Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An early attempt at the Redskins 53 man roster

It's about that time. I'm tired of waiting for the remaining free agents to sort themselves out, so I'm ready to dive into preseason and start going into the roster in depth. It's seems like as good a time as any to take my first (futile) whack at predicting who will make the 53 man roster.

I intend, as I always do, to do a more in depth look at each position group as we enter training camp and the preseason. As such, I am for now just laying out my hypothetical 53 man roster without further explanation. But reasoning did go into this, and it will be laid out in the upcoming posts.

Multiple disclaimers are in order:

- More free agent signing could occur, blowing up everything. I assume the Redskins will do this just to piss me off.

- There hasn't even been any preseason action yet, so in many cases I'm making assumptions about the relative quality of guys I haven't seen play. My judgments are certain to change as more evidence comes available. In general, I give the benefit of the doubt to guys who I have seen perform rather than vague "potential" - though there are exceptions.

- Injuries will, of course, make some of this irrelevant.

- Major inferences are being made. The idea of keeping two kickers, for example, is not based on "reporting." It merely seems like a reasonable possibility as I look over the roster.
- I have made an assumption that recent position switches - Mike Sellers to TE, Keiland Williams to FB, Lorenzo Alexander to ILB - are permanent.

- I hope you don't expect this to be, you know, accurate. It never is. None of us know what decisions Mike Shanahan will make. But its fun to think through, and as an exercise can help us wrap our head around the strengths and weakness of the roster.

Starter: Rex Grossman
Backup: John Beck
3rd QB: Kellen Clemens

Running Backs
Primary tailback: Ryan Torain
Fullback: Keiland Williams
3rd down back: Tim Hightower
Backup: Roy Helu
Notable cuts: Evan Royster, James Davis, Darrel Young

Tight Ends
Starter: Chris Cooley
2nd TE: Fred Davis
Blocking TE: Mike Sellers
Notable cut: Logan Paulsen

Wide Receivers
Starters: Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney
3rd WR: Anthony Armstrong
Backup WRs: Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul, Brandon Banks
Notable cuts: Donte Stallworth, Aldrick Robinson, Malcolm Kelly, Terrence Austin

Offensive Line
Starting tackles: Trent Williams, Jammal Brown
Starting guards: Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester
Center: Will Montgomery
Backup OT/OGs: Artis Hicks, Selvish Capers
Backup C/G: Eric Cook
Backup OT: Willie Smith
Notable cuts: Maurice Hurt

Defensive Line
Starting ends: Adam Carriker, Stephen Bowen
Starting nose tackle: Barry Cofield
Backup ends: Jarvis Jenkins, Darrion Scott
Backup tackles: Anthony Bryant, Chris Nield

Starting outside linebackers: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan
Starting inside linebackers: London Fletcher, Perry Riley
Backup OLBs: Rob Jackson, Markus White
Backup ILB: Lorenzo Alexander, Horatio Blades
Notable cut: Robert Henson
Notable unretained FA: Chris Wilson

Defensive backs
Starting corners: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson
Starting safeties: LaRon Landry, O.J. Atogwe
Nickel corner: Kevin Barnes [Philip Buchanon is on a four game suspension, and will not initially count against 53 man roster]
Backup corners: Byron Westbrook, Brandyn Thompson
Backup safeties: Kareem Moore, DeJon Gomes
Notable cut: Chris Horton
Notable unretained FA: Reed Doughty

Regular field goal kicker: Shayne Graham
Kickoff specialist and 45 yard+ field goal kicker: Graham Gano
Punter: Sav Rocca
Long snapper: Nick Sundberg


  1. What about Chris Horton??? I see Robert Henson making this team as a backup ILB. Markus White will be on the practice squad. As well as DeJon Gomes and Niles Paul. Malcolm Kelly makes this team and has a break out year.

  2. Good point. I neglected to mention Horton as a "notable cut," but I have added him. I just get the impression that this coaching staff doesn't think very highly of him. But with Landry hurting and Doughty possibly a goner, Horton may be the most realistic option for a little run defense.

    By the way this is Dave (the writer) - the site is being screwy and not letting me log in to post replies under my own name.

  3. Other than a couple spots Id be happy with that roster. Not a championship roster but definitly on the right track. Im excited to see this team in action. Good job, Dave. HTTR!

  4. Hi, I like your site and your analysis, but I'm not sold on this roster prediction, especially the QBs...

    First, I doubt they'd keep 3.

    Second... They've seen Grossman. And he's fine. But If Beck and Grossman are roughly equal in camp, Beck will surely get the start to see what he can do. I think you'd agree that Rex would have to be noticeably better to get the start in game 1.

    I don't get the prevailing belief that Beck is "no good" (I know you didn't say that, but I'm lumping you in based on your prediction that he can't win the job even with the wind in his sails). He wasn't "no good" before. The circumstances of his path in NFL is not an indication (imo) that he is no good. Playing in the right system for a decent team is everything. Remember Mark Rypien? Both Beck and Grossman are far better athletes than he was. After four years of grooming in Gibbs' "hand it off, hit the play-action/long ball when the defense loads the box" offense, he took his SB MVP to Cleveland for a big FA paycheck. And he was immediately and totally exposed. Out of football soon after while still young and in his athletic prime. Without the system he couldn't play at all on the NFL level.

    Beck isn't like that at all. In fact, if he plays better than Kevin Kolb this year, he would be exactly what Shanahan said he was coming out of college: "the best QB in the that draft." If he fits this system like the coaches say he does... He should be good. Maybe he'll be terrible, I don't have a crystal ball, but I just don't see any reason to think that will happen.

    Personally, I do think he's a scary combination of skinny and reckless with his own body, so he might not last. But this team will be able to run and block much better than the last 3 seasons. They should provide much improved support for either QB. I expect a pretty good offense with either guy. But based on what he did in college and the Shanahans' stated reasons for going out and getting him, I expect Beck to play very well if he can stay healthy long enough to get comfortable.

    Just my 2 cents. Your site is always a good read. Keep up the good work.

    ps - I love Brandon Banks too, but he ain't navigating this particular minefield. Kelly or Robinson, or maybe just go with 5 wr.

  5. not buying into the Kelly hype?

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