With preseason coming to an end, and a plethora of questions surrounding the ceiling (or floor, whichever you prefer) of this team, I will attempt to tackle one of the bigger questions: who survives final cuts?
Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Colt McCoy
While McCoy’s injury status isn’t exactly promising — as it effectively ended his role in the QB battle — I think he’s a lock along with Keenum and Haskins at quarterback. I highly doubt Gruden tests his luck with two QBs on the roster again after last season’s carousel of pure mediocrity.
Running Back (4):
Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine
The first three are absolute locks, but Perine has been on the bubble all offseason. Although I don’t believe he has shown enough in the preseason to warrant a spot (aside from a couple nice runs), he’s played better than Gruden-favorite Byron Marshall, thus receiving the final spot at the position. Undrafted free agent Craig Reynolds has also been impressive, but seems to be more of a practice squad candidate than a true roster threat.
Wide Receiver (6):
Paul Richardson, Terry McLaurin, Trey Quinn, Cam Sims, Robert Davis, Kelvin Harmon
It feels rather evident that Josh Doctson’s less-than-illustrious Redskins career will soon be coming to an end, whether that be via trade or by simply being released during the cutdown to 53 men. This leaves Washington with an incredibly young and unproven group, yet that’s sort of exciting — right? Robert Davis, Cam Sims, and Kelvin Harmon have all shown flashes of serious potential this offseason, and I’d be hard-pressed not to admit that I’m curious about what they can do this year. McLaurin also seems like an intriguing prospect with a significant amount of hype surrounding him, despite limited in-game reps in the preseason. Still, consider me truly captivated by this group.
Tight End (3):
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
Reed and Davis are obvious locks, but I think Sprinkle has done enough to warrant another year on the roster. His size and decent blocking is something to be valued deep on the roster. Donald Parham has great size and some interesting potential, but I think the team sticks with just three tight ends going into the season.
Offensive Line (9):
Donald Penn, Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Geron Christian, Wes Martin, Ross Pierschbacher, Tony Bergstrom
I had a hard time determining who would fill out the backend of the line for this team, but I think developmental prospects Geron Christian and Ross Pierschbacher will find themselves on the team this year with a high probability of playing at some point, given this team’s track record of injured linemen. I wouldn’t consider either game-ready, especially Christian after he showed some early struggles this preseason, but both have some promise. Ereck Flowers has been a pain to watch, but the confidence he’s gotten from Gruden tells me he’ll get an early shot at some playing time, despite being outplayed by rookie Wes Martin for most of the offseason.
Defensive Line (5):
Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Caleb Brantley
Probably the easiest prediction on this list, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t exactly how this group looked going into the season. All have impressed a great deal this offseason and deserve spots on the roster.
Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Ryan Anderson, Cassanova McKinzy
Cassanova McKinzy has been a fan favorite since he signed with Washington last season, and for good reason. He’s been extremely productive this offseason, and rounds out a pretty solid group. Anderson showed improvement last year against the run and should be a decent rotational piece alongside first-round pick and man child Montez Sweat.
Shaun Dion Hamilton, Jon Bostic, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Cole Holcomb, BJ Blunt
This group would obviously look a lot better with Reuben Foster on it, but all things considered, it’s not a bad group. Shaun Dion Hamilton is a really solid young player who should step up alongside Bostic, who’s a serviceable stopgap in Foster’s absence. Holcomb is a guy I’ve been very impressed with in training camp and the preseason. His closing speed is fantastic and he has a knack for being around the ball; I like what he brings to the depth of the group.
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Greg Stroman
With a strong mix of veteran experience and youthful promise, I think Washington has a lot of decisions to make with this group. While Adonis Alexander has the physicality and size the team clearly likes, his early camp struggles and lack of availability lead me to believe that fellow Hokie Greg Stroman will grab the last spot on the depth chart. Everyone else, including everyone’s favorite seventh-round selection Jimmy Moreland, are locks.
Landon Collins, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke, JoJo McIntosh
Let me be clear, Troy Apke has not been good this offseason. In fact, I would go as far as to say he’s been rather terrible (particularly in the tackling department). Despite this, I have a feeling Gruden will stick with the second-year Penn State alum as depth behind Landon Collins and Montae Nicholson. I also think JoJo McIntosh has done enough to earn a spot after being picked up as an undrafted free agent out of Washington (the University of Washington, of course).
Special Teams (3):
Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg
No surprises here. Hopkins, Way, and Sundberg faced no competition going into the season.
Practice Squad (10):
RB Craig Reynolds, WRs Darvin Kidsy and Steven Sims, TEs Matt Flanagan and Donald Parham, G Jerald Foster, DL Ryan Bee, LBs Jordan Brailford and Gary Johnson, CB Deion Harris
Kidsy and Sims performed strong enough at the tail end of the preseason to get an extended look on the practice squad, with Sims particularly excelling in the fourth game against Baltimore. Brailford is another interesting prospect, but injuries sidelined him for the majority of the offseason. UDFA Ryan Bee will be one to keep an eye out on after some solid play on the defensive line. The line is deep with talent, but a guy like Bee could definitely be valuable later in the season in case of any injuries.
RB Bryce Love
The intention from the beginning seemed to have Love have a redshirt year this year while he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in his senior year at Stanford.
Did Not Report (1):
OT Trent Williams
It doesn’t appear Williams will be playing any football unless it’s in a different uniform, even if Bruce Allen says otherwise. Washington will have a tough time replacing a player of Williams’ talent.