Redskins 53-Man Roster projection: Who Makes the Cut on Offense?
After observing practice/walkthroughs for four days and reading reports from the last three, I have put together my early projection for the 53-man roster. I paid close attention to coaches’ interactions with players in addition to my perceptions of the players’ work on the field. Here are my thoughts on offense:
QB (2): Alex Smith, Colt McCoy
Alex Smith looks like he’s going to bring positive change to the Redskins’ offense. As Morgan Moses stated, the playbook seems to be opening up with Smith at the helm. Colt McCoy just signed a $7m deal to remain with the Redskins next year, and fans should be happy with him as a backup. He isn’t a world-beater, but he’s reliable and fits a movement offense quite well.
Last cut: Kevin Hogan
Hogan has not looked good in camp. He doesn’t have a strong arm and doesn’t seem to throw with the timing and anticipation required in this offense. In addition, Gruden seemed to run less movement plays with the 3rd team. Not sure if that’s a reflection on Hogan or the 3rd unit as a whole, but Hogan just isn’t worth a roster spot.
RB (4): Derrius Guice, Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson, Byron Marshall
Guice has quickly emerged as the lead back in camp. With many media pundits claiming after the draft that Guice would struggle to earn the role over Rob Kelley, Guice’s role as the lead back was never in question. The LSU star has emerged as an all-around back who has demonstrated soft hands and awareness in the passing game. Coaches report that he’s a bit over-aggressive in pass-blocking, so that would be his only limit on 3rd downs at this point. I have Perine making the team as his backup. Any player that tallied 400+ yards in a major college program has talent. He couldn’t hold onto the ball last year, but he has the measurables and quicks you want at RB. He gets the nod over Kelley.
Chris Thompson is full-go physically, but he’s admitted that he has to catch up mentally; the thought of getting hit in his surgically repaired fibula still is causing trepidation for the 5th-year 3rd-down back. That leaves us with the final spot. Some say it will be Robert Kelley, others say Kapri Bibbs, but I think it’s Byron Marshall-and I don’t think it’s close. The Redskins scooped Marshall off of waivers from the Eagles in 2017 and immediately put him in the lineup. He’s bigger and more explosive than Bibbs and he offers special-teams value.
Last cut: Robert Kelley
Kelley is a coach, media, and fan favorite, but he gets caught in a numbers game here. He is too similar to Guice and Perine and won’t be kept as the third back, so he’d have to beat out Perine. He has been working hard on special teams, but I don’t think that’ll be enough to keep him on the roster. Draft capital, youth, and pure physical talent win the day here, even if Kelley does have the heart of a champion.
WR (6): Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Trey Quinn, Robert Davis, Brian Quick
Josh Doctson has reportedly been impressive in camp. He’s opened up with reporters and is obviously more confident in year 3. I am still quite bothered by his body language/overall effort in the 4 practices I saw, but that apparently isn’t bothering anyone else. We will see who’s right over the next 6 months. Richardson looked good in the time I saw him in camp, but he and Smith couldn’t seem to get on the same page. Richardson has reportedly shined of late and seems to have a good rapport at multiple levels of the field with Smith. Crowder is obviously Smith’s go-to receiver, as Alex targeted him on at least half of his throws in my time at camp. This should be a huge year for Crowder. Quinn received 45-seconds of effusive praise from the head coach and seems to be a lock as Crowder’s backup and possible punt returner. I don’t think he has a huge role this year, but he’s a lock in my eyes to make this team.
The last two spots come down to 3 players; Robert Davis, Brian Quick, and Maurice Harris. I went with Quick and Davis because of their special-teams value; both players are special-teams studs (Quick was considered for captain of the unit after Niles Paul’s departure). I view Harris and Quick as similar players, but Quick has had a superior camp and showed in his first 2 years in the league how capable he was before a rotator-cuff injury that hindered him for a few seasons. Davis is faster and has more upside than Harris. Remember, Davis ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine and was then considered a one-trick-pony deep-threat. He’s proven he’s more than that in camp.
Last cut: Maurice Harris
Harris is a big target and is a favorite of the coaches, but I saw him drop too many balls in camp. He has reportedly been more consistent over the last 3 days, but I still don’t think he offers enough as a receiver beyond just being a big target. Plus, he doesn’t offer much as far as special-teams value.
TE (3): Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
This is an easy group. Reed looks healthy and should be poised for a big year if (IF, IF, IF) he can stay healthy. Davis seems to have a strangle-hold on Father Time and is currently at just 3% body-fat, looking like a 25-year old. He is probably the best second TE in the league. I think Sprinkle will surprise this year. Whether or not his weight has changed, he’s noticeably more cut/in better shape, and he’s already the biggest, best blocking TE on the team. If he can consistently find underneath zones he could be on the field a ton this year.
Last cut: None.
I don’t believe any lower roster TE on this team has any chance of making this team.
OL (9): Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Kyle Kalis, Tony Bergstrom
Trent Williams and Morgan Moses both took reps with the first team on Sunday and/or Tuesday, and that’s a good sign. Although it seems to be a massive problem to the fans, Lauvao is just fine. As Charley Casserly told JP Finlay (which was reported in his Day 6 of the RedskinsTalk Podcast), ‘If left guard is your biggest problem, you’re gonna go 11-5.’ Unless Roullier and Lauvao are both significantly subpar starters this year, having 3 Pro Bowlers on the line will cover up a lot on the interior-left side. Speaking of Roullier, he looks bigger and Gruden has said the communication piece has come together for him.
He had to adjust to Smith’s cadence, but he has drawn praise from #11 for their chemsitry in camp. Brandon Scherff is arguably the best guard in the league and will continue to be.
Ty Nsekhe is a worry of mine; he has been out over 7 months and is still limited. He’s making this team, but he needs to get back on the field. Christian looks the part and is experienced enough/quick enough to fill in at either tackle spot. Remember, Louisville switches their tackles depending on formation, so Christian played both LT and RT throughout each game in college. That’s a huge plus. Christian having to play, of course, wouldn’t be ideal, but I didn’t see anything, nor has anything been reported, that would lead one to believe he wouldn’t be capable in spot-duty.
Tony Bergstrom is said to have strong chemistry with Alex Smith and Jay Gruden talked at length about how important the position of backup center is to him. Kyle Kalis is a massive human being that drew praise multiple times in practice at both RT and RG. He gets the nod for the last spot over Tyler Catalina because of his size and versatility.
Last cut: Tyler Catalina
I don’t know what Jay’s fascination with Catalina is. He graded out poorly last year and was pushed back consistently. From my film review, he was easily the weakest lineman to enter a game for the Redskins last season. Chris Cooley agrees with me too; each and every film breakdown, Cooley was baffled as to why Catalina was even on the roster. I think Jay finally lets go of his pet cat in favor of the bigger, more versatile Kalis.
That’s it for the offense; check back tomorrow for the defense and special-teams projection! As always, give me a follow/ask me questions on Twitter @Kennedy_Paynter and thanks for reading!