Predicting the 53-man roster ahead of time is hard. I'd be shocked if anyone predicted it 100% correct. There are always surprises and fans are usually split on the results. You'll have fans who fall in love with certain players and deem the final roster a failure if their besties are left off and you'll have others who will see the positive no matter what and put all their trust in the coaching staff. I tend to lean more the second group because I know that the coaching staff has more information than I do. Still, everything can be viewed with a critical eye.
The thing that jumps out the most is the RB situation. Nobody saw that coming. Here we have a couple speed backs that provide an element to the backfield not found in other players on the team and a guy in Evan Royster who just always seems to make the team. Nope! Forget about all those guys because we went with the undrafted rookie Silas Redd after a strong preseason. I think most fans should be ecstatic about hanging onto Redd, but most are either surprised, disappointed, or both about losing any one or two of the other three. Don't worry, we're going to be seeing a lot of Morris, Helu, and DY this year and the others probably won't matter much.
It's also interesting that we have a Punter that's never played (can't be worse than Rocca last year, right?). We have a starting Safety that's going to miss the first two games and is backed up by one of the most inexperienced Safety groups in the league (though they're ST's aces). And we also have a couple guys on PUP and IR. The team will have to decide what to do with Stephen Bowen and Leonard Hankerson after the sixth week of the season and also placed Chris Neild and Darryl Sharpton on IR. Here's a list of all the cuts:
- RB - Evan Royster
- RB - Lache Seastrunk
- RB - Chris Thompson
- WR - Lee Doss
- OLB - Everette Brown
- CB - Chase Minnifield
- S - Phillip Thomas
- K - Zach Hocker
- WR - Nick Williams
- OL - Maurice Hurt
- OL - Tevita Stevens
- S - Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith
- DL - Robert Thomas
- CB - Richard Crawford
- TE - Ted Bolser
- OL - Kevin Kowalski
- P - Robert Malone
Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
This is the same as what I predicted and pretty much everyone has agreed that all three would make the roster for a while now. McCoy proved his worth in the preseason and who knows what the future holds for Cousins.
Offensive Line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long
Another group exactly as predicted. Maurice Hurt stuck around longer than most predicted and for a little while there, it seemed like he might make it. This gives us the best group of OL we could have made out of the original 90. We're obviously a little thin at C, especially with Mike McGlynn gone, but we have depth everywhere else on the line. LeRib and Compton are the immediate back-ups for now and Moses and Long will be groomed for next year. It's an ideal situation for those two. On the downside, Chester, Kory, and Polumbus are all below-average starters. Hopefully the line can get back to 2012 form.
Wide Receiver (6)
Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson, Santana Moss
Another group predicted correctly. These were the six best WR's on the team and it's really not even close. Nick Williams looked better than expected and was definitely #7, but it would have been difficult for the team to keep seven WR's (some people expected only five). It'll be interesting to see what they do whenever Hankerson is healthy, but I like the group overall. So much for all those people that wanted Moss gone...
Tight End (3)
Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
OK, I'm doing really good so far. Honestly, everyone who knows the Redskins saw this group from a mile away. Bolser is young and may find himself on the practice squad. Overall, it's a good, solid, well-rounded group.
Running Back (4)
Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Darrel Young, Silas Redd
Surprise! It was too easy up until this point. No Seastrunk, no Thompson, and no Royster. All three stand a decent chance of getting picked up elsewhere and I'm sure the team is hoping and expecting at least one of Thompson/Seastrunk to end up on the PS. We can hope. Let's not sell Redd short now, either. The man deserves the spot. He balled out all preseason and justified his spot. The other three were never in question and will take about 95% of the snaps.
Defensive Line (7)
Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers, Frank Kearse
It's unfortunate what happened to Chris Neild. He may have had a chance before that injury. Still, Geathers played very well, especially during that last preseason game. He's huge and it's awesome to have someone that size on the team. Kearse is a surprise and someone I didn't predict (along with just about everyone else). In fact, his making the roster probably is the biggest surprise though it is deserved. He's looked very good throughout the preseason. Does both Geathers and Kearse survive if/when Bowen comes back?
Outside Linebacker (4)
Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Gabe Miller
The last one was always a toss-up. The team decided to go with Miller over my original prediction of Everette Brown and it makes sense after that last preseason game. Miller really showed well. The other three have always been locks.
Inside Linebacker (5)
Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Adam Hayward, Will Compton, Akeem Jordan
Hayward is the ST's captain. Compton was very impressive throughout the preseason, especially game four. I thought they might keep Sharpton over Jordan, but it was close. Sharpton's high-ankle sprain pretty much killed his chances and Jordan has been very sharp on ST's.
Corner Back (5)
DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Biggers, Tracy Porter
Got it! Totally expected. Everyone in this group has looked great during the preseason aside from Porter. He's been injured a lot, but played a full season (and pretty well) last season. Hopefully he can get to 100% and really contribute and justify his contract. He was brought in the be the nickel corner, but Breeland has been outplaying him a lot lately and may take that spot. Biggers could play S in a pinch if needed (especially during Meriweather's suspension[s]).
Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Bacarri Rambo, Akeem Davis, Trenton Robinson
It's a shame (and surprising) that Phillip Thomas' career has gone the way it has so far. He just can't get healthy. It's also a shame that Meriweather can't stay on the field. Here's to Rambo stepping up. Davis and Robinson both earned their spots from top-notch tackling and excellent ST's play. There's no doubt, ST's should be vastly improved this year and I like seeing the emphasis on that throughout the 53. I got this group pretty wrong, but I like it.
Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg
I'm convinced Hocker is a great K and will be in the league this year. However, Forbath is a great K too, and I think our team is very lucky to have him. The guy is simply great on FG's. Tress Way beat out Robert Malone after only being on the team for a little over a week. He's never punted in an NFL game that counts. They could bring in another guy still, but Way looked good against the Bucs. Sundberg is old reliable snapping and getting down for tackles on ST's. Dude's just tough.