The Washington Redskins will need to cut its roster to 53 players before 4:00 PM on Saturday. Here are my predictions for the final roster.
QB: Smith, McCoy
The Redskins decide to go with two at QB this season and cut Kevin Hogan. Hogan had a rollercoaster preseason and he didn’t play well enough to take a roster spot away from someone else. Alex Smith will start at Quarterback with McCoy as his understudy.
RB: Thompson, Peterson, Kelley, Perine, Bibbs
Perhaps the most intense position battle all offseason was at running back. Peterson will likely take the starting role with Derrius Guice losing his rookie to injury. Thompson is another lock to make the roster as the third down back. After those two, things get a little bit messy. The Redskins decide to demote Perine due to his fumbling issues and turn to veteran back Rob Kelley at the backup role. Rounding out the group will be Kapri Bibbs. Bibbs makes it simply because he is great depth if one of the top guys go down. He can do whatever is asked of him, as we saw during the last couple of weeks of last season.
FB: JP Holtz
Washington was able to run noticeably better with a fullback on the field. For this reason, Holtz makes the roster
WR: Doctson, Richardson, Crowder, Harris, Quinn, Sims
Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson are slated to start on each sides of the field, with Jamison Crowder handling slot duties. Maurice Harris has the surest hands on the team and that opens up a roster spot for him. Trey Quinn provides depth in the slot as he develops. Cam Sims has shown out this preseason after going undrafted out of Alabama. He has done a great job making the most of his opportunities and no receiver on the bubble has shown as much potential as Sims.
TE: Reed, Davis, Sprinkle
Jordan Reed is one of the most dynamic tight ends in the NFL when healthy. Vernon Davis continues to provide great depth for the Skins. Jeremy Sprinkle will continue his development during his sophomore season.
OL: Williams, Lauvao, Roullier, Scherff, Moses, Nseke, Christian, Kalis
The Redskins boast one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. Highlighting the group are Pro Bowlers Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Chase Roullier and Morgan Moses are also above average starters at their respected positions. The only apparent hole in the line is at left guard where Shawn Lauvao is slated to be the starter, but he is serviceable. Nseke is a great tackle who is also able to play guard. Rookie Geron Christian has value in his ability to play both left and right tackle. Kalis provides interior depth. Look for Washington to add a lineman or two after roster cuts as the coaching staff reportedly wasn’t thrilled with the players brought in this offseason.
DL: Allen, Payne, Ioannidis, Settle, Taylor, Lanier II
Jonathan Allen looks to act as a cornerstone of the Redskins’ defense this year. Unfortunately, his rookie season was cut short to five games last year due to a Lisfranc injury. Washington drafted Da’Ron Payne out of Alabama in the first round of the draft this year. Payne has had a stellar preseason and will anchor the defensive line. Ioannidis has had an ascending career and his performance against New England echoed it. Settle has looked like a gem of a pick in the fifth round. Settle has shown the skills of a premier run stopper, but he has also helped rush the passer on occasion. Lanier is quality depth and Taylor looks to come back from a career ending Injury last preseason.
OLB: Kerrigan, Smith, Anderson, McPhee
Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith have developed into a solid pass rushing unit over the past three seasons. Expect them to combine for 15+ sacks this season. Ryan Anderson has reportedly slimmed down this offseason, but he hasn’t jumped out during games. However, I think Anderson will thrive in a situational pass rusher role, as Junior Galette did last year. McPhee comes over from Chicago and will provide great depth for Washington.
ILB: Brown, Foster, Vigil, Spaight, Hamilton
Zach Brown re-upped with a three-year deal with the Skins this offseason. Brown is one of the best tacklers in the league. He and Mason Foster will be the two starters in the middle of the defense. Behind them, the duo of Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight. Shaun Dion Hamilton has been a great addition in the draft, coming out of Alabama. His aggressive play style made the fourth quarters during the preseason watchable.
CB: Norman, Dunbar, Moreau, Stroman, Alexander, Johnson
Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar will be the starters on the outside for Washington. The starting slot corner is still undecided, as far as I know. I expect Fabian Moreau to start in the slot after two years of development behind Kendall Fuller. Former Hokies Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander have each had their moments during the preseason, but need time to develop. Danny Johnson quickly became a fan favorite during training camp and should see some playing time this year.
S: Swearinger, Nicholson, Apke, Everett
DJ Swearinger will start Strong Safety opposite Montae Nicholson. Troy Apke is a project and he will need a year or two to develop. His tackling needs to improve before he gets the nod, but he will get reps on special teams. Everett is still, in my opinion, an above average back-up. He provides great depth for Washington.
Dustin Hopkins is a solid kicker; despite what you may hear on twitter. Hopkins will be the team’s starter this year.
Tress Way is not only one of the more underrated punters in the NFL, but he is one of the better punters in the league. Way will be the team’s starting punter this season.
Nick Sundberg is a great player and person. He is one of the most charitable players on the team and deserves more recognition. Sundberg will start at long snapper for Washington this year.