During the Redskins’ bye week we’re taking a look ahead at the 2015 version of the Redskins. We’ve looked at the pending free agents and at the salary cap and what adjustments can be made. Now it’s time to take out the crystal ball and see what the depth chart will look like when they line up next September.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III
Backups: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Griffin may still have issues that need to be ironed out but with three years and all those draft picks invested in him it’s hard to see the Redskins being able to find a better alternative in 2015. There just is no reason not to hold on to Cousins, who will be in the last year of his rookie deal. Unless someone offer McCoy a shot at a starting job, which seems unlikely, he should be back although he should command a better salary than the minimum deal he signed this year.
Running backs: RB Alfred Morris, FB Darrel Young
Backups: Chris Thompson, Roy Helu
Morris will be in the last year of his rookie deal and Jay Gruden seems to believe in him. However, he may not be a lock if the right back is there when the Redskins are picking on the second day of the draft. I think Thompson intrigues Gruden and will have a role if he stays healthy.
Wide receivers: DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts
Backups: Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson, free agent/draft pick
I’m going to jump on the “Pierre Garçon could be gone” bandwagon. I think that they might be able to find a trade partner and unload his $7 million salaries for the next two years. Jackson’s the No. 1 and Grant is the first one off the bench. Hankerson is back on a team-friendly deal.
Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
Reed has yet to break out after returning from his hamstring injury but there’s certainly potential there. Paul and Paulsen are solid special teams contributors and Paul has flashed some ability on offense.
Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Free agent/draft pick, RG Spencer Long, RT Morgan Moses
I think that Gruden will shift to more of a power-blocking scheme, which plays to Lauvao’s strength. Power blocking will force a move away from the 280-lb. Kory Lichtensteiger at center. Youth is served on the right side of the line.
Defensive line: Chris Baker, 2015 draft pick, Jason Hatcher
Backups: Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins
The crystal ball is cloudy here. This unit is aging in a hurry and a high draft pick would give a shot of needed youth. Cap reasons will keep Hatcher in the fold. Bowen could be back on a reduced salary and I’m guessing that Barry Cofield is a cap casualty but not with much confidence. Stay tuned here.
Linebackers: OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Perry Riley/Will Compton, Keenan Robinson
Backups: Riley/Compton, Jackson Jeffcoat, Adam Hayward, draft picks and free agents
If Murphy is competent for the remaining seven games he’ll get the nod in 2015 although he may change sides with Kerrigan taking on the stronger left tackles and coming from the QB’s blindside. I think Riley and Compton will compete for the Jack LB spot next to Robinson.
Defensive backs: CBs Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson; SS Phillip Thomas, FS draft pick or free agent
Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Trenton Robinson, Akeem Davis, draft picks/free agents
The picture at cornerback looks set for the next few years with Breeland and Amerson starting. Hall could come back at a reduced salary. Robinson could grab that strong safety spot if Thomas can’t. I’m not sure if Davis is more than a special teams guy but I think it would be a mistake to totally rule him out as a possibility at free safety.
Specialists: K Kai Forbath, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way
Way was one of the better finds this offseason, picked up off the street in August and becoming one of the league’s leading punters in November. I’m now sold on Forbath, who is the most accurate field goal kicker in team history, has banged home some clutch field goals, and has improved his kickoffs.