There is no doubt that this is very preliminary but I thought it would interesting to look at how the cornerback and safety positions might play out. Now the team could decide to keep more players, but I'm guessing they keep nine defensive backs, likely five corners and four safeties. Today I'll look at the corner backs:
Josh Wilson: Wilson is a lock to make this team and should emerge as the number one cornerback on this team.
DeAngelo Hall: Hall might not be a lock to be with the Skins long term, but for next year at this point his job is safe. He's a bit overpaid, but he will be a starter.
Cedric Griffin: Griffin when healthy is a solid veteran who can also help out at FS. I wouldn't say he's a lock, but his versatility will likely keep him on the roster.
Brandyen Thompson: Thompson was a 7th round rookie last year who was brought up multiple times during the season. He'll be battling for a roster spot, but could have a led up given him having a little experience and potential.
Chase Minnifield: Minnifield is an undrafted rookie, but when healthy he has tremendous upside. He's a great guy to try to stash on the team for a year.
Kevin Barnes: Barnes is a former 3rd round pick who has been a nickel corner and spot starter at FS. While his versatility is nice, his play has been subpar overall. He's in the last year of his deal, so unless the team thinks they will keep him long term, he could lose out to a better developmental prospect. It's also possible the team may be able to use his former draft status to deal him during training camp to a team that maybe has an injury.
Richard Crawford: Crawford is an intriguing developmental prospect. He was a 7th round pick out of SMU, and was a 1st team Conference USA CB last year. He was just with the Mustangs for two years, after a stint at community college, so he is a bit raw overall. He's got nice size and decent ball skills. He also has some special teams (including returning) ability. He's likely a practice squad player, but has some long term potential.
Leigh Torrence: Torrence has bounced around the league a bit, but has never shown capable of a significant role. He offers some ability and insurance in case some of the young guys don't develop as quickly.
Overview: If the Redskins are looking at it from a single year perspective, then keeping Wilson, Hall, Griffin, Barnes and Torrence would give you the best talent. But it would significantly weaken their long term prospects. This is why I expect the Redskins to try to keep one if not two of Thompson, Minnifield, and Crawford on the active roster. My guess is the positional battle will come down to Griffin/Torrence/Barnes for the nickel role, and the three young CB's competeing for the 4th and 5th spots, with Barnes possibly in the mix there as well given his age (and versatility). Thompson and Minnifield should have the edge, though with MInnifield's injury the team may try to stash him on IR for the year.
Who do you think will make the cut for the Redskins (assume we keep 5)?
Steve Shoup will be covering Free Agency and the NFL Draft for his own site Fanspeak.com, but will provide write-ups on players for the Redskins here on Hogs Haven as well.