As the Washington Redskins prepared to head to Richmond for training camp, there was some idea of how their 53-main roster might look. Now, almost four weeks later, and with two preseason games in the books, that roster is taking shape.
Many areas have remained true to form, particularly when it comes to the starting lineup on offense. But change has started to take place on other fronts.
So, with two preseason games remaining and cutdown day looming 12 days from Tuesday, here’s an updated projection.
Quarterbacks (3): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld
The pecking order remains the same. Team officials hailed Sudfeld as a would-be first-round talent had he come out of college this year instead of last. But he’s not close to game ready.
Running backs (4): Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Mack Brown
Nothing has changed since the start of training camp. Perine showed growth in his Week 2 performance. But Kelley remains the starter, and rightfully so. Thompson seems primed for a big season as coaches have started using him on a larger variety of passing routes.
Wide receivers (6): Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant, Brian Quick, Robert Davis.
Here’s a change. Quick moves up to the fifth slot instead of Maurice Harris. Coaches really like Harris, but he hasn’t been able to get on the field because of what’s believed to be tendinitis in one of his knees. Meanwhile, Quick has displayed versatility as a receiver and a willing special teams contributor. Pre-camp, five wideouts seemed likely. But the Redskins just might keep six. Davis is raw but shows promise, and by contributing on multiple special teams units, he has a chance to land a spot. Zach Pascal, a rookie out of Old Dominion, has had some flashes, but he seems likely to land on the practice squad.
Tight ends (4): Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle
Jordan Reed’s injury has provided Niles Paul an opportunity to prove to coaches that he is healthy and remind them of how versatile and effective he can be. He has made plays as a tight end, lined up in four-receiver sets and played fullback and on special teams. Davis is the ageless one. Sprinkle has remarkable athleticism for his size, and he has done well as a blocking tight end, pass-catcher and at times at fullback. That potential probably elevates him above Derek Carrier.
Offensive line (8): Tackles Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe; guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Kyle Kalis; centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier
This unit has struggled, but coaches remain confident it will bounce back. The one surprise: Undrafted rookie Kyle Kalis overtook 2015 fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio as the backup guard. Kalis is big — 6-feet-4, 302 — physical and plays with a bit of a nasty streak. Kouandjio has the physical tools but seems to overthink instead of just playing freely; that appears to be hurting him.
Defensive line (6): Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, Phil Taylor, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis
When they signed Phil Taylor to a non-guaranteed deal in January, the Redskins didn’t expect that he would look this good. Now the former first-round pick has a chance to start at nose tackle after missing the past two seasons following knee surgery. Second-year players Lanier and Ioannidis have shown substantial growth. McGee has started to come on after a slow start. Fellow free agent signee Terrell McClain has been disappointing. Hood definitely has outplayed McClain at end and offers more versatility. Unless McClain, who signed a four-year, $21 million deal in March, makes some big splashes this week, he could be out.
Linebackers (9): Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette, Will Compton, Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Chris Carter, Martrell Spaight
The intrigue remains at inside linebacker where Brown seems set to start at the “Mo,” but Foster and Compton continue to duke it out for the “Mike” job. Galette hasn’t played in a preseason game yet, but he looked good in practices before a hamstring injury sidelined him. Carter has had an active preseason. Signed primarily as a special-teams player, he could work his way into a rotational spot at outside linebacker along with Anderson and Galette.
Cornerbacks (5): Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Fabian Moreau, Joshua Holsey
Wasting no time making up ground, Moreau had an active preseason debut last week, shining on special teams and on defense. The third-round pick got some action with the first team, playing in place of Josh Norman. Then he saw more time with the second unit and did so well that Norman praised him publicly. Moreau’s strong start likely spells doom for Quinton Dunbar. Meanwhile, Holsey, the seventh-round pick, appears poised to edge out Dashaun Phillips as the fifth corner and second nickelback.
Safeties (5): D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Will Blackmon
Entering camp, it seemed possible Nicholson would open the year on the physically unable to perform list. But instead, DeAngelo Hall is the player who has yet to see the field and could open the regular season on that list. Nicholson had a solid debut last week after spending the first two weeks further strengthening his surgically repaired shoulder. Nicholson saw an extended run against Green Bay and displayed good instincts, range and versatility. Everett has shown promise filling in for Cravens.
Specialists (3): Place-kicker Dustin Hopkins, punter Tress Way, long snapper Nick Sundberg
No surprises here — this trio will remain intact.
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