Wide Receiver is one of the deepest positions on the Washington Redskins roster, and will be one of the most interesting training camp battles to watch throughout the pre-season.
At the start of training camp the Redskins Wide Receiver corps includes: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, Jerry Rice Jr., Rashad Lawrence, Cody Hoffman, and Lee Doss. That's 13 men fighting for five or six spots.
The top three on the roster are solidified, Garcon, Jackson, and Roberts are locks to make the roster and will see by far the most action when it comes to the regular season. However, after the top three the depth chart gets a bit more muddled.
Ryan Grant is a Jay Gruden draft pick, and has impressed throughout OTA's and training camp. He likely has the inside track for a roster spot. That leaves two spots open between nine remaining players. One of the biggest factors in how these final two spots shake out is Hankerson's health. Hankerson is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in week 11 of the 2013 season, and is currently on the PUP list (physically unable to perform). Does Hankerson open the season on the PUP list, leaving the door open for another receiver to prove himself? That remains to be seen, so we will examine both scenarios.
Jay Gruden's has spoken highly of veteran Santana Moss and he it looks like he could be a part of the teams plans heading forward. If Hankerson is ready to go week one, early indications are that Hankerson and Moss would man the final two spots, giving the Redskins a receiving core of Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, Grant, Moss, and Hankerson.
However, if Hankerson is not ready to go week one and lands on the PUP list, the Redskins will have a tough decision to make when it comes to the final roster spot. Do they keep around Aldrick Robinson who has flashed potential but has yet to show consistency? The Redskins also acquired a far superior deep threat in DeSean Jackson this off-season hurting Robinson's chances of making the final 53‑man. Or do the Redskins give a younger player like Cody Hoffman a chance? I like Hoffman because he gives the Redskins an element they currently lack, size. Hoffman is 6'4" and is easily the biggest target on the Redskins roster. If Hankerson isn't ready week one, the Redskins could use Hoffman's size (With Hankerson out, the Redskins next biggest receiver is only 6').
Special teams will be another big factor in deciding the final cuts at the receiver position, and I also like Hoffman's potential impact there a bit more than Robinson's. Hoffman has some returning experience (but has not been working with the returners during practice), and could use his size and speed to be a solid gunner for the Skins.
This will be one of the best position battles to watch throughout camp, and will likely continue deep into the pre-season. My prediction is that Hankerson will not be ready for week 1, and open up on the PUP list, and the Redskins will head to Houston on September 7th with Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, Grant, Moss, and Hoffman as their receivers.