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Way too early Redskins 53-man roster projection–Defense

May 15, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

Keenan-Robinson-back

The Redskins will hold their first major on-field activity of their preseason program today when they start their rookie camp in Ashburn. That’s too early to predict who will make the 53-man roster when all of the preseason activity is done and the final cuts are made on September 5. But that won’t stop me. Here is who I think ends up making the defensive portion of the final 53; I took my shot at the offense yesterday.

Starters in bold

Defense (25)

Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

This seems to be pretty well set barring injury. There were three arrivals via free agency in Knighton, Paea, and Jean Francois but three who had been around for the last few seasons, Jarvis Jenkins, Barry Cofield, and Stephen Bowen, are gone. That means that Kearse, a pleasant surprise with three sacks last year, and the veteran Golston are likely to stay around.

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat

It probably won’t really matter much if Murphy or Smith starts; both will have substantial roles in the defense. I’m not sure how comfortable they are with Jeffcoat as their depth option; the Redskins may aggressively check the waiver wire for a more experienced backup.

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

There doesn’t seem to be much drama here in terms of making the 53 as long as they stick with five at this position. Things could get interesting as Compton and perhaps even the rookie Spaight push to take snaps and perhaps even the starting job away from Riley.

Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tevin Mitchel

This is dependent on Hall being ready for the start of the season after twice tearing his Achilles last fall. Although reports on his recovery are positive at this point, Hall being ready for Week 1 is not a given at this point. If Hall is healthy and if Mitchel shows some ability in training camp it could mean the end for Tracy Porter.

Safety (4): Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson, Phillip Thomas, Kyshoen Jarrett

I’d be less than truthful if I said that the two behind Goldson and Jonson are any more than an educated guess. Certainly Akeem Davis, Trenton Robinson, and Duke Ihenacho have legitimate shots at making it. And there is no free safety to back up Goldson; that duty could fall to a cornerback already on the roster or perhaps one could be found on the waiver wire.

Specialists (3)

LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

Forbath could be pushed by some competition, although rookie Ty Long out of Alabama-Birmingham, the only other kicker on the roster, is probably not the guy to do it.

Counts (including yesterday’s prediction on offense):

  • Offense—25
  • Defense—25
  • Specialists—3

New to organization since last year: 16 (6 offense, 10 defense) (9 draft picks, one rookie free agent, six free agents)

  1. Stephfan - May 15, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    I agree with roster!

  2. Duke Lecker - May 15, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    I feel like Ihenacho or Davis have a leg up on Thomas. Both are better athletes, are better in special teams and Ihenacho has starting experience on a super bowl caliber team.

    • skinsdiehard - May 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      Thomas has better coverage skills. Led NCAA in interceptions as a senior.

      • ET - May 15, 2015 at 2:11 PM

        Thomas has yet to prove he’s a ballhawk or has better coverage skills, unfortunately.

    • John Sparks - May 15, 2015 at 8:22 PM

      I agree. Thomas will not make the 53.

  3. bk70 - May 15, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    I think only couple of tweeks are needed. Replace Goldston on DL with Robert Thomas. Make Preston Smith the starting OLB. I think Duke Ihenacho and Akem Davis will be the back-up safeties (not Jarrett and Thomas).

    • skinsdiehard - May 15, 2015 at 1:29 PM

      I agree with Preston Smith starting over Trent Murphy. Smith makes more plays. No way Jarrett is cut, being a recent draft pick. Say goodbye to Akeem Davis. I dont even know how Golston has remained on the roster this long. NT Thomas or DE Corey Crawford should knock off Golston.

  4. bk70 - May 15, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Hey Rich, how come Connor Halliday is not on the 65 man roster for mini-camp?

    • bk70 - May 15, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      Thanks for your next article at 11:45…you’re faster than I am…

  5. ET - May 15, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    It’s possible they keep five safeties, since Jarrett and Akeem Davis may be prominent ST guys. I think Ihenacho takes a backup spot from Thomas, however. At any rate, I doubt they risk putting Jarrett on the practice squad. Davis and Thomas spent time there last year, and they’re the on-the-cusp safeties IMO.

