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Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 05/14/2012

Redskins’ starters shaping up

The Washington Redskins’ added one of the last missing pieces to their offense by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with veteran running back Tim Hightower.

That adds Hightower to a running back mix that features Roy Helu, Evan Royster and sixth-rounder Alfred Morris. Let the competition begin.

The team will hold its first round of organized team activities next week. They will run on May 21, 23 and 24th, May 29-31 and June 4-7. The team’s mandatory minicamp takes place June 11-14, and then comes a lull in the action until late July, when training camp kicks off.

Many starting jobs appear to be decided, but some remain up for grabs. Sure, it’s early and a lot could – and likely will – change between now and the start of the season. But let’s take a look at the projected starting lineups and possible position battles on offense and defense.

OFFENSE:

QB Robert Griffin III

RB Tim Hightower. Challengers: Roy Helu, Evan Royster

FB Darrel Young

TE Fred Davis. Challenger: Chris Cooley

WR: Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson. Challengers: Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, Terrence Austin

LT: Trent Williams

LG: Kory Lichtensteiger. Challengers: Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

C: Will Montgomery

RG: Chris Chester

RT: Jammal Brown. Challengers: Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus

Notes: Hightower is coming back from a torn ACL, but Redskins coaches consider him valuable. He’s the most well-rounded of the backs on the roster and a strong leader. Helu and Royster aim to overtake him with a year of playing time under their belts. … The Redskins don’t currently have a backup fullback on the roster, but Kyle Shanahan’s three-receiver and double-tight end sets often eliminate the need for a fullback. … It will be interesting to see how things play out at wide receiver, where Garcon and Morgan, or Hankerson, will likely start. Those three are likely to be on the field together often, with either Morgan or Hankerson lining up in the slot. How does that affect Santana Moss? Judging by Coach Mike Shanahan’s comments last week, it sounds as if the soon-to-be 33-year-old will be reduced to a reserve role. But he also has Banks and Robinson eying snaps at that slot receiver position. … Lichtensteiger continues to make progress in his return from torn knee ligaments, but LeRibeus (who also is being groomed as a backup center) or Gettis could contend for that starting left guard job. … Right tackle will be interesting. Shanahan says he feels much better about Jammal Brown and his hip after an offseason of rehab, but will the former Pro Bowl tackle be able to truly return to form? If not, does the team go with a promising second-year player in Smith with Polumbus and sixth-rounder Tom Compton as the backup tackles? … Another key competition is at kicker, where incumbent Graham Gano and free agent signing Neil Rackers face off.

DEFENSE

DE: Adam Carriker. Challenger: Jarvis Jenkins

NT: Barry Cofield

DE: Stephen Bowen

OLB: Ryan Kerrigan

ILB: London Fletcher

ILB: Perry Riley

OLB: Brian Orakpo

CB: DeAngelo Hall

CB Josh Wilson

SS: Brandon Meriweather. Challengers: Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes

FS: DeJon Gomes. Challengers: Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams, Doughty

Notes: The front seven remains intact thanks to the re-signings of Fletcher and Carriker, but the team gets a valuable addition with the return of Jenkins, who missed all of his rookie season with a torn ACL. He figures to see significant snaps at both left and right defensive end. The team also brought back the reliable Kedric Golston, who can spell either end as well, and is counting on second-year pro Chris Neild for depth at nose tackle. … Hall and Wilson both return, but there will be competition at nickelback. Kevin Barnes remains under contract, but the team signed veteran Leigh Torrence and undrafted rookie Chase Minnifield, and also has second-year back, Brandyn Thompson. And where does Cedric Griffin fit? … The biggest question mark involves the two safety positions. Gone are LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe, and there are some uncertainties about nearly every player in the mix. Can Meriweather return to the two-time Pro Bowl form he showed in New England in 2009 and 2010, or will he disappoint as he did in Chicago, where he lost his job after four games? Can Gomes flourish in his second season and hold down the free safety duties? Or will one of two free agent signings, Jackson or Williams, claim the job?

More on the Redskins:

Monk is lead plaintiff in concussion lawsuit

Throwback uniforms

Upgrades at Redskins Park

By  |  12:04 PM ET, 05/14/2012

 
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