Projecting the Redskins' final 53-man roster

Taking a position-by-position look at all the roster possibilities and battles heading into the Washington Redskins' final preseason game.

The Washington Redskins' roster stands at the league maximum 75 players entering Thursday's fourth and final preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. That number must be reduced to 53 by Saturday. Here are my latest projections on those 53. Another version to follow after the game. 

Quarterback (2): Kirk CousinsColt McCoy

  • Correct, no Robert Griffin III. Even if he's only working on the Scout team during practice, Griffin blowing out his knee or suffering another concussion or any kind of "serious" injury could end up guaranteeing his $16 million contract for 2016 If they're moving on without RG3 as starter going forward, then the Redskins simply cannot take the risk of injury because of the contract scenario. As for how they go about moving him, the best guess via waivers. Take the 2015 salary cap hit and move on. Perhaps some team believes they can fix Griffin's woes and offers Washington a late round pick. Perhaps some team with an established QB takes a shot on RG3's upside with a deal figuring the QB wouldn't willingly join a situation where there is no chance he starts. Ultimately, a trade seems unlikely considering all the baggage and moving parts. That said, I covered a Washington Wizards team that moved Gilbert Arenas' onerous contract, so anything is possible. So is the Redskins adding a third QB should they part ways with Griffin.

Running back (4)Alfred MorrisDarrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

  • Hold for Trey Williams thoughts

Wide receiver (6)DeSean JacksonPierre Garcon, Ryan Grant, Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, Rashad Ross

  • Ross keeps racking up stats while Evan Spencer (concussion) missed last week's game with a shoulder injury.

Tight end (3)Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier, Je'Ron Hamm

  • If we had to project which unit ends up including a player not currently on the 75-man roster, this is the one. 

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Spencer Long, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus 

  • Willie Smith goes from starting against the Lions to getting cut this week. I seem to recall the head coach saying Smith did OK that night when questions about the ineffective offensive line popped up. Oh well. Anyway, that leaves Compton, Ty Nsekhe and rookie Takoby Cofield as the remaining reserve tackles. Going into the season with only one seems risky, though Scherff can swing outside in theory. LeRibeus is the default pick at backup center unless rookie Austin Reiter steals the spot (doubtful) or they comfortable with Long in that role. More likely 10 lineman tick than eight.

Defensive line (7):  Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Ricky-Jean Francois, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse.

  • Only real roster debate here is whether all seven make it or one gets knocked off because of needs elsewhere.

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat

Inside linebacker: (4): Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley Jr., Will Compton, Martell Spaight

  • Smith certainly looks the part of an NFL pass rusher and he'll have plenty of opportunity to show more against the Jaguars. ...Outside backer Houston Bates and inside tackler Terrance Plummer might just be on the wrong side of the roster math, though keeping a ninth linebacker isn't a stretch.

Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

  • Ten defensive backs, hmmm. Rogers appears safe with Breeland suspended for Week 1. After that, somebody from group could get the axe especially if needs arise elsewhere

Special teams (3): Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg

Number 53: @Trey Williams

  • In case you haven't been adding along, that's 52 players so far, leaving one final spot. Basically we're talking about a fifth RB (Williams), or ninth LB (Houston Bates or Terrance Plummer) or 10th offensive lineman (Takoby Cofield). With the emphasis on the running game and Matt Jones consistently banged up throughout the preseason, the shifty Williams gets the nod over Bates and Cofield.

Lucky 54: With Breeland suspended for Week 1, another spot opens up. This probably comes down to any injuries sustained in Thursday's game or at least before Sept. 13. I continually find myself wanting to keep Cofield on the roster. That the team shifted from tackle to guard and then back to tackle indicates they believe he can play on the outside. Considering the general uncertainty at that position outside of Trent Williams, having more options around doesn't seem like a bad option.

Vulnerable veterans: There are always a couple of roster shockers. Nothing from Monday's cuts surprised. Law of averages suggest we might get some Saturday. LeRibeus, Golston and Trenton Robinson seem like the most in danger while Ross could lose out to Spencer or a decision to keep only five wide receivers. Speaking of the receivers, I've maintained dealing Roberts makes sense if the coaching staff believes Grant and Crowder can step into regular roles. Roberts rebounded during preseason after a so-so training camp. He's a quality receiver -- which is why other needy teams (Carolina?) could be interested. 

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