Roster Battles: Cornerbacks 8/28/12

Will Brandyn Thompson be the last man in for the Redskins this offseason?

Pretty eventful Monday, right? Thirteen Redskins were cut, along with Kevin Barnes being traded to Detroit. Although the draft pick he was traded for is undisclosed and conditional, the deal already has the early makings of a win-win situation for both teams. Barnes will provide an immediate upgrade to a shaky Lions secondary, and the Redskins can free-up some space at what was a crowded battle at cornerback. Not coincidentally, that is the position that will be addressed on today’s roster battles.

DeAngelo Hall (10/PUSH): Everyone knows his spot is safe, but what exactly his "spot" is remains to be seen. Hall has assumed something of a joker role on defense so far this preseason, lining up in the slot, the perimeter and even taking a few reps at free safety. Having to cover shiftier receivers in the slot or having the opportunity to make plays as a ball-hawking presence up top should suit Hall’s skill-set well, but a significant adjustment period needs to be had before anyone would see him reap the benefits of trying something new.

Josh Wilson (10/PUSH): Wilson has been the most contested first-team cornerback on the team thus far, but he’s also been the best. With a full offseason absorbing Jim Haslett’s system, Wilson is playing more instinctively than what he displayed a season ago. With uncertainty beneath him on the depth chart, that type of play from him is all the more welcome.

Richard Crawford (8/UP): The Colts’ offense provided Richard Crawford with more struggles than he had displayed in his first two games,missing a tackle and allowing a few passes his way to be completed. Though he was shaky this time around, what speaks more about his standing with the team is the fact that the Redskins just dealt Kevin Barnes. If Crawford hadn’t performed as well as he has in camp and in games thus far, Barnes is without a doubt still on the team and Crawford’s path to the final roster isn’t as clear-cut as it is now.

Cedric Griffin (6/DOWN): His struggles this preseason are well-documented, but let’s face it—the Redskins are going to need Cedric Griffin this year. He is the biggest cornerback they have, and could potentially be the most physical, which would serve the Redskins well when teams that greatly utilize their tight ends line up across from their defense (ready for the Saints, anyone?).

Brandyn Thompson (6/UP): This is my first projection with Brandyn Thompson above the cut line, which I had considered doing even before the Kevin Barnes deal. Now, I have no choice but to project him here. Thompson had a solid outing versus the Colts, offering tight coverage and breaking up a pass. Like Wilson, Thompson also seems to be reaping the benefits of having a full offseason to digest a complex defense.

BELOW THE CUT LINE

David Jones (5/Push): We’ve seen Jones lay the hammer down this preseason, but that’s pretty much all we’ve seen him do at this point. Usually, when a cornerback’s biggest strength is tackling, it’s often the case that he doesn’t have the same dominance in coverage. There are of course very good corners in the league that serve as exceptions to that statement, but let’s just leave it at David Jones isn’t one of them. Despite this, Jones has performed well on special teams, which could still earn him a spot on the roster. Consider Wednesday’s game versus the Buccaneers to serve as a direct competition between Jones and Thompson for the final cornerback position. The spot could very well go to the player that has the better game.

Morgan Trent (0): Morgan Trent was released from the Redskins after both parties agreed on an injury settlement.

Kevin Barnes (0): Kevin Barnes was traded to the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed conditional draft pick.

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