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Need to Know: How many of the Redskins’ 2016 starters are on the roster now?

Mar 18, 2016, 5:27 AM EDT

Cousins-Scherff-celebrate

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 18, 41 days before the NFL Draft.

How many 2016 starters are already on the roster?

I posted about the 2016 defense yesterday and one of the comments I got was that the unit is still a work in progress. While that is undeniably true with the draft still six weeks away, most of the starters are already on the team. Let’s take a look and see how many of the likely 2016 starters are currently under contract.

Offense:

Line: Williams, Lauvao/Long, Center, Scherff, Moses
Receivers: Garçon, Jackson, Crowder, Reed
Backs: Cousins, Jones

Arie Kouandjio could be in the mix at left guard, too. But the likely starter is in the building. It’s a pretty good bet that Kory Lichtensteiger will start at center but there is enough doubt there to leave that position a question mark.

Perhaps Jones is not fully locked in at running back but unless they take a back during the first two days of the draft it seems likely that he will be given the first shot to be the “lead dog” in what is likely to be a running back by committee.

Defense:

Line: Baker, Nose tackle, Right end
Linebacker: Galette/Smith, Kerrigan, Foster, Compton
Backfield: Breeland, Culliver/Blackmon, Hall, Ihenacho/Bruton

Stephen Paea is the favorite to start at right end but the draft may well bring a starter at nose tackle and one at right end. Perhaps a high draft pick at safety could work his way into the Week 1 starting lineup but I’ll go with this group for now.

So there is one position on offense where the likely starter may not yet be under contract and two on defense. Certainly depth matters and that is where the draft will come into play. Also, this may not be the lineup when December rolls around; there could be changes for reasons other than the inevitable injuries. But, for right now, the Week 1 staring lineup is a cake that is very close to being baked.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 68 days ago. It will be about 177 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 31; 2016 NFL draft 41; Redskins training camp starts 132

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Mar 18, 2016 at 6:07 AM

    Offense we are in pretty good position, and I think you are correct on the new starter needed, center. Defense, I think on the line agreed, need a new DE and New DT. Linebackers agreed, we are upgraded and locked. We really don’t even need depth there, I think we have plenty with Spaight back and Garvin added, that will definitely make up for Kenan and Heyworth. Maybe add a MLB as development for depth. DBacks, we need big help. We need a starting safety we can count on. Bruton is an upgrade to Goldston I believe. I don’t like relying on DHall at that position. Old and injuries. We need big help at safety and corner still.

    My guess on top 7 drafted positions in priority of rounds:
    – WR with Michael Thomas
    – DE / NT
    – Center / Safety
    – Safety / center
    – NT / DE
    – Corner
    – RB

    • ET - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:03 AM

      Your list looks pretty accurate to me, though I think each of the first three picks will be BPA between defensive backs, defensive linemen and wide receivers.

      NT appears to be the greatest need for 2016. The other positions are (arguably) not as pressing this season. A center is clearly needed at some point, but I don’t think the Skins will draft one before round three—there’s no plug-and-play solution there, while a WR, CB, S, NT or DE taken early might be able to earn some significant reps by the start of the season.

  2. scottmccloughanfan - Mar 18, 2016 at 6:24 AM

    My standby mock is still valid at this point

    NT/DT
    C/CB
    DE
    QB
    WR
    RB
    ILB
    CB/SS

    To me, we still have to solidify both lines this year before we can work on the balance of the squad. But with d-backs being so thin, I certainly can see putting off center one more year and taking a CB in the second round if one worth having is still available.

    Some combination of these slots should be considered.

    • colorofmyskinz - Mar 18, 2016 at 6:36 AM

      Agreed on QB, forgot that one. I think if Michael Thomas is available at 21 we take him. Boards have him at 20/21. We might miss him be one pick. If that is the case, I think we have to go NT/DT in first round. Agreed with your assessment.

      Agreed center in second.

      • John - Mar 18, 2016 at 4:42 PM

        Centers and Guards will be readily available in rounds 3 and 4. Kelly from ND is OK, but would prefer one out of the Big 10 a ground pound conference.

        • Mike - Mar 19, 2016 at 11:50 AM

          Does That mean to insinuate That Kelly is Worth passing up as a First round pick? Sounds for Certain, actually!?

          Michael Thomas Should be our #1 then; granted that he’s still available?!?

          C for 2nd round or Late’r??

