Wondering what the Redskins' final roster could look like by the end of the week? So were we. Here's our best guess:
Quarterbacks: John Beck, Rex Grossman, Kellen Clemens
Beck and Grossman were obvious choices. The question is: Which one will be the starter? There’s been talk Washington will go with just the two quarterbacks, but that could be a risky move. Keeping Clemens rather than having to sign an emergency quarterback midseason would give them a QB with some experience in the system.
Running Backs: Tim Hightower, Ryan Torain, Roy Helu, Evan Royster
Royster is a popular practice squad pick for many, but he’s a solid pass blocker and the Redskins might need him if Torain can’t get healthy. In fact, Torain’s lack of durability will be something to monitor all year. Mike Shanahan likes him, but Helu and Royster have been reliable all preseason, and if Torain misses a bunch of games he could find himself on the outside looking in.
Fullback: Darrel Young
The fullback position isn’t a staple in the Shanahan offense, but Young is a fresh, young option who can play special teams in addition to being a receiving threat out of the backfield.
Wide Receivers: Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong, Leonard Hankerson, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks
Niles Paul and Donte Stallworth were under consideration, but the receiver position is deep this year. The Redskins will have to pray they can sneak Paul onto their practice squad. Stallworth doesn’t fit in with the youth movement, so he’s likely on his way out. Austin has been one of Washington’s best players in the preseason and Banks is too explosive to leave off the roster (though he could end up on the IR if his injured knee doesn’t improve).
Tight Ends: Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen
Cooley’s injured knee is a concern, but he is expected to be a go for the season opener. If he isn’t, Davis showed he can carry the load, filling in for Cooley in the second half of 2008. Paulsen will be the blocking tight end again. Mike Sellers might end up on the final roster in a tight end/fullback role, but his $950,000 salary is a bit steep for a guy who would mostly play special teams.
Offensive Line: Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Jammal Brown, Artis Hicks, Sean Locklear, Erik Cook, Maurice Hurt
The starters look better than they have in years. The Montgomery experiment looks good and Jammal Brown is finally healthy. Depth is a concern though as Locklear is the top reserve option at tackle. He was signed August 5. Hicks can play guard or tackle, which is key since Cook and Hurt are interior linemen. Willie Smith and Xavier Fulton are two of the young, raw tackles that could land on the practice squad.
Defensive Line: Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Anthony Bryant, Darrion Scott, Chris Neild
Jarvis Jenkins’ injury paves way for another defensive linemen and Neild is the choice. The Redskins might decide to put Neild on the practice squad and keep Doug Worthington, but Neild has good leverage and could be used at nose tackle if the Redskins decide to use Cofield as a defensive end at any point. The depth took a serious hit with Jenkins going down as there wasn’t much behind Scott at defensive end.
Linebackers: London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Keyaron Fox, Lorenzo Alexander, Perry Riley, Rob Jackson
Rookie Markus White will probably head to the practice squad as the Redskins have a strong corps of linebackers this season. Fox has quickly stepped into the backup spot behind Fletcher and the coaching staff wants Riley to eventually grow into the other middle linebacker spot. Alexander will come in handy thanks to his willingness to play multiple positions. Horatio Blades is likely gone with the Redskins signing both McIntosh and Fox this offseason.
Cornerbacks: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Kevin Barnes, Byron Westbrook, Brandyn Thompson, Phillip Buchanon (Suspended List)
Thompson and Westbrook don’t have to fight it out for the last spot at corner since Buchanon will miss the first four weeks of the season due to suspension. However, one of them will probably be headed out the door upon his return.
Safeties: LaRon Landry, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes, Kareem Moore (PUP List)
As poor a tackler as Moore was, he has flashed potential in coverage in the past. The Redskins need him healthy if Atogwe continues to be limited with hamstring issues. Chris Horton hasn’t been good enough against the pass to merit a spot and it doesn’t help him that Gomes has been impressive this preseason. The Redskins loved Doughty enough to re-sign him to a three-year deal. He can play in a variety of situations, which is crucial considering Landry is battling back from an injured Achilles.
Kicker: Graham Gano
After the Shayne Graham debacle, Gano has gone relatively unchallenged unless you believe Clint Stitser will turn the tables in the final game of the preseason. Heading into the regular season, it’s Gano’s job to lose.
Punter: Sav Rocca
The Redskins didn’t even sign an emergency punter when Rocca was unable to report to Redskins Park until training camp was a week old. He isn’t an elite punter, but so far he’s averaged 45.6 yards per punt and had five kicks land inside the 20-yard line. Washington’s punters averaged a collective 40.2 yards per punt last season.
Long Snapper: Nick Sundberg
Sundberg is the only long snapper on the roster, and barring an unforeseen injury, it will stay that way.