The Washington Redskins added defensive back depth in Wednesday’s supplemental draft by taking Adonis Alexander from Virginia Tech. The Redskins will have to forfeit their highest sixth round pick in the 2019 draft, but are still in good position to add to their roster via the draft next year.
Jay Gruden and the coaching staff must believe in Alexander’s readiness for the NFL by taking him in the supplemental draft. Supplemental draft picks miss out on OTAs and offseason workouts, and need to have the ability to hit the ground running. Alexander is positioned to make the 2018 opening day roster for the Redskins as a low-risk, high-reward player.
In an expansion of the Mock Roster outlook, I will briefly explain why the positions will be constructed this way.
QB (2) – Alex Smith, Colt McCoy
Why: For the first time in a few season the Washington Redskins have ensured stability at the quarterback position with Alex Smith. Smith is starting to see the finish line to his career and may end up retiring as a Redskin. Colt McCoy has been a serviceable back-up and has come through on occasion when the Redskins have needed him. Kevin Hogan would be the guy to supplant McCoy, but he will most likely end up on the practice squad to make room for another position player.
RB (4) – Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, Semaje Perine
Why: Derrius Guice has put a display with his running power, shiftiness and route running abilities during OTAs. He is the entire package that the Redskins have been looking for since Clinton Portis suited up. Chris Thompson will be the main third down back coming off of a fractured fibula and all indications is that he will be ready for opening week. Jay Gruden has not been shy about his love for Rob Kelley which makes me believe that he will have one more go at it in 2018 with Semaje Perine searching for playing time. Kapri Bibbs is a dark horse to make the roster out of camp. Bibbs is looked at as a Thompson type back up in case there is an injury mid-game and someone that could contribute to special teams.
WR (6) – Josh Docston, Paul Richardson, Jameson Crowder, Maurice Harris, Trey Quinn, Robert Davis
Why: The top three receivers are locked in and positioned to have great years with an improved running game. Maurice Harris has quietly been getting better and has seen an increase in regular season snap counts over the past two years and it is his spot to lose. Trey Quin and Robert Davis are the fan favorites to make the roster out of camp. Quinn has shown off his route running abilities and willingness to do the little things on special teams. He will have the opportunity to spell Crowder in emergency situations.
TE (3) – Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
Why: When healthy, Jordan Reed is arguably the most dominant tight end in the NFL. However, he has not been a reliable week to week starter which has allowed Vernon Davis to shine. Davis is expected to pick up where he left off with Alex Smith in San Francisco and have a sneaky good statistical season. Jeremy Sprinkle has been discussed quietly as the tight end of the future and has been a project. Sprinkle will see more playing time this year with the Redskins only keeping three tight ends on the roster showcasing his abilities in what could be Jordan Reed’s final year.
T (4)– Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsehke, Geron Christian
Why: The only question about the tackle position is if Geron Christian can handle himself during the preseason should Williams, Moses and Nsehke go down with injuries. That is not out of the question, but Christian could be put on the spot throughout the season to show that he can step in and be a starter in the NFL.
G (3)– Brendan Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Tyler Catalina
Why: Scherff is a no brainer at right guard. It will be left guard that everyone will need to keep an eye on. Lauvao returned to the Redskins without much fanfare and with good reason. He is a nice stop gap but has a propensity to get injured and miss chunks of a season. Tyler Catalina will likely see significant time at left guard if he does not have to fill in for Chase Roullier at center. There could also be a late training camp addition via free agency or trade to solidify the left guard position.
C (1) – Chase Roullier
Why: Roullier is the only player on the roster currently with enough experience to start at center this year. Barring anything catastrophic, he will be starting Week 1. Tyler Catalina will be his primary back-up should he falter or get injured.
DL (6)– Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood
Why: The defensive line is arguably the most improved aspect of the Redskins going into 2018. Allen and Ioannidis will be the tandem to start at the ends with Payne being your starter up the middle. Lanier is a borderline starter and will wreak havoc on an opposing teams offensive line with fresh legs. Settle will be the direct back up to Payne and will add a meatier body along the goal line to stop short distance runs. Ziggy Hood has been one of the smartest and most consistent Redskins since he has arrived. I expect him to beat out Stacy McGee for the final spot on the defensive line.
OLB (5)– Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee, Ryan Anderson, Josh Harvey-Clemons
Why: Much like the cornerback situation, the top four outside linebackers have cemented their positions on the roster. Kerrigan and Smith will be your starters with McPhee rotating in on passing downs. Ryan Anderson is looking to bounce back from a sub-par season and make the case that he is ready to be a starter in the NFL should Preston Smith not re-sign. Josh Harvey-Clemons has proven to be a reliable back-up and stop gap when players need a play or two off. He could be on the outside looking in if he does not perform well early in camp.
ILB (5)– Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Martrell Speight, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Zach Vigil
Why: Outside of the offensive line, the inside linebacker position might be the weakest depth wise. Brown and Foster have solidified themselves as the starts with Speight holding down the immediate back-up role after his performance last year. Hamilton adds youth and a speed factor that can spell either Brown or Foster for a play or two without missing a beat. I would expect to see Hamilton get a fair share of work on special teams this year with Vigil continuously looking over his shoulder for his replacement.
CB (7) – Joshn Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Adonis Alexander, Greg Stroman, Joshua Holsey
Why: The top four spots are set with Norman and Dunbar on the outside and Scandrick in the slot. Do not be surprised if Moreau ousts him and starts Week 1 as the slot corner and Scandrick moved to a Dime role. Scandrick’s contract is built to be a stop gap until the younger defensive backs gain more experience. Stroman and Holsey could wind up battling for the final cornerback spot with the Redskins choosing to go with five safeties.
S (4) – D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke
Why: Swearinger and Nicholson will be the starts come Week 1 with Everett seeing time in either Nickle/Dime packages. Apke is an ideal mold for what the Redskins are wanting to improve upon with special teams. Fish Smithson could sneak in onto the final roster, but that means either Stroman or Holsey will lose their spot. If Smithson performs beyond expectations during the preseason, look for him to be stashed on the practice squad.
K (1) – Dustin Hopkins
Why: There are not a lot of kickers out there that have the leg of Hopkins. He can boot it with the best of them. This is his position to lose due to injury or if he completely falls apart in the preseason. There is a possibility, with the kick off rule changes being put in place, that he could be cut during the regular season if he continues to have issues with high pressure field goals.
P (1) – Tress Way
Why: Sam Irwin Hill was cut to make room on the 90-man preseason roster for Adonis Alexander. Unless Tress comes up with an injury during the preseason, he will be the starter Week 1.
LS (1) – Nick Sundberg
Why: This is Sundberg’s position to lose. It is highly unlikely he will be replaced until he retires.
Italics = Rookie