        • Trey Gregory - Mar 19, 2016 at 5:31 PM

          I would personally rather have Josh Doctson than Kelly or Thomas. But I don’t really think we need a first round receiver. There’s some guys in the 2nd, 3rd, maybe even 4th rounds who I think could really shake out.

          But a center? I would be fine without drafting one at all. We have young and talented offensive linemen who can slide over there if we don’t go for Kory. If nothing else, Kory is a solid backup. I’m not going to be upset if we take some offensive linemen later in the draft. But it’s truly not as big of a need as some are making it out to be. We should always be planning for the future. But there’s no need to reach in the 1st or 2nd and overdraft a center we don’t really need.

  3. bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 7:14 AM

    How many starters are on the roster right? I’ll agree with Rich that these are the three possibilities but I suspect that the starting center IS on the roster – between Lichtensteiger, Long, LeRibeus, and even possibly Reiter. That doesn’t mean they won’t draft one but I expect any center drafted will be competing for 2017 and not 2016. Between Paea and Reyes and even Jean-Francois there’s a starting end on the team too. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a draft pick here either. There most definitely should be. But whether that pick is first or second will likely determine whether he begins as a rotational player or a starter. NT is the one place on this team where there is clearly no starter. This area of biggest need and unless one is picked up in the next week or two, one will be the “best player available” during the first two days of the draft.. Billings for #21.

    • sidepull - Mar 18, 2016 at 7:24 AM

      Yup gimme a NT. Had a NT last year in Shelton but bypassed him for a one year rental on Knighton. Now back to square 1. Billlings @ 21.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2016 at 7:59 AM

        I was an early advocate of Billings, and my only change since is realizing there are some other NTs who may be on the board that Scot McGlue likes better.

        http://realredskins.com/2016/02/13/need-to-know-the-redskins-week-that-was-rebuilding-the-defense/

        Since we need this pick to start, I don’t think waiting until round 2 to get him is wise…guys like Billings, Reed, and Sheldon Rankins are a cut above what will be left at 53.
        ~

        • sidepull - Mar 18, 2016 at 8:31 AM

          Yea Rankins or Billings. I really like Rankin’s ability to apply pressure and I would be happy to see the Redskins get him if it goes down like that.

    • colorofmyskinz - Mar 18, 2016 at 7:55 AM

      Agreed Billings at 21 if Thomas is gone by 20. Don’t forget, WRs are more expensive than NT. If Thomas is there we will take him, given Garçon, DJax, and Reed all up next year.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2016 at 8:02 AM

        If we go receiver, would you consider Josh Doctson over Thomas? Got to love those hands and ability to get up in the air and come down with the football.

        https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2016/02/29/draft-pff-scouting-report-josh-doctson-wr-tcu/
        ~

        • colorofmyskinz - Mar 18, 2016 at 10:18 AM

          Yea he is impressive and has good size at 6’4″. they predict top 32 for him. If we lose Michael at 20 then will be tough call if Billings still sitting there.

      • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:10 AM

        I’m not opposed to drafting a WR but I don’t think money should be the rationale. Whomever gets picked at #21 is going to cost the same no matter what position.- which is well below the cost for either position’s top talent. Damon Harrison just signed a deal with the Giants that averages $9,250,000 a year. That’s wide receiver money. NTs that become 4-3 DTs make serious coin. The Redskins aren’t just looking for a NT for two downs, they need one that can still defend the run in nickle. The Redskins were graded horribly up the middle last year. PFF scored Perry Riley, Keenan Robison, Dashon Goldson, and Trenton Robinson as the worst at their positions last year. No surprise that none are back AS STARTERS and neither is Knighton. “Thunder” posted the link last week – I think on an article (or thread) about centers as Lichtensteiger had the worst grade league wide at any position.

        I’m a big proponent for best player available – which Scot says he is, too. I think, however, that he scores immediate need highly in the equation. I thought last year Leonard Williams was BPA and that Danny Shelton was comparable to Scherff. If you believe reports, Amari Cooper, and Dante Fowler were the two players rated higher on the board than Scherff which were not as high of a need.

    • Trey Gregory - Mar 19, 2016 at 2:02 AM

      @Bang: I think I agree with everything you said in your first post. But especially at center. It’s refreshing to see someone else look at the stockpile of young and talented offensive linemen we have, plus Kory, and not freak out about center and demand we take one in the first round. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t doubt that Bill Challahan can take Long or Leribus and mold them into a decent safety if they decide to move on from Kory. And we would still have Lauvo and Kouanjo to play LG. OLine actually looks really great for once, let’s move on people.

