The 53: Who's going to be the returner?

The 53: Who's going to be the returner?
July 13, 2012, 4:45 pm

Over the past week weve gone through the Redskins defense position by position and Ive given you my prediction on who will make the team and who will be joining the ranks of the nations unemployed when the final cuts take place on Sept. 1. Lets take a quick look back at the defense and specialists to tie up a few loose ends.My projected roster has six defensive linemen, 10 linebackers and nine defensive backs for a total of 25 defenders. Add in the three specialists and the 25 on offense and there are your 53 players.Having an equal number of offensive and defensive players is the norm but it is not a rule. In summing up the offensive roster I speculated that the Redskins could choose to keep an extra running back, tight end, or offensive linemen and go with one less defensive player. That probably would be a linebacker under the scenario I have posted.But, by the same token they could decide to go with an imbalanced roster with the numbers in favor of the defense. Is a fifth safety or a seventh lineman more valuable than a sixth wide receiver or even a third quarterback? Shanahan says that he keeps the best 53 football players and while you have to keep a certain minimum number at each position you certainly have some flexibility on the last two or three roster spots.As noted when discussing the linebackers, its entirely possible that 10 is too many to have there. So perhaps a spot for a fifth safety, perhaps Reed Doughty or Jordan Bernstine, could come at the expense or Chris Wilson or Jonathan Goff.One question that has gone unaddressed here is who will return kicks. I dont have Brandon Banks making the team and he has returned virtually every kick for the Redskins for the past two seasons. We will write more about who will return both before camp and as the preseason unfolds but right now, the pick here is Aldrick Robinson.He didnt do a whole lot of returning at SMUjust five kickoff returns in four yearsbut ESPNs Todd McShay had him rated as the best return prospect in the 2011 draft.Anthony Armstrong and Jordan Bernstine are two other candidates for the job. And Banks certainly has a fighting chance of staying around.SpecialistsIn (3): P Sav Rocca, LS Nick Sundberg, PK Graham Gano
Out: PK Neil RackersDefensive backsCornerback (5): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Safety (4): Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes
Out: Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Morgan Trent, Jordan Bernstine, Travon Bellamy, Reed DoughtyLinebackersIn (10): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Markus White, Chris Wilson, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff
Out: Donnell Holt, Bryan Kehl, Brian McNally, Monte LewisDefensive lineIn (6): Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
Out: Darrion Scott, Kentwan Balmer, Doug Worthington, Chris Baker, Delvin JohnsonOffenseRunning backsIn (4): Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerTight endsIn (3): Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Chris Cooley
Out: Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn, Beau RelifordWide receiversIn (6): Anthony Armstrong, Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
Out: Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Darius Hanks, Brian Hernandez, Lance Lewis, Samuel KirklandQuarterbacksIn (3): Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Out: Jonathan CromptonOffensive lineIn (9): Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Jammal Brown, Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton
Out: Erik Cook, Grant Garner, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Nevin McCaskill, James Lee, Nick MartinezRich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.