Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Quest For 53 Pt.1 (Predicting the Final 53 Man Roster)

So here is my first (albeit weak) attempt at predicting the 53 man roster. It's still early and I think some decisions are yet to be made, but here's my guess. You may or may not be surprised to see a few "empty spots" left in a few places. Simply put, I would not be surprised to see a few players currently not on the squad make the final 53 man roster.
Offense
QB (2)
Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman

Comment: So far we haven't seen anything from Richard Bartel. He's been either injured or not used in the pre-season games. Bartel looked decent at training camp but will have to show a lot to make the 53 man roster. John Beck struggled in his appearance against the Bills. He has some qualities Mike and Kyle Shanahan like in their QBs: quick release, decent arm and mobility. But with needs at other positions will the Redskins keep either QB to develop? Also worth noting, Bartel could be kept on the practice squad if the Skins decide to only keep two QBs on the active roster.

RB (5)
Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers, Larry Johnson, Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams

Comment: Portis and Sellers are locks. Johnson, despite looking weak against the Ravens, should make the roster. He has impressed in camp. Willie Parker will have to really impress this week against the Jets or I think he won't be there. Torain so far looks like the best pass catcher of the RB corp., can play special teams and might be a better pass blocker than Johnson, Parker or Williams. Williams wouldn't surprise me at all if he's back with Devin Thomas returning kicks this year. He also has looked good at times in goal line situations.

Keep an eye on Darrel Young. At worst, I think the Skins bring him back as a practice squad player. If Mike Sellers is still banged up or if he really wow's the coaches with his FB and special teams skills, he could make the roster.

TE (3)
Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Lee Vickers

Comment: Cooley and Davis need no explanation. My understanding is that Vickers has impressed as a blocker but also is a sneaky pass catcher (think of a younger version of Todd Yoder).

WR (6)
Santana Moss, Devin Thomas, Anthony Armstrong, Joey Galloway, Brandon Banks, Empty Spot

Comment: This unit has so much potential, but is scary because a few of the players are getting (have gotten) old and the rest are either inconsistent or unproven. Joey Galloway hasn't even caught a pass this pre-season. Brandon Banks, if he makes the roster, will primarily be the Skins punt returner. The empty spot could be a Redskin (looks like it's down to rookie Terrence Austin, oft injured Malcolm Kelly, Roydell Williams and Bobby Wade), but so far nobody has earned the spot like Anthony Armstrong has. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Skins skim the waiver wire as the first cuts come and even look for a WR in the final cuts. Also worth noting is that Austin and Banks could be put on the practice squad.

O-Line (9)
Trent Williams, Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Artis Hicks, Jammal Brown, Stephon Heyer, Kory Lichtensteiger, Edwin Williams, Empty Spot

Comment: I'm fine with the starters. Stephon Heyer has emerged as a decent backup and starting RT in a pinch. I've also been impressed at times by Lichtensteiger. After that the talent drops off. Edwin Williams has had ups and downs but has looked better than most of the other depth. Will the final spot go to William Robinson or Chad Rinehart? Or will the Skins look elsewhere for depth on the O-line.

Special Teams

Graham Gano (K), Josh Bidwell (P), Nick Sundberg (LS)
Comment: Gano and Bidwell have pretty much had their jobs since the start of camp. Sundberg I just made a guess and picked the incumbent. Unless you're a coach, if you're really evaluating and keeping a close eye on the long snapper competition between Nick Sundberg and James Dearth you deserve a gold star.

Defense

D-line (7)
Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Albert Haynesworth, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Phillip Daniels, Anthony Bryant, Vonnie Holliday.

Comment: With injury histories for both Kemoeatu and Haynesworth I think they keep Bryant to provide extra insurance at NT. Darrion Scott and Jeremy Jarmon could be fighting for a roster spot against veterans Phillip Daniels and Vonnie Holliday. The Skins may go for the youth movement and take one of the younger guys over the veterans if the competition is close. Again, that's a big if. Also, don't be surprised to see the line be at six if the Skins need to keep an extra safety while Kareem Moore recovers from his knee injury.

Linebackers (9)
Brian Orakpo, Rocky McIntosh, London Fletcher, Andre Carter, Lorenzo Alexander, H.B. Blades, Perry Riley, Chris Wilson, Robert Henson

Comment: I'm sold at 8 of the 9 spots especially after the Skins cut Chris Draft. Robert Henson will have to earn a roster spot by playing special teams. Again, don't be too surprised if the Skins go with eight linebackers to keep an extra safety until Kareem Moore is available.

Secondary (9)
DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rogers, LaRon Landry, Kareem Moore, Reed Doughty, Chris Horton, Phillip Buchanon, Kevin Barnes, Justin Tryon.

Comment: There are three players that have been here since OTAs that are still in the hunt for a roster spot (Byron Westbrook, Ramzee Robinson and Lendy Holmes) and  one player (Tyrone Carter) who was just signed. While Tryon has stepped up in some of the pre-season games, I don't think there's any guarantee that he makes the final 53. The Redskins may keep an extra FS for a few weeks until Kareem Moore recovers from his knee injury or they may just rotate Reed Doughty and Chris Horton in until Moore is ready.

While I'd say about 45 roster spots have been filled, I think it's a fair statement to say that there are about 8 spots up for grabs as we head towards the third game of the pre-season. Keep an eye on RB, WR, O-Line, D-Line and CB in particular. I still believe that the Redskins are scouting the other teams and watching the waiver wire for some players that might become Redskins. Don't be too surprised to see 2-3 guys not currently on the squad to join the team. The Skins still have some issues with their depth and hopefully they can find some players to fill those needs (if some of the players currently on the roster can't).

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