After a busy free agency period, a draft in which 10 new players were added and the acquisition of 12 undrafted college players, the Redskins look much different than they did last December. So in the coming weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will break down the roster position-by-position as the offseason activities ramp up and depth charts come into focus.
On the roster: Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Tevin Mitchel, Justin Rogers and Courtney Bridget Jr.
Likely to make the 53: Culliver, Hall, Breeland, Amerson and someone else.
Comment: The Redskins will likely keep five corners, meaning three of the players currently on the roster won’t make the cut.
The first four aren’t particularly difficult to figure out. Culliver, 26, is new GM Scot McCloughan’s handpicked No. 1. Hall, 31, brings playmaking ability and leadership to a group that needs a veteran’s voice in the meeting room. Of course, he’ll have to show that he’s fully recovered from a twice-torn Achilles, but the early indications are positive. Breeland, 23, showed promise as a rookie and, thanks to a good instincts, toughness and study habits, should continue his upward trajectory. Amerson, meanwhile, slogged through a rough sophomore season, but the hope at Redskins Park is that the 23-year-old will rebound.
Determining the final spot is much more difficult.
Porter, 28, has been a productive player during his seven-season NFL career. But his durability (or lack of it) has been a major problem. Last season, hamstring pulls limited him early and a significant shoulder injury cut his season short after just three games. Releasing Porter would save $2.3 million against the salary cap.
Mitchel, the team’s sixth round pick last weekend, will have ample opportunity to seize a job. A nickel corner at Arkansas last season, Mitchel has good size (6-foot, 190-pounds) and athleticism. "I think with the measurables that he has, there is a role for him," Coach Jay Gruden said recently. "He can run and did some good things at the nickel position."
Battling for a job: Porter and Mitchel.
Comment: If Mitchel squeezes his way onto the roster, he’ll do so at the expense of a veteran.
Porter, because of his injury history and cap hit, would seem to be in the most jeopardy. But Hall’s heath is something to monitor, as well. In February, Hall agreed to restructure his contract, removing $1 million in guarantees from his contract, meaning he’ll need to make the 53 to collect his $4 million salary.
Long shots: Rogers and Bridget Jr.
Comment: Rogers played a handful of snaps in the Redskins’ final three games last season and was re-signed in March. In a four-year NFL career, the 27-year-old has appeared in 42 games, including seven starts, for four teams. Bridget, 24, has intriguing size (6-3, 195) but the undrafted rookie out of Hampton suffered a shoulder injury in training camp last year and missed his rookie season.
Post-draft depth chart series