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Bubble watch version 2.0: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

Aug 3, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

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The Redskins now have four days of training camp under their belts. They still have a few dozen practices and four preseason games until head coach Jay Gruden and GM Scot McCloughan trim the roster down to the final 53. Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles on September 5 plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble.

Offense

Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Defense

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

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galetts, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

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

Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tevin Mitchel, Justin Rogers

Safety (4): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

Changes from last prediction: At OLB, Galette added and moved to starter, Murphy to reserve, Trevardo Williams off; At CB, Bashaud Breeland off (suspension), Hall to starter, Justin Rogers on; At S, Ihenacho to starter, Johnson to reserve.

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 16 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including nine draft picks

Last 4 on

CB Justin Rogers—When Breeland went out injured, Rogers came in at slot corner. He played some in the slot last year so that might give him an edge over rookie Tevin Michel, who currently is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Rogers has looked OK in practice, although he might be looking over his shoulder at Kyshoen Jarrett, who may move from safety to the slot.

RB Chris Thompson—It’s so far, so good for Thompson, who has stayed on the field and has looked good with the football in his hands both running and catching passes.

DL Kedric Golston—The longest tenured Redskin will do what he has to do to keep himself on the roster. But outside factors may come into play. If there is an injury situation on either side of the ball or if there is a promising prospect that the organization believes it must keep, the decision may be made to keep six defensive linemen instead of seven. That could endanger the survival of the 32-year-old Golston.

OL Josh LeRibeus—LeRibeus was the next player the Redskins took after drafting Griffin in 2012 and, like the QB, he is in a make or break year. He has been working at center in addition to his usual guard spot to develop some flexibility. But he needs to play center well enough to convince Gruden that he is a viable option there should an injury need arise. He’s not there yet.

Four more close to the bubble: QB Colt McCoy, CB Tevin Mitchel, DL Frank Kearse, ILB Adam Hayward

Last 4 cuts

S Trenton Robinson—It’s a tough numbers game at safety with three new or nearly new players being added to the top of the depth chart in Goldson, Johnson (signed as free agents), and Ihenacho (injured most of last year). If Jarrett can pick up the slot corner spot, Robinson might be able to stick on the roster.

RB Silas Redd—If Thompson doesn’t shake his injury bug, Redd is likely to be in. Even of Thompson does stay healthy, Redd could win the job anyway. Right now Thompson has the edge because of his speed but Redd will not give up easily. Redd hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp but there is time for him to make an impression.

C Austin Reiter—If LeRibeus can’t function as a backup center then perhaps Reiter, the team’s seventh-round draft pick, can pick up guard well enough to squeeze onto the roster.

RB Trey Williams—He could be the “must-keep” prospect that bumps off someone like Golston or McCoy. The undrafted free agent has speed to burn but we will need to see if he has what it takes to survive in the NFL at 5-7, 195.

Four more just on the wrong side of the bubble: CB Trey Wolfe, NT Jerrell Powe, TE Devin Mahina, OLB Jackson Jeffcoat

  1. bk70 - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:23 AM

    When Breeland returns, do they cut Rogers or try to move Mitchell to the practice squad?

    • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      I think that all depends on which one is playing better. Preferably, you’d try to avoid moving a draft pick to practice squad for fear of losing them but if Rogers plays better this preseason and plays well in the games that Breeland misses because of his suspension/injruy, it’s going to be hard to cut him.

  2. abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    I agree with all of your list.

    I think some of the players you don’t have making the team but are young will be on the Redskins practice squad.

    For example; Austin Reiter, Trey Williams, Trey Wolfe, Devin Mahina, Jackson Jeffcoat, Trevardo Williams, Tacoby Cofield,

    • ET - Aug 3, 2015 at 3:23 PM

      Your practice squad list is spot-on, but I think one or two of the players on your list may make the team. Could be Trey Williams, especially if Thompson can’t stay healthy.

      Regardless, looks like this season’s practice squad will have some players with real potential down the road. Heck, some of the players on your list might not even clear waivers.

    • ET - Aug 3, 2015 at 3:32 PM

      I’d also add Terrance Plummer to your list. He could be a great value pick-up once he’s up-to-speed.

      • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 3:38 PM

        Yeah, I’ve been hearing good things about him also. I only listed those players that Rich had mentioned in his post. Obviously, there are another 4 or so spots available for other young players to make the practice squad.

  3. 226thebeatdontstop - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    Rich I think the running back Trey Williams is a better back who has more speed,shiftiness an durability than Thompson. Why all the hype Thompson has done nothing.

    It’s time to move on from Gholston,great guy etc but he does not improve or add anything at this point in his career to the defense ,there are younger options.

    Robinson makes the team he is beast on special teams, everyone in this rookie class does not need to make the team some can be stashed on special teams.

    The inside linebacker Plummer is better then Compton that will become clear once the exhibition games start…

  4. shermanp79 - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    I think one of the young C make the team over LeRibeus.

