It''s that time off the preseason where we come up with our final projections for the Washington Redskins' Week 1 roster. Narrowing the list to 53 players means deciding things like will they keep a fourth running back (Mack Brown?) or a special teams ace (Deshazor Everett?). Want a ninth offensive lineman (Austin Reiter? Takoby Cofield?). Cool, but then a fourth tight end (Logan Paulsen) gets shown the door. The Redskins roster seems deeper than in years past, but 53 remains the limit. With defending their NFC East title in mind, it would be cool if just even one more spot came free, right?
Actually, there's a way. Don't keep Nate Sudfeld on the final 53-man roster. The sixth-round pick won't help at all in 2016. Even if Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy suffer an injury, the Redskins would scan the free agent market for help rather than trust a green rookie who was at best sporadic throughout training camp and preseason.
By cutting Sudfeld -- and stashing him on the practice squad -- Washington can keep a contributor to the current cause while keeping the future in mind. Besides, Cousins' contract situation remains unsettled. Yet by cutting Sudfeld, the organization risks some other team saying they'll take a chance on the 6-foot-6 passer right now by adding him to their roster.
So, to Nate or not to Nate is the question.
Ben Standig: Folks are probably tired of me stating my long held QB plan, but it's necessary here. When it comes to the draft -- and outside of falling hard for some prospect in the first or second round -- take one every 1-2 years somewhere in rounds 4-7. We're talking about the most important and heavily weighted position in North American professional team sports. Therefore, prepare for the rainy day and the future while building up your asset base. Whether these prospects turn into players for your squad or trade chips, they can provide far more return than the mere pick itself.
Players in this draft range are typically not ready for prime time and need more development. That's why patience must be a central part of the plan. It's not just about that first training camp or preseason. That's why even though Sudfeld hasn't always looked the part this summer, drafting him wasn't just about this summer. As long as he showed any signs of promise, he'd stick. To my eyes, the Indiana product showed some promise. The arm strength exists. Preseason or not, he made plays late in games.
What would I do if I'm Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden? I'd kick Sudfeld in the shin, hard, and then put him on IR with a deep shin bruise. Jokes aside, I'd stick with the plan and keep him. There are several interesting roster battles elsewhere and it would stink losing a viable player. Good bet most of these guys land on the practice squad anyway. Either way, none of them play the most position, one where the payoff can be immense if you're willing to be patient. If Sudfeld doesn't improve, oh well. They should probably draft another QB next year anyway.
Manny Benton: I do think that if cut, there's a chance Sudfeld could slide through waivers. He's not a known commodity. However, with teams like the Minnesota Vikings suffering from a season-long injury to their starting QB and other teams struggling to find depth, it's a potential risk. Especially if you think Sudfeld could potentially become something in the near future. From the sounds of it, there are people in Washington's organization who are intrigued by Sudfeld's upside. He's a big QB with prototypical traits. He's just super, super raw.
I've seen enough from Sudfeld to believe he has upside and that the Redskins should keep him. The former Indiana QB has flashed his big arm and gamer mentality. With the uncertainty of Kirk Cousins' contractual future, you need to have a developmental guy in your club. Even if he just becomes a future solid backup, that is valued in this league. I'd keep the Nate Dog.
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