  6. skinsdiehard - May 15, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    This roster projection is off a little.

    DE Corey Crawford or NT Robert Thomas over Kedric Golston who has never made a play in his life.
    ILB Trevardo Williams or ILB Houston Bates over ILB Will Compton. Perry Riley might even be in trouble. I would get rid of Adam Hayward and go young. ILB Dyshawn Davis is a better playmaker.
    CB Tahj Hasson was rated even higher than CB Tevin Mitchel. Move Amerson to FS and keep Hasson or Tracy Porter.
    OLB Gayle will push OLB Jeffcoat. That is going to be a toss up.

    • brucefan1 - May 15, 2015 at 3:57 PM

      Hmm…a lot of different names in this projection, not the usual chalk — and all delivered with confidence!

      I’m gonna clip & save this one.

    • jonevans511 - May 16, 2015 at 8:01 PM

      There’s no way a projection can be “off”, that’s why it’s called a projection (a way too early one at that). We could all make some reaches and call it a projection, and you’ve made a lot of reaches.

  7. bangkokben - May 15, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    What Rick has done with post and its corresponding post is put out a solid starting point for where this team projects to look like by the beginning of September. I’d be surprised if he isn’t better than 90% correct, right now. The interesting part is those five players that come seemingly out of nowhere. I’m sure there is one guy that will make the opening day 53 that isn’t even on the roster today.

    • fft5305 - May 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      *Rich*…

      Also, I agree. Probably one wild card out there who hasn’t been picked up yet.

    • Rich Tandler - May 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      I pulled the projection I posted around this time last year, had 42 out of 53 right, so closer to 80 percent than 90. I feel a little better about this one but we’ll see. Already lost one in Halliday, that’s never happened that fast before.

      • hk2000 - May 15, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        Why, what happened with Halliday?

    • ET - May 15, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      The out-of-nowhere UDFAs who make the roster are always fun—and sometimes good. America loves an underdog.

  8. fft5305 - May 15, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    So the only draft pick not to make the roster is Reiter? Do you think Practice Squad?

    • bk70 - May 15, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      I can’t believe that 80% or higher of the 2015 draft class will make the 53 man roster. Surely some will have to run the gauntlet to make it to the practice squad (late rounders at least).

      • bangkokben - May 15, 2015 at 4:16 PM

        In the past when the Redskins had a regime change and a large draft class nearly everyone made the roster.. 2008, in the pass catching draft, all but a punter made the team. Vinny bragged. Fred Davis has a chance with the Pats and Chad Rhiehart may still be with the Charges. Shanny’s second draft in 2011, where we traded away from JJ Watt. We still have Kerrigan, Niles Paul, and Chris Nield still has a shot. Jenkins, Hankerson, and Helu are with other teams. The bigger question is who will still be here in four years?

  9. troylok - May 15, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    I agree with your projections, Rich, if this was Haslett at defensive coordinator and Allen calling the personnel shots. McGloughan has his own ideas about what makes a good player. Guys like Golston, Thomas and even Amerson will not be kept around for sentimental reasons. In a close competition between old regime’s guys versus new regime’s guys, old regime is going to lose out. Amerson did not impress last year. Golston has always been hanging on by his fingernails and now the new DL wants his defensive linemen to shoot the gap which is a skill that Golston is lacking. Thomas can’t even crack the starting lineup. Those guys need to step up.

  10. Caveman Cooking - May 16, 2015 at 3:16 AM

    I was watching some tape on Jarrett yesterday. The kid not only brings the leather, but had some unbelievable ST plays. On one, he de-cleats TWO defenders at once to spring his man for a TD! It was unreal!!
    Spaight is also a contact junkie. If nothing else, ST is going to be fun to watch this year!

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