      After this week if free agency (especially the Galette signing) I’m feeling a lot better about this team. I gues I got knocked out of my cynicism and I’m not nearly as down on what they might accomplish in 2016 as I was a week or two ago. I like this starting lineup. And I do think we’re really overlooking what Reyes and Francois can contribute.

      Basically my only real big concern is NT. I think we have to draft one who can start right away unless Scot has another Magic FA car up his sleeve. There simply isn’t a legitimate starting caliber NT on this team. We can slide a body into the position, but that doesn’t mean they will succeed. We need a real NT: preferably one who can play a 1 technique in nickel packages.

      A lesser concern is still what’s going on at safety. I love the Burton signing but I would still like one more guy who has started more and had more success to shore that up. I don’t care if he’s an older guy like Nelson. Sometimes you have to take what you can to fill a hole in the short term. I have full confidence Scot will draft a starting safety in the next couple drafts. I’m fine with a stop gap until then.

  4. bk70 - Mar 18, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Rich, I agree with your 2016 starters. He’s my solution to filling in the openings:

    Round 1st Choice 2nd Choice
    1 Ryan Kelly C Alabama 6-4 311 Jaran Reed DT Alabama 6-3 311
    2 Vernon Butler DT Louisiana St 6-4 325 Jeremy Cash SS Duke 6-1 212
    3 Miles Killebrew SS S Utah 6-2 219 Nick Martin C Notre Dame 6-4 296
    4 Kenyan Drake RB Alabama 6-1 210 Nick Vannett TE Ohio St 6-6 257
    5 Jihad Ward DE Illinois 6-5 296 Blake Martinez ILB Stanford 6-2 239
    6 Jake Coker QB Alabama 6-6 236 Romeo Okwara DE Notre Dame 6-5 266
    7 Josh Forest ILB Kentucky 6-3 245 Nate Sudfeld QB Indiana 6-6 236
    7 Jake McGee TE Florida 6-5 252 Jordan Walsh OG Iowa 6-3 290

    This mock draft will also add depth for the future and provide special teamers.

    • colorofmyskinz - Mar 18, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      Wow nice research!!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2016 at 10:46 AM

      Good thinking but it’s hard for me to see going with an interior lineman, a position that can be found later in the draft, in the first round for two years in a row. At some point you have to get players at impact positions in the first round. But we’ll see.

      • bk70 - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:01 AM

        I hear you Rich, but we’ve been through 10 centers since Trent has started at LT. If Ryan Kelly is the real deal, then it would solidify the OL in 2016. I know not as flashy as an impact defensive lineman but we can get both, just not with the first pick.
        I’m also concerned that five other teams will select a Center in the draft and one of them select before we do.
        I’m also not giving up on Austin Reiter either, he’s just not ready to start now. Lichtensteiger or LeRibeus are welcome to prove me wrong in training camp. But Ryan Kelly should be our starting center in 2016.

  5. 226thebeatdontstop - Mar 18, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    No running game . Is it a sheme or player issue? I’m so sick of Lichtensteiger i don’t care if he is super smart or well liked, he’s undersized and gets pushed back into the backfield far too often…

    Matt Jones is unreliable,raw,and injury prone..Same with Chris Thompson..

    They still do not have safety’s! Starting caliber safety’s

    • sidepull - Mar 18, 2016 at 10:46 AM

      I understand its a preference by Gruden that he probably wants to go with more dynamic Rb’s and Alf was not getting it this year production wise but it does not make me like it any more that he is not worth keeping around. I mean a back that has averaged over 1k yards per year ( 4,700+) and does not get injured, doesn’t have a fumbling problem, gets ignored and they resign a guy CT who is a liability injury wise and has all of maybe 475 yfsc in his time here. I think Gruden loves him some CT and maybe with some luck, CT doesn’t get injured and has a great year much like Jordan Reed. But if he again, sits on the bench this year then what? Hes fast but fast means nothing when you are nursing injuries and on the bench. Still the main guy, MJ is being handed the keys to the kingdom and he hasn’t shown anything but some flashes. Big deal until he can stay on the field and not fumble. You are so right…we had NO running game. Its frustrating to watch. And to think Cuz did what he did without the help of a RB. And I don’t care either about all the love for our C’s. Beef it up and quit getting knocked back, sustain a block then a guy like Alf who needs multiple touches, would have a chance. Get a real C in the draft that they can finally groom. If they have a big ol mean nasty they are grooming now, please step up and take the position because what we are calling starters at C are backups really. Come on Callahan coach up those young-bloods.

