The Washington Redskins are in the process of cutting their roster from 90 to 75 and then eventually the final 53 men for Week 1. Here's a look at the Redskins projected defensive and special teams depth chart, showing the current players, those likely back and missing pieces. The number of projected players for each position shown in parenthesis. Click here for the offense.
Defensive Line (7)
Projected starters: Chris Baker, Stephen Paea, Kedric Golston
Backups: Ricky Jean Francois, Kendall Reyes, Trent Murphy, Matt Ioannidis
In the mix for roster spot: Evander Hood, Corey Crawford, Jerrell Powe
On the outside: Anthony Lanier
This is the position that has already had the most turmoil during the offseason, as expected. Knighton decided against re-signing with Washington and the Redskins cut Hatcher despite the defensive end temporarily putting retirement plans on hold. The team re-signed veteran lineman Golston to a one-year deal to serve as a nose tackle and signed former Chargers defensive end Reyes to provide stability to the position. Frank Kearse, who was in-and-out of the 53-man roster all season, signed with the New England Patriots. In hopes of getting younger in the trenches, Murphy has made a permanent switch to defensive end. A fifth round pick was spent on Ioannidis who could spend time rotating in at the nose tackle position. Barring the coaching staff getting blown away from Hood, Crawford, Powe, or Lanier during training camp, all will probably not make the final roster although the latter three could be practice squad additions.
Inside Linebacker (6)
Projected starters: Will Compton, Mason Foster
Backups: Su'a Cravens, Terence Garvin, Perry Riley
In the mix for roster spot: Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels
On the outside: Carlos Fields, Ejiro Ederaine, Mike Wakefield
Even with taking injuries into account, Compton and Foster were a better tandem than Robinson and Riley last season. Compton accepted his exclusive-restricted free agent tender and Foster inked a two-year deal to return to the Burgundy and Gold. Meanwhile, Robinson signed with NFC East rival New York Giants. With Riley likely staying in a reserve role, the Redskins signing special teams stud Garvin, and starting second round pick Cravens out at "Mo" linebacker over safety, the fight for the final inside linebacker spot will be a hotly contested battle in Richmond. Spaight, last year’s fifth-round pick after his season was cut short by a concussion, has come back ripped and ready to compete against Daniels who as a seventh round pick is described as a poor man's Reggie Ragland. Washington released Adam Hayward, 31, after getting medically cleared from a a gruesome ACL injury that cost him 2015.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Projected starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
In the mix for roster spot: Houston Bates, Willie Jefferson, Lyndon Trail, Shiro Davis
On the outside: Junior Galette
Kerrigan is going nowhere after one season of his five-year extension. Neither is Smith after a bright rookie campaign. Galette never took a snap for Washington last year and after testing the waters of free agency, the elite pass rusher returns to DC on another one-year deal just to have another devastating Achilles injury. Smith was predicted by Breaking Burgundy to be the starter, which is all but confirmed with Galette's injury. Behind Kerrigan and Smith, the Redskins will have a big battle during camp for who will fill out the group.
Projected starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Quinton Dunbar, Kendall Fuller
In the mix for roster spot: Greg Toler, Dashaun Phillips, Lloyd Carrington
On the outside: Mariel Cooper, Jeremy Harris
Norman, after a blockbuster deal, and Breeland are now the cornerstone of the Redskins secondary. Dunbar has developed immensely and another year of getting him comfortable in the position will do him a lot of good. Chris Culliver was released after an injury-plagued season that saves the Redskins millions over the next three seasons. Washington selected Fuller in the third round to serve as a possible slot defender and added veteran corner Toler to provide depth. Carrington has impressed the coaching staff during OTAs while Phillips received some first team reps as the nickel corner. If the Redskins see enough from Carrington or Phillips, they may feel comfortable letting Toler walk.
Projected starters: DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton
Backups: Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon
In the mix for roster spot: DeShazor Everett
On the outside: Kyshoen Jarrett, Geno Matias-Smith
With the way Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan have raved about Hall’s transition and leadership, Dashon Goldson was released because of his $8 million cap number for 2016. Jeron Johnson was penciled into the strong safety position last summer before Ihenacho beat him out and has now been released as well. Ihenacho on the other hand has accepted a one-year $1.67 million tender. Probably taking Johnson's spot in the rotation, and likely as a starter if OTAs are any indication, is special team's ace Bruton who comes from Denver on a three-year deal worth up to $10.5 million. Although he played corner last season, Jay Gruden alluded to Blackmon receiving reps at safety because of the lack of experience at the position. Kyshoen Jarrett was waived before training camp with a nerve injury that will cost him his second year, which may have motivated McCloughan to take Cravens in the second round although he is currently taking reps at inside linebacker.
Special teams (3)
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