    If McCoy continues his average play, it makes no sense to keep him. I think the team will be wanting a spot for some of Scots picks.

    Hetward is another guy. Can Spraight beat him out. Basically Heyward is the ST leader but with all the young guys drafted this year, a few were for ST so I could see Heyward gone. He gets injured too which should factor in.

    I don’t think Goldston makes the team, they keep 6 and use spot elsewhere, maybe RB,CB, as said they will be looking for spots. How much will Goldston really play anyway. He has been a solid guy while here but contributed more when we ran 4-3 scheme, which he is better suited to play.

    Maybe Jeffcoat and Devin Mahina go to PS, never have enough rush guys and a bigger young TE would be around if injuries hit. I could see one of the RBs being put there. Maybe Mitchell needs a year there. The chance of Thompson getting banged up is a good reason to stash a guy.

  5. coolestfrood - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    Rich, please denote players who are new to the team with an asterisk*

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    Defense looks a lot more solid than last year. Still might be weak at FS, but a better pass rush will help that.
    ~

  7. renhoekk2 - Aug 3, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    Hopefully it’s about production, not 40 time. Redd 16 carries 4.7 yd/carry 5 first downs. 8 receptions 13.4 yds/rec Thompson 3 carries 4.0 yd/carry 0 first downs 3 receptions 3.4 yds/rec Both with 1 total TD. It would be crazy at the end of the day for a coach/GM to say player A is more productive, but player B can run faster, so we’ll keep player B.

    • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 3:31 PM

      I think it’s more about versatility. Morris & Jones are similar style of players. Chris Thompson is a true change of pace player and with more grooming he could be a return man.

      Thompson has obviously had injury issues in the past, but if he’s healthy id lean towards keeping him over Redd.

      The Redskins could really use a smaller/quicker/faster scat back who is a good receiver out of the backfield as well like Thompson.

      I actually the Skins may keep 4 running backs. That way they can keep Redd & Thompson. Redd has value on special teams as well in our coverage units.

    • bangkokben - Aug 3, 2015 at 4:14 PM

      That is the most RIDICULOUS sample! Redd played in garbage time against Jacksonville at the beginning of the season. Thompson played at the end of the season against division opponents. Production from 2014 on those samples should be discounted completely. It is about how each player fits on the 53 and what role they can play. Neither is in line for the starting tailback, so production in the preseason as a feature back should factor very little. Instead, how do they do in pass-pro, in ball security, running the routes? This is what they will be evaluated on. For all of Lache Seastrunk’s speed and his TD in the final preseason game, he didn’t make the team last year and it took more than a month for him to get picked up by any team’s practice squad. Thompson won’t simply make the team due to his speed. If he makes the team it’s because he can do the other things well too.

  8. Capital Defense - Aug 3, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    I like with a couple exceptions

    Trey Williams as the 4th back over an injured Thompson, oh he is not injured…..oh its coming.
    On the DL I like Crawford the kid from Clemson over Kearse, need some youngsters to develop deperatly.
    Mitchel is done for the year a CB so look for a new name a CB no currently on the roster.
    LeRibeus is garbage, what a terrible pick that was by Shanny.

  9. kenlinkins - Aug 3, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    The NFL network was showing the Falcons practice and made a big deal about Chester (G) being back with Kyle (OC) and how Redskins made a mistake releasing him. Guess it was a slow news day in Atlanta. Rich: I haven’t seen much on D. Young from Camp yet. Many of my Cleveland Browns fans say they will be watching the Browns vs. Redskins game very close. They think the Browns are in the market for a FB or RB and think the Redskins might be over stocked. The new OC runs a lot of check downs to FB / RB’s. IYO What kind of offer would it take to for the new GM to trade D Young, C. Thomson or S. Redd as one of them will not make the 53 man roster?

    • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 4:15 PM

      I’m not sure why your buddies think they need new running backs in Cle, they had a good staple of young running backs on their team last year with Crowell, West and Duke Johnson.

      • kenlinkins - Aug 3, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        Injury’s for the most part, poor hands, and many looked better then they really were in Kyle’s system. One trick pony types.

        • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 4:42 PM

          Well that’s why they drafted Duke Johnson. He does everything well. I don’t see Redd, Thompson or Trey Williams beating out Crowell, West or Duke Johnson for a Browns roster spot.

        • kenlinkins - Aug 3, 2015 at 5:48 PM

          I would agree with you, but Browns fans seem to be very concerned. They are down to one FB and one RB due to injury already. West should be back for the Preseason game and Crowell is the lone healthy RB.

  10. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 3, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    Redskins coach Jay Gruden revealed Monday that rookie cornerback Tevin Mitchel needs surgery for a torn labrum and is likely to miss the entire season.
    ——————
    Next man up!
    ~

    • abanig - Aug 3, 2015 at 6:42 PM

      Seems Justin Rogers should make the team all season now, even when Breeland comes back.

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