      • ET - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:16 AM

        Chris Thompson is an entirely different player than Morris. Yeah, I suspect you’re correct that Gruden is very hopeful about Thompson’s upside, but Thompson probably won’t get more than 15 touches a game. Jones still has a lot to prove, yeah. But this incarnation of the team seems to be geared toward RB by commitee, not the workhorse role that Morris filled so well for a couple of years.

      • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:22 AM

        Chris Thompson was an exclusive rights free agent (since he was placed on waivers a couple of years ago, practice squad-ed and resigned.) So, in other words, HE’S SUPER CHEAP. He also provides a change of pace from Jones, so there is no comparison with Alf in what he offers the team and what he would be compensated. As for Alf, I too would love to see him back and if not having a successful year on a contender.

        As a glass half-full guy (as if you didn’t know), I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year may be similar to the year the Redskins didn’t resign “touchdown” Terry Allen and turned the keys over to a nobody who was punked and injured by his own teammate (a diva WR, no less) the year before. Stephen Davis had a great year and for once it appeared that Norv and Redskins knew something. Fingers crossed.

        • bk70 - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:42 AM

          “As for Alf, I too would love to see him back and if not having a successful year on a contender. ”

          I too believe in #46.

  6. 214hof - Mar 18, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    With the lack of effort to lock down a NT( so far) IMO it could mean a few things…

    They are drafting one high (1st or 2nd round)

    They believe they have a guy on the roster

    And my personal favorite, they are going to distance themselves from the 34 front.(not completely but one step closer to a hybrid/43)

    If they plan on playing less 34 fronts then they did last year (which would be a smidge more than a sprinkle) then I believe they can get by just lining up with Baker at NT. Some of the DLineman the skins have are better suited for 43 fronts any. Paea does the most damage from this front, and I bet Baker could as well. Murphy, Preston and Kerrigan all lined up with a hand in the dirt in various packages last year and could also do it again. The D could be pretty versatile, plus having a cover corner playing safety(Hall) and a reliable tackler playing in the slot (Jarrett) could give them some flexibility in blitz packages. I just don’t see Washington drafting a NT high when the position is so deep this year. I dont believe there is much separating the guys projected to go in the 1st from the guys pegged to go in the 2nd and 3rd, Just my opinion though.

    • ET - Mar 18, 2016 at 1:42 PM

      I don’t buy the often trotted out argument that the Skins should switch back to a straight 4-3, but there is something to your comment that they may continue to hybridize toward a 4-3 look. A bunch of these guys, as you note, are scheme-versatile. I love the idea of players like Baker and Smith lining up all over the front seven depending on distance and down. There are also a number of players in the secondary who could flip-flop roles situationally, as Hall and Jarrett did last year. The whole thing could create some intriguing and confusing looks.

      • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:14 PM

        ET, you amaze me at how often you respond with exactly with what I was thinking – except you’re concise and to the point.

    • sidepull - Mar 18, 2016 at 1:42 PM

      I am worried we are not going to see Jarrett. Is it just me or did anybody else get a sense that his injury could be career ending? I read the piece on his injury and where he is at with it and it just sounds like it was a freak injury . It just didn’t sound good. Hopefully he will get over this and be able to go. I just wonder once he has a nerve injury what are the chances of it recurring? Neuropathy is nothing to fool with. I hope he recovers. If not thats going to change the way they line it up.

      • 214hof - Mar 18, 2016 at 2:11 PM

        I read that same article and got the same feeling. I do hope he can come back from it, he was a great player for the Skins last year. He’s young and to have never damage for the rest of his life is crazy. I personally couldn’t/wouldn’t blame him if he decided to focus on his future over football.

      • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:18 PM

        As someone who has had neurological issues for the better part of eight years, I was perhaps ahead on this (no pun intended). Saw the same article and it sounds devastating. Hopefully, it’s something that he can return from even if it requires a year away from the game. Nerve healing is soooo slow.

    • Trey Gregory - Mar 19, 2016 at 2:18 AM

      I’m not sold on going back to the 4-3 at all. Why? Why is it better? Why shake up the group we’ve assembled to play 3-4, and who have experience in the 3-4, just to go back to the 4-3 for the sake of it?
      I agree we have some scheme versite guys but I just don’t see the need to make the change in the first place.

