Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will be taking a close look at the Redskins’ depth chart, dissecting each position.
Some spots are straightforward. Others are more complicated. This much, however, is not up for debate: A player is not on the 53-man roster until the final cuts are made.
So who’s the odds-on favorite to start? And who’s in trouble? Up today …
Position: Running back
On the roster: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd, Darrel Young
Likely to make the 53: Morris, Helu, Young
Comment: Morris’ performance will be critical to the success of the offense. If they bunch up on him, he has to make the first man miss as he always has and grind out some tough yards. If the defense is spread out, Morris has to make the defense pay with some big plays in the running game. He’s right up there with the team’s most valuable players.
Helu will be the third-down back. He occasionally flashes some dynamic ability as a pass catcher and is solid in pass blocking. Others may have more big play ability but until someone learns to protect as well as Helu does, it’s his job.
There has been talk that Young is in danger of not making the roster since Jay Gruden rarely uses a fullback and he did without one on the roster last year in Cincinnati. But Young is too valuable on special teams to let go and the word is that he’s not going anywhere.
Battling for a job: Royster, Thompson, Seastrunk, Redd
Comment: Thompson and Seastrunk could battle it out for the change of pace back spot. That will entail some special teams work including, perhaps, return duties. It could come down to who can do more for the team in addition to running the ball and catching passes. Thompson’s injury history—he hasn’t finished any of his last three seasons healthy—also may come into play. There is an outside chance that both will make the team.
In any case it appears that Royster is on the wrong side of the roster bubble. He was not used much last year, playing just nine snaps on offense and carrying the ball twice.
Redd impressed during OTAs and minicamp and it would not be surprising to see him have a solid camp and preseason. The numbers appear to work against him and although he’s a long shot I wouldn’t count him out completely.