Here is a position-by-position look at who stays, who goes when the Washington Redskins make their final cuts. The roster, of course, can change even after the final cuts. Mine, however, will not. So it’s time to take a stab at who the Redskins will keep.
Remember, corner Bashaud Breeland does not count on the 53-man roster until after his one-game suspension. So, for now, he’s off the list.
Robert Griffin III
This one comes with an asterisk because we don’t know yet if Griffin will be cleared when he sees the neurologist Friday. The Redskins were undecided on keeping him -- it would cost the Redskins $6.7 million in cap space. If he’s cleared, then anything can happen. Would they really want to keep him around? It makes no sense from a coaching standpoint; Jay Gruden has two quarterbacks he’s more comfortable with at this point -- and he’s fine keeping just two. For now we’ll keep Griffin on the roster, but what happens when he’s healthy?
RUNNING BACK (4)
I left off Trey Williams, but they could always try and keep him around on the practice squad. Tough to see anyone putting him on their active roster based off what he showed this summer. But he’s worth developing as a possible replacement for Thompson if he gets hurt. The coaches like Thompson; he’s improved in pass protection, too. Morris will get the bulk of the carries, but Jones will cut into his total more than Roy Helu did in the past. Young is the lone fullback, as expected.
TIGHT END (2)
Yes, only two. But only because Tom Compton will be used at tight end so it's like having three. They could stash another on the practice squad (with Compton needed for the run game, it’s doubtful three true tight ends would be active on game days). Carrier is a better blocker than I anticipated. Reed needs to stay healthy. His lack of durability is why a tight end must be kept on the practice squad. D.J. Williams is a name to watch if they keep a true third tight end, but it’s just as likely the Redskins will pick up someone else after final cuts.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
Nsekhe makes it as a bit of a surprise. The Redskins worked him at both tackle spots throughout camp and in the final preseason game; he’s a physical blocker, which helps. Long was safe as of Tuesday, though his final-game performance should be cause for concern. Compton is a lock because of his versatility and LeRibeus has solidified himself as the backup center. Kouandjio should make it just based on his nasty demeanor (a compliment) -- nobody has more of one on their line.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
I’m an Evan Spencer fan, but they’ll be able to keep him on the practice squad and promote him if they need more special teams help. Ross has speed and coaches are often reluctant to cast that aside. Plus he could help as a kick returner if they desire. The other five are locks so there’s nothing really to debate. They will keep Andre Roberts because he’d be a $3.75 million cap hit if they cut him. But the Redskins could use Crowder in the slot or they could opt for Jackson at times, with Grant at the X receiver position alongside Garcon in their three-receiver sets. It has the potential to be a solid group, but Grant and Crowder remain unproven.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
This one was relatively easy. Though Kearse did not play a lot this preseason because of injuries, he was a good backup last season and finished strong. Baker has a shot at starting at end -- he had that good of a camp and preseason. Regardless, he gives them excellent depth at a necessary position. They might not have one dynamic player, but they should have a good rotation. They could use one younger player to build around up front. Still, this will be a strength of the defense.
Went back and forth at this spot between Plummer, who plays inside, and Houston Bates, who plays outside. I could see them picking up another outside linebacker after final cuts and making another move here. Junior Galette would have been that guy, but now that he’s out they could still look for someone else. Bates made some plays, but too often when matched one-on-one, he had a tougher time. Plummer played with enthusiasm and had a couple of nice pops this summer. Jeffcoat should be a lock; he showed more burst off the edge than Bates. The rest were predictable. Spaight, a draft pick, should be kept. He can be groomed as a special teams guy, but he’s not much yet in pass coverage.
This one was tough and I think it will be for the coaches as well. Deshazor Everett definitely is one to watch and could sneak on the list. But there are tough calls at some spots and with Breeland returning the following week, I think they could get away with four (that’s how many they used to open last season as well). I think there could be a surprise cut here, but I don’t have a great feel yet for which one that might be. I’m guessing Hall wasn’t happy playing in the fourth preseason game, but he needs the work. It’s not as if he wowed this summer, not with two injuries and rusty play. I don’t think there’s a long leash here. The Redskins still like Amerson, to a degree. His inconsistency will land him in trouble at some point -- I don’t think it’s now, but the Redskins do have choices to make. Rogers likely will be the slot corner, though that’s a role Breeland will assume once he returns. I like Quinton Dunbar for the practice squad along with Everett. I still have a hunch Everett lands on this list, though.
This one should be easy, but it also leaves Akeem Davis off the roster. Johnson did not have the best camp, thanks in part to injuries. But the Redskins don’t have a lot of depth at this position so he should be fine. Jarrett earns it just because he’s the defensive version of Niles Paul when he was a rookie: You find ways to keep players like him on the roster. Jarrett worked as a slot corner, free and strong safety. The starters will be Goldson and Ihenacho. Robinson is a good special-teams player who loves to hit. Nothing wrong with that.
Zero surprises here as Way went from an unknown last summer to a lock this one. Sundberg is, and always has been, a consistent long-snapper. I don’t worry about Forbath’s field goal accuracy, but I do wonder about his kickoffs and how they’ll impact field position. In the past the answer was not very well. That’s why finding guys who can cover kicks is important, more so than for a lot of teams who can rely on one touchback after another.