All NFL teams must cut down to a final 53-man roster by 4 p.m. Saturday, and the Redskins’ bubble players had one more chance to make an impression against the Ravens on Thursday night. Here is our final projection, although it’s worth keeping in mind that the team could sign a player who isn’t currently on its 90-man roster, after players become available from other teams’ cuts.
Teams also have a 10-man practice squad to fill.
Quarterbacks (2): Alex Smith, Colt McCoy
Smith is the starter, and McCoy is his backup. Nothing has changed since the Smith trade became official in March. Kevin Hogan made a run at it and deserves to be on an NFL roster, but the numbers aren’t in his favor. A third quarterback is less of an immediate need than another linebacker or defensive back. A pair of interceptions Thursday night didn’t help, although he threw for three touchdowns and played well early.
Running backs (4): Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs
Peterson solidified his spot on the roster in the third preseason game when he ran for 56 yards on 11 carries. Thompson is a lock as one of the league’s better third-down backs, despite having not played in preseason games as he recovers from a broken leg. Kelley had a good showing Thursday, as he had throughout the summer, so he’s a good bet to make the roster. The team is most likely to keep just four running backs, and the final spot will come down to what the team decides it values: another early-down back in Samaje Perine, or insurance for Thompson in Bibbs. This is as close of a competition as there is at any position, but we’ll give the nod to Bibbs here.
Wide receiver (6): Paul Richardson Jr., Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Trey Quinn, Maurice Harris, Brian Quick
There was never any question regarding the starting trio of Richardson, Doctson and Crowder. Quinn was the last pick of the draft but has shown excellent hands and strong route-running. He’s spent the summer learning the slot from Crowder. Harris continuously made plays in practice and preseason before a concussion took him off the field. The injury would seem to be the lone reason to keep him off the team. The real competition is likely for the final spot between seventh-year veteran Brian Quick and undrafted rookie Cam Sims. Quick stood out early but was hindered by a thigh injury. Sims began making highlight catches late in the process and shined in the first two preseason games, but didn’t play well in the last two. He has excellent size but isn’t always physical enough fighting for the ball in the air. The team would love to keep Sims on the practice squad.
Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
Reed is the most dynamic offensive weapon on the roster, and Davis still has underrated speed at 34 years old. Sprinkle is the best pass-catcher of the remaining tight ends.
Offensive line (8): Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tony Bergstrom
The offensive line was fairly simple with the entire starting offensive line returning — Williams, Moses, Lauvao, Roullier and Scherff. Nsekhe and third-round pick Christian are the swing tackles, and Nsekhe can help at guard if need be. Bergstrom brings the versatility of being able to play backup center and guard. Tyler Catalina was on the bubble, but is out for the year after having shoulder surgery.
Defensive linemen (6): Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier
The top defensive linemen were also pretty clear-cut, with the pair of Alabama first-round picks in Payne and Allen, starter Ioannidis, fifth-round pick Settle, Hood and Lanier. Phil Taylor is the odd man out. Stacy McGee would be on this list but will probably start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Linebackers (10): Ryan Kerrigan, Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Martrell Spaight, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Zach Vigil
Linebacker will be one of the most difficult decisions for the coaches considering the numbers can be flexible and this position is also expected to heavily contribute on special teams. Kerrigan, Brown, Foster, Smith, Anderson and McPhee are locks. Spaight has the most game experience of the rest and has stood out among the reserves. Hamilton has a ton of upside as a rookie but also has an injury history. First out is Pete Robinson, who is a strong practice squad candidate but blew some assignments Thursday when he needed to play well.
Cornerback (6): Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Greg Stroman, Adonis Alexander, Danny Johnson
The Redskins committed to a youth movement in the secondary, barring any post-cut additions. Norman, Dunbar and Moreau are easily the top three. Stroman has been up and down since being drafted in the seventh round, but his return skills make him safe. Alexander has ideal size at 6-foot-3, 197 pounds and has played catch-up since being selected in the supplemental draft. Johnson was one of the biggest surprises of camp as an undrafted rookie out of Southern. Josh Holsey will eventually be part of this group, but he missed all of camp with a foot injury and could start the season on the PUP list. Ranthony Texada has practice squad potential.
Safety (5): Montae Nicholson, D.J. Swearinger, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke, Kenny Ladler
The top four of Nicholson, Swearinger, Everett and fourth-round pick Apke have been clear, although Apke has struggle of late and missed several tackles in the final two preseason games. Ladler brings the versatility of being able to play safety or cornerback.
Special teams (3): Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg
These three didn’t have any competition during camp.
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