The Washington Redskins open training camp on July 28 in Richmond, Virginia. Here's our 53-man roster projection:
These are the only quarterbacks who will be in camp and the order is clearly established. Cousins will start, McCoy is the primary backup and Sudfeld is the rookie draft pick to develop. They like him enough that they won’t risk putting him on the practice squad.
The first three are rather easy to pick -- Jones is the starter, Thompson the top backup and Marshall the draft pick. Kelly flashed in shorts and a helmet in the spring and will enter camp as the No. 4 back. Now he must hold onto the position ahead of Mack Brown. The Redskins could sign a veteran (Pierre Thomas likely will still be available) after the first week as well. Also, there’s no fullback, but tight end Niles Paul can play there when needed.
The only newcomer would be Doctson. The starters will be Garcon and Jackson with Crowder in the slot. Just because Doctson is in town doesn’t mean Crowder’s time will decrease. The Redskins could use a three-receiver set minus Crowder, but that’s not a formation they want to use much simply because they love how the second-year receiver developed this spring. Grant and Ross both need to show more development, but as of now it's hard to say who'd nudge them aside.
I did not list Derek Carrier here because of his health. He’ll likely have to open camp on the physically unable to perform list after tearing multiple ligaments in December. If he’s healthy, it’ll be an interesting call on his roster spot, but that likely will occur during the season. He’s more of a receiver; if Davis shows he can help as a blocker then it could eventually come down to Paulsen or Carrier. The hope by some is that Carrier will be ready before the midway point of the season. I’m guessing the Redskins would like to keep Marcel Jensen around as long as possible on the practice squad.
I’d prefer nine, but versatility -- if Long shows he can play center, for example -- gives them options and I think they can use the practice squad to keep more around. Lauvao is the wild card because of his health but they really like him. The Redskins like what they’ve seen from Kouandjio and Long at left guard in case Lauvao can’t play. Long's ability to play center will help determine Josh LeRibeus' fate. I can see Austin Reiter and Takoby Cofield, among others, being signed to the practice squad.
I think seven might be pushing it given the amount of nickel they play, but each of these players have a role. With the focus on versatility, the Redskins can use all of these players, while Ioannidis goes inactive on game day. Ziggy Hood could make life interesting for one of these players if he follows up a solid spring with a strong showing in August. But, for now, it's hard to put him ahead of others on this list.
This will be an interesting position. Perry Riley is not a lock to make the roster. Foster can start and Riley’s foot injury and inability to practice this offseason is concerning. I liked how he played next to Compton before his injury, but I wonder if he’ll be healthy enough to beat out Foster – and then you’d have a $5 million backup who does not excel on special teams. That's why, until we see what he has left, it's tough for me to keep him around. Jefferson is my surprise pick as an outside linebacker, but he has quickness and length and just might sneak onto the roster ahead of Houston Bates. Rookie Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick, heads to the practice squad.
The only real surprise here is Phillips, but he was a spring standout and they are excited about his progress. Now he must prove it in camp. But even if he doesn’t end up as the starting nickel corner, he showed that he might be worth developing as a backup/special-teamer. I’d keep a safety or two on the practice squad because the Redskins always need more.
This was the easiest one to call considering the Redskins have no other options in camp. The Redskins like all three quite a bit and, with competition desired elsewhere, they didn’t need to waste a roster spot with false battles.