Redskins' defensive line depth being put to test
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
The Redskins now have 90 players on their roster. Out of that group, plus a few more who may be added during the 40 days between now and the Aug. 31 final cut day, Mike Shanahan and Co. will choose the 53-man roster.
Who will those 53 be? We’ve seen OTAs and minicamp and the beginning of training camp. Knowing that a lot can change as camp wears on and during the four preseason games, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler project who will be on the roster when the Redskins take on the Eagles to open the season on Sept. 9. Here's our look at the offense; check our defensive projections here.
Tandler (2): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins
El-Bashir (3): Griffin, Cousins, Rex Grossman
Tandler (5): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Roy Helu Jr., Chris Thompson, Evan Royster
El-Bashir (4): Morris, Young, Roy Helu Jr., Jawan Jamison
Tandler: RG3’s miraculous comeback from reconstructive knee surgery has gone so well that Shanahan will be convinced that he can return to his usual practice of carrying 2 QB’s on the roster. That extra spot will go to a fifth running back. The coaches trust Royster and they want Thompson and Helu for explosive plays. Jawan Jamison will hang around on the practice squad in case an injury replacement is needed.
El-Bashir: After predicting White would “be the surprise of training camp” in my initial projection, I’m not so sure anymore that he’s going to have enough time to knock the considerable rust off his game and earn a spot. I do, however, still believe the Redskins will keep three quarterbacks – just in case – and Grossman, the 10th year veteran, will get the job. RG3 left three games early and missed another altogether as a rookie. Helu, meantime, gets healthy and snags a job, while Jamison rounds out the trio of tailbacks. Thompson, coming off ACL surgery, starts on the practice squad, while Royster gets a bigger role elsewhere.
Tandler (6): Pierre Garçon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson
, Devery Henderson
El-Bashir (6): Garçon, Morgan, Moss, Hankerson, Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe
Tandler (4): Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul
El-Bashir (4): Davis, Paulsen, Reed, Paul
Tandler: Henderson knocks Briscoe out of the sixth receiver spot although there is a chance that Briscoe can put on a good enough showing in the preseason to grab that role. The four tight ends were given ever since the staff was surprised to see Reed on the board when their pick came up in the third round last April.
El-Bashir: The first four wide outs (Garçon, Morgan, Moss and Hankerson) are locks, as are all four tight ends. I suspect Robinson will get another season to prove he can produce the consistency and concentration in the clutch to match his considerable speed. I’m also not ready to give up on Briscoe -- yet. Too much size (6-2, 210) and potential (6 touchdowns in 2011, only 23 years old). Paul’s contributions on special teams (10 tackles, potential kick returner) make him indispensable.
Tandler (4): Trent Williams, Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, Tony Pashos
El-Bashir: (4): Williams, Polumbus, Compton, Pashos
Tandler (5): Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus
El-Bashir (5): Lichtensteiger, Montgomery, Chester, LeRibeus, Gettis
Tandler: I had Jeremy Trueblood as the fourth tackle the last time we did this projection but I think that Pashos is now fully healthy after missing all of the 2012 season. I’m not sure that that we will see the anticipated competition at right tackle, though, as it appears to be Polumbus’ job. It’s possible that they will squeeze a roster spot for Maurice Hurt out of somewhere but right now I don’t see it.
El-Bashir: As Rich said, Pashos appears to be recovered from the foot injuries that erased his 2012 season. He’ll beat out Trueblood and push Polumbus, the incumbent starter, at right tackle. I, too, suspect they’ll want to find a spot for Hurt, who has nine career starts and the versatility to play guard or tackle, but that could require cutting someone like Gettis. Indeed, tough decisions loom. I could also see undrafted free agent Xavier Nixon getting a spot on the practice squad.