Redskins sleepers and surprise cuts

The latest from Breaking Burgundy analyst Chris Russell, who scours the Redskins roster for sleepers that might make the team and veterans who might not.

The Redskins report to training camp on Wednesday in Richmond and begin practice on Thursday. It's their third consecutive year away from Redskins Park.

What they bring to the capital of the Commonwealth is a much better roster. A roster capable of actually winning games in all three phases.

Washington, just like every other team is allowed to carry up to 90 players which gives us plenty of players to evaluate.

There will be some very interesting decisions to make on Labor Day weekend for Scot McCloughan and company so let's take a look at some potential surprise cuts and some sleepers that could make the initial 53-man roster.

Sleepers:

Willie Smith, OT - Five years of NFL experience but he doesn't have much playing time to show for those five seasons. What he does have is plenty of practice reps and theoretically an advantage over youngsters like Takoby Cofield and Ty Nsekhe for an offensive tackle spot.

Could Smith push Tom Compton or even Morgan Moses off the roster? Probably not, but it's not like either of the above mentioned have shown dramatic improvement.

Evan Spencer & Rashad Ross, WR - Spencer, a sixth round pick from Ohio State and known for his blocking along with some trick-play ability is battling Ross for either a sixth spot on the roster in the wide receiver group OR perhaps even Andre Roberts. The reason? Ross can return some kicks and that will help his cause if he continues to develop as a wide receiver.

Devin Mahina, TE - Mahina impressed coaches at times during the off-season program from what I heard from several people. He never really stood out when media was allowed to watch practice. If he can block consistently, he could earn a spot considering Jordan Reed's health status which is always in doubt.

Surprise Cuts:

DeAngelo Hall, CB - The Redskins would be nuts to do this in my eyes because of his leadership and other questions at the cornerback position, but because of money, age and a comeback from a double-blown Achilles, I can't rule this out.

Andre Roberts, WR - If Spencer and Ross have a good August and early September for different reasons, Roberts could be on the outside looking in. He was very good early on last year on third downs but then he dropped too many passes and was a non-factor much of the way as a returner.

Kedric Golston, DL - Frank Kearse showed some pass-rush ability last year and appears to have bulked up a bit to avoid getting "pinged around" as Jay Gruden calls it. Washington also signed DT Jerrell Powe who started a few games at nose-tackle for the Houston Texans last year.

Combined with the additions of Ricky Jean Francois, Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton and the return of Jason Hatcher along with Chris Baker, it could be three players battling for one roster spot. Golston is versatile which helps.

These are just some of the many battles that will play out over the next month and change with four preseason games to help the evaluation.


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