The Washington Redskins must cut their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:
There’s a clear order here with Cousins the starter, McCoy the backup and Sudfeld the young guy they want to develop, whether to become a future backup if Cousins signs a long-term deal or to possibly replace him (if he becomes that good and there is a sense among some in the building that he can become a starter within a couple of years). The Redskins want to make sure they’re covered for any scenario.
Seventh-round pick Keith Marshall has speed, but also durability concerns as he now has an elbow injury. They should place him on the practice squad. Meanwhile, Kelley outplayed him this summer and warrants a spot. However, don’t be surprised if the Redskins add a veteran, whether after final cuts or once the season begins (and their contract isn’t guaranteed for the year). Pierre Thomas, who joined them last December, remains unsigned. Jones and Thompson were obvious choices as the former will be the starter and the latter serves as the third-down back.
Ross is a bit iffy because he hasn't been as consistent as he was in 2015. But his speed is attractive and he can return kickoffs, too. They do like Maurice Harris and T.J. Thorpe, but both could be stashed on the practice squad as neither has stood out in games. The first four are obvious. Grant knows the routes well from each spot and that helps, though he’s made more noise in practice than games to this point. Doctson remains sidelined by Achilles tendonitis, but the expectation is that he won’t have to open the season on the physically unable to perform list.
The tough call here is Logan Paulsen, a smart player who has blocked well this summer. But Davis' abilities to block and to win down the field limits the need to keep just a blocking tight end. Paul can serve as a fullback in a pinch, too. Reed is a dynamic force.
Bryan Stork’s failed physical changed the last roster spot. That’s why Reiter made it on this list; his main competition appears to be Josh LeRibeus, who can play guard and center (though he had many growing pains at the latter spot in 2015). However, he has improved from last year and is bigger and stronger than as a rookie in 2015. Lichtensteiger will continue to start, and without Stork this means if anything happens to Lichtensteiger, then Long would take over. Kouandjio hasn’t had a great summer, but he offers size that’s worth developing. Lauvao looks close to being back after his 2015 ankle injury. Nsekhe has done a nice job as a third tackle.
The hardest one to leave off is undrafted free agent Anthony Lanier and I’m not convinced that he’ll be left off. He’s worth trying to keep around in some capacity to develop because of his length and athleticism. Ioannidis can (eventually) play two spots for them -- nose tackle and end. Barring injuries, he won’t be a factor so he could make the team in part just because they don’t want to risk losing him. Hood won a job and might be one of their better offseason pickups. Paea hasn’t been what they hoped since signing him in 2015, but he provides good depth, something they always need up front. Golston does a lot for them -- special teams, nose tackle, defensive end. His wisdom remains valuable. Reyes doesn’t make many plays, but he’s worked with the starters most of the time.
The tough one was not including Perry Riley. But if he’s not going to start, then he doesn’t help them as much as some others. He would provide good depth, but isn’t as strong on special teams. It’ll save them $4 million in cap space they can use this year or carry into 2017. If Riley had won the starting job, it might have been bad news for Garvin, who is pretty much viewed as a special teamer. But with Foster starting, Garvin’s help on special teams will be important. Spaight looked good this summer and Cravens has developed nicely and should help early as a nickel/dime linebacker.
This was mostly an easy one, though the player I’d like to find a spot for is safety Deshazor Everett because of his ability on special teams. But the Redskins want to keep an extra defensive lineman instead. They’ll almost certainly stick with six corners and just four safeties. Toler was a pleasant surprise, but he shouldn’t be given his experience (47 career starts).
None of these players faced any competition in training camp for a reason and they could give the Redskins a quality kicking operation for several more years.