As we move past the NFL Draft and the bulk of free agency, it's time to start looking ahead to the overall roster and its ultimate composition. Since it's super early in the offseason process -- we're still a couple of months from the start of training camp if nothing else -- making final projections seems a bit premature. However, we can see the likely battles shaping up. Let's start examining those scenarios with the defensive backs.
Positions: Cornerback, safety
Roster spots: 9-10
The scenario: It's possible veteran Will Blackmon, who is making a shift from corner to safety, drops into this discussion later in the offseason. For now, the 31-year-old is part of the nine locks, a group that includes corners Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar along with safeties DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, Su'a Cravens and David Bruton. Only Ihenacho, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, was part of that safety group a year ago while Breeland is the only one of those corners who was part of the every-down plan starting last season.
Based on the forecast for the entire 53-man roster, Washington may not have any more room in its secondary beyond those nine, though there's enough perceived depth that the Redskins felt comfortable releasing Chris Culliver. Of course, we live in the real world where preseason injuries occur. There will also be cross-position debates as the Redskins ponder the number of tight ends (3 or 4?), offensive linemen (9 or 10?) inside linebackers (4 or 5?) and so on with special teams contributions often a final tiebreaker.
Experience is the advantage for Toler, 31, who has played 72 NFL games since the start of 2009. That includes 10 games -- all starts -- with Indianapolis last season. The Redskins have a dynamic pair of starting corners in Norman and Breeland, but truly green options behind them. Dunbar impressed late last season, but is still less than a year removed from playing wide receiver. Redskins GM Scot McCloughan has high expectations for Fuller, but the third-round pick will make the transition from college to the NFL while coming off microfracture knee surgery.
Like Blackmon, Everett will receive looks at safety after spending last season at corner. Versatility and special teams play can only help the second-year defender's cause.
Jarrett's situation isn't about performance but legitimate concerns over nerve issues with the safety/slot corner's neck. The Washington Post recently reported that the 2015 sixth-round pick who turned into a valuable contributor last season has lost around 30 pounds since his January injury.
“We’ll wait and see," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Jarrett. "He’s still seeing some doctors and getting some more opinions on what’s going on. We’ll get to the bottom of it. We’re going to do what’s best for Kyshoen and our fingers are crossed. We’re going to do what’s right by him and he’s going to do his best to get ready, whatever happens.”
In other words, hope for the best, but don't count on much, if any, on-field contribution from Jarrett this season right now.
Other defensive backs on the roster include cornerbacks Jeremy Harris and Dashaun Phillips.
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