How many rookies make the 53-man roster?

May 20

Rookies are battling established stars, players added in free agency and guys returning from injury, like Richard Crawford, for jobs this season. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
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Rookie camp is in the rear-view mirror, and various fringe Redskins have been signed and released over the weekend. Yet we’re heading into summer, which is the season for possibly irrational high hopes for one below-the-radar player or another begin to take shape.

Following a coaching changeover that led into a free-agency period where increasing the team’s depth was the theme, how many spots on the roster are really available to be earned? Washington signed more than a dozen outside free agents, most of them significant, then drafted eight rookies last weekend. Ten more rookies were added as undrafted free agents, 38 were given tryout invites this past week, and here’s where the roster stands.

Here’s a quick look at the roster by position, listed alphabetically. The roster limit is 90 this time of year, and Washington has 88 signed players and two spots sitting open for Trent Murphy and Morgan Moses, draft picks who have yet to sign. Feel free to use the below to take stabs at the 53 down in the comments, but for now, the main purpose is to project which rookies can actually win jobs.

Quarterbacks (3): Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy.

Running backs (7): Roy Helu Jr., Alfred Morris, Silas Redd, Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk, Chris Thompson, Darrel Young.

Wide receivers (12): Lee Doss, Pierre Garcon, Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson, Cody Hoffman, Kofi Hughes, DeSean Jackson, Rashad Lawrence, Santana Moss, Andre Roberts, Aldrick Robinson, Nick Williams.

Tight ends (4): Ted Bolser, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen, Jordan Reed.

Interior O-line (10): Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Shawn Lauvao, Josh LeRibeus, Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Kevin Kowalski, Mike McGlynn, Tevita Stevens.

Tackles (4): Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Tyler Polumbus, Trent Williams.

Defensive line (11): Chris Baker, Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Clifton Geathers, Kedric Golston, Jason Hatcher, Jarvis Jenkins, Frank Kearse, Chris Neild, Robert Thomas, Doug Worthington.

Inside linebackers (7): Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan, Jeremy Kimbrough, Perry Riley Jr., Keenan Robinson, Darryl Sharpton.

Outside linebackers (7): Rob Jackson, Brandon Jenkins, Ryan Kerrigan, Gabe Miller, Trent Murphy, Brian Orakpo, Adrian Robinson.

Cornerbacks (11): David Amerson, E.J. Biggers, Courtney Bridget Jr., Bashaud Breeland, Richard Crawford, DeAngelo Hall, Chase Minnifield, Tracy Porter, Blake Sailors, Bryan Shepherd, Peyton Thompson.

Safeties (8): Ryan Clark, Akeem Davis, Tanard Jackson, Ross Madison, Brandon Meriweather, Bacarri Rambo, Trenton Robinson, Phillip Thomas.

Specialists (6): Ps Blake Clingan and Robert Malone; LSs Kyle Nelson and Nick Sundberg, Ks Kai Forbath and Zack Hocker.

On offense, there are 40 players competing for what should be 24 or 25 jobs. Quarterback looks pretty set. Seastrunk has as much chance to win a job as any sixth-round pick, but the competition from Helu and Thompson for a similar running-back roles won’t make it easy. Redd could be intriguing. A roster spot at wide receiver will be hard to come by as well for fifth-rounder Ryan Grant and UDFA Cody Hoffman. It could be tough for seventh-rounder Ted Bolser to unseat one of the three tight ends; he could end up on the practice squad. Morgan Moses and Spencer Long will probably make the team based on their third-round draft status.

Forty-four of the 90 roster spots are devoted to defense. Along the D-line, there’s a lot of competition, but not a lot of room for a rookie to make an impression. Second-rounder  Trent Murphy will make the team, and Bashaud Breeland probably will too, but competition for jobs in the secondary looks fierce. Many of these defensive players will have to stand out on special teams to earn a roster spot.

The Post Sports Live crew debates how many Redskins rookies can make the team's 53-man roster. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)

 

Having six specialists for three jobs ensures camp competition, and it’s hard to tell at this point how realistic a shot Hocker has at unseating Forbath. The punters have little NFL experience, but aren’t rookies.

So as nice at it is to have had eight draft picks and some promising free agents, it’s probably equally nice to look at a roster where all of them shouldn’t make the team outright. How many non-practice squad spots do you see rookies occupying on the final 53? I’ll go with six.

Opening Kick engages regular readers with a morning conversation starter, quick observation or poll. Click here for previous installments.

More from The Post:

Redskins announce joint practices with Patriots

Seastrunk: ‘I don’t have any weaknesses’

D.C. Sports Bog: Moses graduates U-Va. with team’s logo on cap

G Spencer Long makes good first impression | More rookie camp

NFL coverage: Home Page | Fancy Stats | The Early Lead | D.C. Sports Bog

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Keith McMillan · May 19

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