Washington Redskins 53-man roster predictions; Defensive players at this week's OTA

The Redskins defense looks much improved on paper, but significant roster battles exist all three levels heading into the summer.

The first of three Organized Team Activities (OTA) will take place Tuesday-Thursday at Redskins Park, bringing together the returning veterans from the 2015 NFC East championship squad, free agent additions and incoming rookies. Altogether there will be around 100 players at Ashburn this week. Before making some way to early 53-man roster projections for the Washington Redskins, here is the list of defensive players expected to participate (listed alphabetically). 

Click away for the OTA roster and 53-man projections for the offense.

Defensive endChris Baker, Corey Crawford, Ziggy Hood, Matt Ioannidis, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier, Trent Murphy, Stephen Paea, Kendall Reyes

Nose tackleKedric Golston, Jerrell Powe

- You could have won a lot of money before free agency started by projecting Golston as the starting nose tackle at this point. Truth is, all signs point to the Redskins phasing out the position by using more and more 4-3 looks, which is perhaps why Scott McCloughan didn't add any notable players after Terrance Knighton exited in free agency. Murphy's transition from 260-pound linebacker to 280-pound end remains a key story this summer. If indeed the 4-3 is the direction, at least eight lineman stay. Curious to see if low-key additions Powe and Hood factor in. It's all curious to see how the decision makers view those notable edge rushers when it comes to keeping extra 4-3 ends or linebackers.

Outside linebacker - Houston Bates, Shiro Davis, Ejiro Ederaine, Junior Galette, James Gayle, Willie Jefferson, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Lynden Trail, Mike Wakefield

Inside linebacker - Will Compton, Steven Daniels, Carlos Fields, Mason Foster, Terence Garvin, Adam Hayward, Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight,

- Take out Compton, Foster and Riley and there are five inside backers for maybe one spot. There might not be any spots available behind Kerrigan, Smith and Galette depending on how the coaching staff views other position battles. Special teams prowess the likely deciding factor among Garvin, Hayward, Spaight, Daniels, Fields and Bates.

Cornerback - Bashaud Breeland, Lloyd Carrington, Mariel Cooper, Quinton Dunbar, Jeremy Harris, Josh Norman, Dashaun Phillips, Greg Toler, Kendall Fuller (unsigned rookie)

Safety - Will Blackmon, David Bruton Jr., Su'a Cravens, Deshazor Everett, DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho. Kyshoen Jarrett, Geno Matias-Smith

- The collective defensive back unit might be the most interesting all offseason when it comes to roster projections even if we assume Jarrett spends the season on injured reserve. The safety group is a complete overhaul from last season both in terms of new bodies and players switching positions. For now, Cravens counts here, but the second round pick worked with the linebackers during rookie minicamp. If the Carrington hype carries into the summer, if Everett proves adept with the switch from corner to safety, if the need for the veteran Toler exists, then the fun really begins.

Specialists

K -Dustin Hopkins

P - Tress Way

LS - Nick Sundberg

- Nothing to see here unless craziness happens. Rashad Ross impressively handled kickoff duties last season while Jamison Crowder worked as the punt returner.

Here's the incredibly early and therefore likely super silly 53-man roster predictions. Starters in italics.

DL (7) - Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Stephen Paea, Matt Ioannidis, Trent Murphy, Kendall Reyes, Kedric Golston

OLB (3) - Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Junior Galette

ILB (5) - Will Compton, Perry Riley, Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels

CB (4) - Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar

S (5) - DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, David Bruton, Su'a Cravens, Will Blackmon

ST (3) - Dustin Hopkins; Tress Way; Nick Sundberg

* How much the Redskins truly intend on using 4-3 looks and Cravens at linebacker could easily shift one ILB spot to the DL. How quickly Ioannidis picks up NT duties could determine Jerrell Powe's chances at sticking. How Ziggy Hood's recovery from a foot injury that kept him off the field in 2015 one year after signing a lengthy contract with Jacksonville could determine whether the former first round pick can snag a spot. How Fuller bounces back from microfracture knee surgery could determine whether the Redskins feel the need to keep an extra corner, though all indications are the 2016 third round pick is on track. How one injury to Kerrigan, Smith or Galette could have all panicking considering the lack of OLB depth. How improved the defense could look with Norman, Galette, Cravens on the field plus growth from Smith, Breeland will be a storyline all offseason.

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+

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