I projected the roster on this website a few weeks back and then again in the comments within the past week. Here’s a look at the roster with my thoughts on the final 53.
Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld
Nate’s the big winner today, but I’ve been calling all three QBs making the 53-man roster since the preseason began. Sudfeld’s been mediocre this preseason, but here’s the big takeaway: Nate Sudfeld is the first QB Jay Gruden has had a say in drafted as a HC. As a former QB himself, this can’t be understated. He likes the guy. He believes in him. Nate has all the tools. He’s not ready to play. He shouldn’t play a snap this year and if he does, we’re in trouble. But in a year or two, this could very well be your new backup QB. That’s excellent value out of a sixth-round pick.
Honestly, he’s looked better than #1 overall pick Jared Goff this preseason. Anytime you can throw 3 TDs without a turnover, you’re starting your career off on the right foot. He’s a young, raw prospect. But he’s Jay’s young, raw prospect. I think everyone knows where Kirk and Colt stand and wasn’t surprised by their making the team.
Offensive Line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Austin Reiter
In my initial projection, I had Cofield in place of Reiter, but this week, I’d started saying they’d keep nine and Reiter would be the ninth. What it boils down to is the fact that Spencer Long is hurt and Kory’s a little banged-up, too. They needed another guy capable of playing C. Reiter is far more deserving than Josh LeRibeus. As a second-year player, he’s already a better C than LeRibeus is (and proved to be last year). He’s a guy that they drafted, which should have made it less of a surprise that he made the ninth spot over any of the guys who were cut.
As far as the top three OTs, there weren’t any surprises there. There’s still a very good chance they’ll want a fourth OT on the PS. Look for either Takoby Cofield or Isaiah Williams to get a spot there. Also, don’t expect the ‘Skins to quit looking for an improvement at C.
Wide Receiver (6)
DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross
Basically everyone’s been calling this group since day one. No surprises. This was an extremely deep group with some very good players getting cut in Harris, Thompson, and Thorpe. Ross’ spot may have been up for grabs, but honestly, he’s earned that spot. He had a great preseason. He’s struggled with some drops and dances around a bit too much on returns, but he has incredible speed and has flat-out produced in this preseason.
Also, this looks very good for Josh Doctson’s health and indicates that he’ll either be ready for week one or two at the latest. At least one, and in my opinion two, of Harris, Thompson, and/or Thorpe will find their way to the PS. Excellent, deep group.
Tight Ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul
Been calling this one all off-season. Another very deep group where Logan Paulsen may have deserved a spot and will probably land on his feet on another team. He’s a tough cut and indicative of the improving depth of this roster. But this unit is too deep and talented to have a spot for him.
Reed’s obviously one of the top two TEs in the league and Davis has shown that he’s still a very good player. Niles Paul is a versatile talent who’s still one of our best STs players and has also been playing FB. Davis’ skills as a blocker may have sealed Paulsen’s fate (along with those three drops the other night).
Jensen could very well end up on our PS again, and honestly, this team is going to expect quite a bit out of Davis this season. You don’t cut Logan Paulsen unless it’s for guys who can, and are expected to play.
Running Backs (3)
Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Robert Kelley
I’ve called this group this way since my initial projection and never wavered. It’s obviously really tough to cut a guy who’s shown as well in the preseason as Mack Brown, but we’ve seen this before with Redskins RBs who have big off-seasons and the staff doesn’t quite value it enough to make the squad. Kelley’s the more consistent back, but the big thing I think for him making it is his excellent pass protection ability. The guy’s a stud protecting the QB and that’s incredibly important. To be able to do that so young is very telling.
Mack Brown’s a lock to have a spot on our PS... if another team doesn’t snatch him up first. And for as good as Kelley have looked, the PT is all Jones’ and Thompson’s if they’re healthy. If Brown gets claimed, they’ll have some veterans on speed dial...
Defensive Line (6)
Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Ziggy Hood, Kendall Reyes, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier
I had a strong feeling Lanier would make the team and Jenkins would be cut, but I wasn’t so sure about Ioannidis and thought they may keep him just because he was their fifth-round pick this year. Lanier has looked impressive and earned his way onto this roster. He’s deserving after an incredible preseason and shows loads of potential.
Hood has been a pleasant surprise. He’s been balling. The primary rotation will be the first five guys with Lanier in reserve. That’s a solid five-man rotation. Baker’s the stud of the group.
Outside Linebackers (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Houston Bates
Here’s another one I’ve called since the beginning. Murphy’s back at OLB after transitioning to DE this off-season. He had to move back over thanks to the season-ending injury to Junior Galette. Bates is a stud on STs. Kerrigan and Smith are locked in (and have been) as the starters. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘Skins look to upgrade here...
Inside Linebackers (5)
Will Compton, Mason Foster, Su’a Cravens, Martrell Spaight, Terence Garvin
Called it. Once Riley was gone, this was easy to call, in my opinion. Some people wavered on Garvin, but I never did. He’s young, incredible on STs, and showed out in the preseason on defense. Honestly, we have four starting ILBs on this team... Expect Cravens to get a lot of PT, especially in nickel and dime packages.
Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Dashaun Phillips, Greg Toler
Everyone in the world has known these six were going to make it for weeks. Best CB group in the entire NFL (and best starters). It’s incredible how this group went from a garbage weakness on our roster to the absolute strength in one off-season, but that’s what they did. Norman and Breeland are right there with any duo in the league as the best starting CBs. We have two #1 CBs. Fuller and Phillips are neck-and-neck for that nickel CB job. Both guys will get plenty of PT. Toler has had an amazing off-season and has looked incredible while Dunbar has far too much potential to cut.
DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton, Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett
11 DBs is a lot, but these are the best players on our team and honestly, all 11 deserved it. When you have a strength, you don’t cut great players just because you have more good ones than the average team. You keep them and play from a position of strength. Everett absolutely earned his spot on this team and is going to be arguably our best STs player. The other four are vets who have been locked in from early on. I guessed this wrong because I didn’t think Everett would make it, but I’m glad he did. He’s the definition of a guy who earned his spot when most thought he wouldn’t make it initially. He’s seriously our best STs player and has really improved at S.
Nick Sundberg, Tress Way, Dustin Hopkins
I have nothing to say here. It’s a good group. Never any questions.