Way-Too-Early Redskins 53 Player Roster Prediction

Bold denotes starters

Quarterback (3)

Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

No movement here. Thought they'd add a quarterback, but you won't catch me complaining about the draft we just had. Next.

Running Back (3)

Semaje Perine, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley

Oklahoma's all time leading rusher and fourth rounder Semaje Perine should be the odds on favorite to be the week one starter. His vicious brand of downhill running will be a well suited to an offense in desperate need of a power running presence, especially with three good opposing run defenses in this division. Chris Thompson was a top-shelf third down back in 2016 and will continue to do so next fall. Rob Kelley is a nice back, but is better suited spelling Perine. Matt Jones is on his way out of town via either trade or being waived. Keith Marshall wasn't impressive last summer and would need to have a really good camp to unseat Kelley. 

Tight End (4)

Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis will continue to get lion's share of offensive snaps as the best pass catching duo of tight ends in the NFL. But I would expect to see Jeremy Sprinkle carve out a nice role for himself on obvious running downs. He should also contribute in the red zone, utilizing his 6'5, 253 lbs. frame to box out smaller defenders. I'll keep Niles Paul on as a special teams contributor, but now all but phased out of the offense, I wouldn't be surprised if he were released come September. 

Wide Receiver (6) 

Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Brian Quick, Robert Davis

If Josh Doctson's occasion Snap posts are any indication, this Achilles injury is just about cleared up. If the potentially electrifying second year player can stay healthy, he will line up across from the ascending talent that is Terrelle Pryor and the always dangerous slot threat that is Jamison Crowder to recreate a dynamic passing offense. Maurice Harris will have a bigger role on the outside in year 2. Robert Davis, his ridiculous measurable and intriguing upside, should be enough to (finally) push Ryan Grant off the roster. Veteran Brian Quick place on the 53 isn't a lock. His existence will likely be based on Harris and Davis' development and if they prove to be valuable contributors this year.

Offensive Line (8)

Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandijo, Ty Nsheke, Chase Roullier

For my (hypothetical) money, Trent Williams is the best in the business. Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses are no slouches, either as both are coming off Pro Bowl quality seasons. Spencer Long goes in his fourth season as the unquestioned starter for the first time in his career. Shawn Lauvao is likely a roster lock at this point, but could certainly lose his starting job if Arie Kouandijo takes the leap in year three or if Chase Roullier shows enough in camp to be a year one starter. Ty Nseke is back as one of the league's more reliable third swing tackles.  

Defensive Line (7)

Stacy McGee , Terrell McClain, Jonathan Allen, Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis, Phil Taylor, Ziggy Hood* 

Free agent additions Stacy McGee from Oakland and Terrell McClain from Dallas would start along side the uber talented Jonathan Allen in a revamped defensive line. Anthony Lanier has flashed enough over the past 12 months to not only secure a roster spot, but to be in heavy rotation with the starting unit. I'm intrigued by Matt Ioannidis' development under Tomsula going into his second year and former first round pick Phil Taylor's continued health. Both are massive and could help bolster the run D. I think Ziggy Hood sticks around on the initial 53 man roster, but only until Trent Murphy is off his four game suspension.   

Outside Linebacker (4)

Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Anderson, Preston Smith, Junior Galette

If everything goes to plan, this group could be an exciting bunch. Ryan Kerrigan is coming off another double digit sack Pro Bowl campaign and the Redskins spent a second round pick on his running mate Ryan Anderson. The former Alabama standout has the desire and toughness to be a stud patrolling the edge opposite Kerrigan. I expect him provide a stout presence against the run and quickly before a vocal leader on the defense. Although I wouldn't call Preston's 2016 season a bad one, but his regression was disappointing. Anderson was brought in to compete with Preston, despite starting all 16 games last year. If Smith doesn't find some more consistency before this summer, he may quickly fall out of favor with this staff. The wild card of the group continues to be Junior Galette. We've waited two years for to see his explosion off the edge and been deprived due to twin blown Achilles. If he is even 90% of what he was two years ago with the Saints, he will be a valued asset on passing down for this team. Trent Murphy will be back after his four game suspension and join Galette in sub package looks and help on special teams. If for some reason Smith, Galette or Murphy aren't on the final 53, perhaps Houston Bates has an outside chance to crack the roster.

Inside Linebacker (5)

Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight

I bet not many of you would guess that Mason Foster was a top 10 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. The fact of the matter is that Foster, by the metrics, is coming off his best season as a professional by far. He will be joined by Pro Bowler Zach Brown in the starting lineup to inject more speed and athleticism at the position. Seventh round pick Josh Harvey Clemons watched his draft stock plummet due to off the field issues and a hamstring injury, but not his talent. JHC is a good athlete and a physical player with position versatility. He played linebacker at University of Georgia and played plenty of nickel linebacker at Louisville. I think he is an ideal fit for a dime linebacker asked to cover tight ends and running backs, or even spy the more mobile quarterbacks on the Redskins schedule. I believe that Will Compton will garner playing time, probably won't be a starter with the addition of Brown and Harvey-Clemons. Martrell Spaight will fend off Steven Daniels for the last inside linebacker spot. UPDATE: Redskins senior writer Stephen Czarda reports that Harvey-Clemons will be listed as a linebacker on the Redskins depth chart. $ backer it is.

Cornerback (5)

Josh Norman, Baushad Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Joshua Holsey*

Josh Norman proved he was worth the money we paid him last April and I expect no different from him moving forward. Baushad Breeland had a mixed third season and is headed into a contract season. His talent is undeniable but needs to have more consistent 2017 if he wants an extension here. Quinton Dunbar has continued to be a good investment for the Redskins, whose continued to be an impressive wide receiver turned cornerback. Kendall Fuller could be better a year removed from microfracture surgery, but no one knows what to really expect from him. I am also not sold that he is equipped for the slot. I think he is better suited on the outside or even at free safety. Who I think could be a good candidate for a slot corner is seventh rounder Joshua Holsey. The four year starter at Auburn has two torn ACLs to his credit and is an injury risk, but is great at mirroring slot receivers and applying press coverage. I think that Holsey will initially make the roster while third rounder Fabian Moreau recovers from a torn pec and spends six weeks on the PUP list. But if Hosley can flash enough in camp and in Moreau's absence, he may be able to avoid the practice squad and secure a spot at someone else' expense. 

Safety (5)

DJ Swearinger, S'ua Cravens, Will Blackmon, Montae Nicholson, Fish Smithson

After being an abject disaster last season, the Redskins will have two new starters at the safety position in free agency addition DJ Swearinger and $ backer-turned-strong safety S'ua Cravens. Swearinger played very well in Arizona last year in three safety looks and filling in when Honey Badger was injured. Cravens flashed his rangy playmaking potential as nickel linebacker last year and projects well as a box safety with occasional cover two responsibilities. I believe that both Swearinger and Cravens are best when coming downhill to make plays rather than single high safeties. I am interested to see how they will be used on the field together. Surprise fourth round pick has monster measurables and athleticism desired from a safety but will likely have to make his mark on special teams. Undrafted prospect Fish Smithson has a chance to edge out aging and oft injured DeAngelo Hall and Deshazor Everett. Hes a bit undersized at 5'11 190 lbs. and isn't the best athlete in the safety room, but has good ball skills, instincts and a high enough of a football IQ to be a competent backup at free safety. Veteran Will Blackmon can not only add third safety & return man value, but can mentor the two rookie safeties. 

Special Teams (3)

Tress Way, Dustin Hopkins, Nick Sundberg

They're all safe. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.