      The 3-4 works. And what we’re running now really isn’t a 3-4 anyway. 3-4s are two gap defenses. We 1 gap and play a 4 man front all the time (please no one explain why a 1 gap 3-4 is still a 3-4, I know). But I just listened to Bill Polian give this long explanation as to why a 1 gap 3-4 really isn’t a 3-4 and it made a ton of sense. They just didn’t know what else to call it, so it stuck (according to him).

      A lot of Dcoordinators are moving to this hybrid scheme because it works. I’m cool with just rolling with it. But you still need a nose tackle who is enough of a massive presence to take on two blockers, maybe even push them back. It’s just really ideal if you get one who can also play a 1 technique in your 4 man front. Can we all agree that taking a DT in the first who can play 0 and 1 technique would satisfy what we all want? A guy like that would be very valuable in my opinion. But I do think there’s a drop off between a guy like Reed or Billings and the guys we would find in the 2nd or 3rd round.

      • 214hof - Mar 19, 2016 at 2:46 AM

        Austin Johnson 6’4″ 323 lbs Penn St.

        Vernon Butler 6’3″ 316 lbs Louisiana Tech

        Kenny Clark 6’3″ 310 UCLA

        All of these guys are outside the first and one could argue lower floor higher ceiling with all 3. The D line is pretty deep this year, these guys would be late 1st in a different draft class and could possibly be around in the 3rd. The draft is a crapshoot though.

  7. Chad - Mar 18, 2016 at 2:05 PM

    Am I alone here in thinking once jarrett is healthy hes gonna be a pretty good safety? I seen last year before he got hurt he was improving fast. I mean he’s a late round pick that’s playing 4 positions. He played Corner,nickel,FS,SS. I thought I remembered him lining up in a LB position 1 time, but didn’t include that because it could have been a nickel and looked like LB because of where he was when the snap occured.
    I’m excited to see this kid grow. He’s the type us redskins fan love, late round pick,not expected to do much but comes in and over acheives.
    Httr

    • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Chad, I don’t think you’re wrong in “thinking that ONCE Jarrett is healthy,” he’ll be a good safety. The question is WHEN. Nerve damage is a slow recovery.and unlike other injuries, he can’t strengthen the area while recovering. The area affected has atrophied and can’t be restored until the nerve(s) are healed. Then it’s getting back the strength you lost – all before any improvements. The good thing is that he seemed to be mentally capable to play all the positions you mentioned so he just needs to heal first.

  8. Bryan - Mar 18, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    Dline has got to be the pick in first and possible 2nd or 3rd but this draft is loaded so let’s load up. Baker is 28/29 and he is only young good dline man we got. We need to get c and another young CB/s I like potential for wr from Ohio st but not at 21 . Build the lines and maybe he is there in 2nd round. But we have got to keep solid lines on both sides. I agree a c more than likely Martin from nd. Bc Kelly likely gone butjust don’t think there is a wr in this draft . that is that good in comparison to some past drafts. Also rich I’m not discounting what you say bc I love reading your stuff. But you say eventually we have to take impact players and that’s why we won’t take kelly but shreff was impactful in that he was solid and helped online, I don’t care who we get if they come in and play well that’s impactful. Now if you mean superstar I guess that different but hard to know

    • bk70 - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:30 PM

      “Bryan – Bc Kelly likely gone”
      Don’t forget that the Cleveland Browns selected Cameron Erving/Center with the 19th pick in the 2015 draft.
      Yes they had two 1st round picks, but also realize that they lost Alex Mack/Center (Best) in free agency.
      We can still get a great DL and SS in rounds 2 and 3. Take Ryan Kelly if he’s there at 21.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:51 PM

        The Browns are pretty sorry they made that pick. I didn’t hate it at the time, but so far he’s terrible.
        ~

      • Bryan - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:57 PM

        I’m not against taking kelly in round 1 especially if we move back in round one like cowgirls did few years ago but I honestly feel we should grab a dline guy first but if we move back and pick up say another 3 n get Kelly I’d be all for it. I’m a online and dline guy and I want that built up either way

  9. smotion55 - Mar 18, 2016 at 4:03 PM

    As for center They can draft Boehm out of Missouri in the 4th or Cole Toner Harvard he played all 3 positions and would work at center, my sleeper is Matt Skura out of Duke smart, good size in the late rounds or free agent. We need NOSE TACKLE in the 1st couple of rounds. GM will pick early for sure, they are very good this as are CBs very deep.

    • Trey Gregory - Mar 19, 2016 at 2:21 AM

      Never heard of some of these guys. Harvard and Duke hu? I’ll have to check them out. Some really good players get overlooked because of the schools they go to.

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