ASHBURN -- We've reached the week of the third preseason game, which is when Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden told the media in Richmond he begins thinking about such things with Week 1 in mind. Here's my sense of the Week 1 53-man roster right now.
Starters in italics
Quarterback (3) -- Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld
* "Rookie Nate Sudfeld must truly stand out in his preseason opportunities to stick on the Week 1 roster considering the position needs elsewhere" is something I wrote in the first depth chart projection. Not sure we can say the sixth-rounder has been a revelation or anything, but Sudfeld showed off his power arm and competitiveness in two games. In terms of 2016, the Redskins might ideally desire stashing him on the practice squad. Between Sudfeld's performance, that he was drafted by general manager Scot McCloughan and Cousins' contract uncertainty, stashing might simply become too risky. Meanwhile, there is nothing McCoy can do to generate a QB competition so let's not go there, no matter what happens against the other team's backups.
* Overlooked in Monday's Jones shoulder update? Thompson is also banged up. Like Jones, that seems to be the norm. It doesn't mean both won't play plenty this season and produce. It does mean that, more than most lead RB duos, counting on their week-to-week availability is dicey. That's why the idea of adding a veteran RB has been a topic since March. That's why, even with the emergence of the undrafted Kelley as something beyond a cool story, the Redskins would be wise to add a fourth option. Keith Marshall and Mack Brown remain in the mix.
Wide receiver (6) -- DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Rashad Ross, Ryan Grant
Shortly after publishing this article, in which I moved Doctson to the PUP list after vowing not to do so for weeks, Gruden announced he has "total expectation" that Doctson will be available Week 1 and that the rookie has been running much more than last week. And with that, the projection needs a slight rewrite as Doctson on the 53 means someone isn't. This lingering Achilles injury has now run longer than most seasons of Game of Thrones, but it sounds like the Redskins believe the end is in sight. Gruden said the TCU product might play in the preseason finale. That beats going on the PUP list and missing the opening six weeks at minimum. If Doctson can help, the Redskins will keep him up. If the call is borderline, then the improved play from Ross and Grant makes the cautious route more palatable. If Washington wants legit red-zone size, then the 6-foot-3 Maurice Harris could stick.
Tight end (3) -- Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Vernon Davis
* We'll hold off thinking about Derek Carrier until he returns from his knee injury. The odd man out here is Logan Paulsen. It's a numbers thing, as in the overall 53-man roster. Washington could keep four tight ends and ideally might want that many. But with the impressive trio ahead of him and the needs elsewhere, four might be a luxury.
* The intrigue here centers more on the center and left guard starting spots than any roster battle seeing as the top eight appear set. Gruden said Monday that he's no longer concerned about Lauvao's endurance issues. If legit, then Lauvao may be ready to overpower Long for the left guard spot -- and possibly shift Long to center and Lichtensteiger to the bench. Gruden on Monday said of the two guards, "Unfortunately, one of them is going to have to be a backup, one of them is going to be a starter." We'll see about that. ... As long as the Redskins feel comfortable with Long at center as needed, then Josh LeRibeus and his snapping woes are in trouble. ... Keeping nine on the OL is ideal. If they do, Cofield is number nine for now.
Click here for the defensive depth chart and final cuts discussion.
To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE!
Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Breaking Burgundy Insider! Check it out HERE.