The latest and final 53-man Redskins roster projection from Breaking Burgundy publisher Ben Standig is online, but we wanted more discussion. Now Ben and Breaking Burgundy senior writer Chris Russell tackle roster related questions ahead of Saturday's final cutdown day.
From start of training camp to now, who is the biggest surprise making the 53-man roster?
Russell: When training camp started, I didn't have Houston Bates or Terrance Plummer on my 53-man roster and I strongly believe at least one of the two and perhaps both will make it. Justin Rogers is another one. He might not have made it if Bashaud Breeland didn't get hurt and suspended for week one on the same day. I've been high on Rashad Ross, so I can't say that would be a surprise.
Standig: Since Chris went with the linebackers, let me look elsewhere, like right at Chris Thompson. Sure, the shifty running back looked good for the final 53 for sometime, but let's not forget where things stood earlier this summer. Silas Redd Jr. wasn't just healthy, but arguably leading the competition. We've been teased by Thompson talk before only for an injury to dash all the fun. Ironically, Redd went down with a season-ending injury while Thompson remained upright. Now he's a roster lock, but the likely third down RB option.
From start of training camp to now, the biggest surprise NOT making the 53-man roster?
Russell: Spencer Long. Perhaps not a surprise after he stunk up the joint on Thursday night. Because of Josh LeRibeus' position versatility - he has been working mostly at center - I think you have to take him over Long. Perhaps Long might one day be the better player, but I need experience and versatility at this point.
Standig: Willie Smith. The Redskins had almost no depth on the offensive line and major uncertainty at right tackle entering this summer. This guy played in 15 games for the Chargers last season. Maybe he wasn't a slam dunk to make the roster, but to get cut before the final preseason game??? Oh, Willie. As for Long, he's not on my final 53, but I wasn't a fan from the start. Obviously it would be stunning if a third round selection from last season is gone so quickly.
The 53rd player is likely a 5th running back, 10th linebacker, offensive lineman or defensive back. How do you assess those need areas with the specific final cut options in mind?
Russell: The so-called 53rd man has to be able to contribute to special teams in almost all cases. I am not going with a fifth running back or a tenth offensive lineman, but I am going with an even ten at linebacker.
I have five and five, inside and out. While that might be a reach, I want somebody to tell me a good reason why I should tell Houston Bates or Terrance Plummer that they don't belong. I have a very difficult time doing that. With so many safeties on the roster and especially because Kyshoen Jarrett can play some corner, I don't feel the need to take a fifth corner for week one and that player would likely be released for Bashaud Breeland after week one anyway.
Standig: Chris makes a valid case for keeping 10 linebackers, truly. For now I've got nine with the "53rd" spot going to a 10th defensive back. DeAngelo Hall, who is working his way back into game shape, needed extra reps in the fourth preseason game. Bashaud Breeland is out Week 1 due to suspension, but also recovering from a knee injury. David Amerson labored most of of the offseason. Justin Rogers can help at corner and on teams. If the Redskins think Plummer is simply the better ST option, then he gets the nod.
Is Robert Griffin III on the Week 1 roster and should he be?
Russell: I believe Robert Griffin III will be on the initial 53-man roster because of various reasons. I really think certain members of the executive branch still want Griffin to be a Redskin. He's very difficult to trade and he counts 6.7 million under the cap either way. This is an organization that often thinks very different than what common sense would dictate. Because of that, I say he's on.
Standig: Nope and nope.