumbus, Jeremy Trueblood 

Now: *Williams, *Polumbus, Tom Compton

On The Bubble:  Jeremy Trueblood, Tony Pashos, Xavier Nixon

Officially giving Tom Compton the edge over the competition for the backup tackle spot. Among the three candidates, Compton is the long player that can back up Trent Williams at left tackle in case of injury. Jeremy Trueblood hasn't had the camp that Redskins officials would have hoped he would. Same goes for Tony Pashos. Xavier Nixon is still an intriguing layer, but will benefit from a year on the practice squad. 

Guard (5)

OTA Edition: *Kory Lichtensteiger, *Chris Chester, Josh LiRibeus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

Now: *Lichtensteiger, *Chester, LiRibeus, Gettis, Hurt

  On The Bubble:  None

Versatility is the name of the game as I anticipate the Redskins keeping five guards (four of which play multiple positions with Chris Chester being the exception). Lichtensteiger, LiRibeus and Gettis can play both guard spots and center. Hurt can slide out and play right tackle in a pinch. 

Center (1)

OTA Edition: *Will Montgomery

Now:  *Montgomery

On The Bubble:  None

Will Montgomery played at an All-Pro level last season with little fanfare. I don't foresee any player on the roster removing Monty from his starting role.

DEFENSE (25)

Nose Tackle (3)

OTA Edition: *Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Chris Neild

Now:  *Cofield, Baker, Neild

On The Bubble:  None

When I initially made these predictions, I was unsure about keeping both Chris Baker and Chris Neild. Now, with defensive ends Adam Carriker (quad injury) and Jarvis Jenkins (four-game suspension on the shelf, keeping Neild and Baker is a necessity. Not only will they relieve Barry Cofield, but both players will be called upon to relieve Kedric Golston who is the likely started at end by default.

D-Ends (4)

OTA Edition: *Stephen Bowen, *Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston 

Now:  *Bowen, *Golston, Phillip Merling, Ron Brace

On The Bubble:  None

No position on the Redskins is in as much flux as is defensive end. Stephen Bowen is a stalwart at left defensive end, but right D-end is very much up in the air. As previously mentioned, Golston will probably start the first four games in Jenkin's absence. Free agent signees Phillip Merling and Ron Brace will have to have disastrous preseason to not make the roster as backups. 

Inside Backers (4)

OTA Edition: *London Fletcher, *Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Bryan Kehl, Marvin Burdette

Now: *Fletcher, *Riley, Kehl, Nick Barnett

On The Bubble:  Rodderick, Muckleroy

Newly signed linebacker Nick Barnett will wear # 90 for the Redskins

London Fletcher and Perry Riley return for another year in the middle of the Redskins' LB corps. However, Keenan Robinson's torn pec throws a monkey wrench in the Skins' plans. Robinson was slated to be the primary back and the team's top nickel linebacker. Now other arrangements have to be made, including signing former Packer and Bill Nick Barnett. The ten-year veteran will be the primary back-up to London Fletcher, especially on passing downs.  Bryan Kehl will see time is several defensive packages too, as well as become a staple on special teams.

Rodderick Muckleroy has a chance to still make the 53, but the signing of Barnett was a clear sign that the Skins' staff don't trust him. Will need a spectacular preseason to earn a roster spot. 

Outside Backers (4)

OTA Edition: *Brian Orakpo, *Ryan Kerrigan, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Jenkins

Now:  *Orakpo, *Kerrigan, Tapp, Jenkins

On The Bubble:  None

Ryan Kerrigan will benefit from having Brian Orakpo, the other half of the Redskins' bookend pass-rushers, back from injury this season. 

Speaking of monkey wrenches, Rob Jackson's four game suspension will make cut-down day quite interesting for the Redskins. While Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are locks as starters, the primary backup (ie Jackson's replacement) is still questionable. Both Darryl Tapp and rookie Brandon Jenkins can rush the passer, but both struggle in coverage. I can envision a scenario where the Redskins use both as pass-rush specialist, at least until Jackson returns from suspension. Jackson's presence in coverage will be missed, as he picked off four passes last year.      

Corners (6)

OTA Edition: *DeAngelo Hall, *David Amerson, Josh Wilson, Richard Crawford, E.J. Biggers

Now: Hall, Amerson, Wilson, Crawford, Biggers, Chase Minnefield 

On The Bubble: None

Chase Minnifield's surprising performance at Redskins training camp has him in the running for the 53-man roster 

My corner back prediction goes from five to six due to the fact that Chase Minnifield has looked great in training camp. The second-year pro out of Virginia missed all of last season with a bum knee, the same knee that many believe would put an end to his career before it started. However, Minnifield has held up thus far, surpassing expectations.

The Skins will find ways to use all six of these guys in a variety of ways. Good franchises usually have the foresight to rebuild needy positions before its necessary. Retaining David Amerson, Richard Crawford, EJ Biggers and Minnifield at corner back will soften the blow in 2014 when the Redskins lose DeAngelo Hall (and also Josh Wilson, in my opinion).     

Free Safeties (1)

OTA Edition: *Bacarri Rambo

Now: *Rambo

On The Bubble:  DeJon Gomes

Redskins rookie defensive backs (from left to right: Amerson, Rambo & Thomas) should be instant contributors in 2013 

Bacarri Rambo has raised some eyebrows during camp. The rookie's success can somewhat be traced to U of Georgia's linebacker coach Kirk Olivadotti (who was a defensive coach for the Skins between '00-'11). Per Rambo, the transition has been seamless because of familiarity with schemes and terminology. Armed with a preexisting knowledge of the system, Rambo can start and be successful in his first year in the NFL.

Strong Safeties (3) 

 OTA Edition: *Brandon Meriweather, Phillip Thomas, Reed Doughty

Now:  *Meriweather, Thomas, Doughty

On The Bubble:  Jordan Pugh

Rambo, veteran Brandon Meriweather and fellow rookie Phillip Thomas can all play both the safety positions and will probably get equal snaps in games. The adequate depth and superb special teams play that Reed Doughty brings keeps him around for another season. 

SPECIALISTS (3)

OTA Edition: *Sav Rocca, *Kai Forbath, *Nick Sundberg

Now:  

The 2012 gang is back for more. Gone is long-time special teams coach Danny Smith, in is Keith Burns who coached with Mike Shanahan in Denver. I firmly believe the blocked kicks over the past two years are more of a scheme problem than personnel problem.

All three are healthy and trustworthy. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.