Over the past month, the Redskins’ depth chart has undergone a minor makeover as seven draft picks and more than a dozen college free agents have been welcomed into the fold. In the coming days, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will break down the revamped roster, position-by-position, and set up the key battles as OTAs ramp up.
On the roster: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Will Blackmon, Quinton Dunbar, Greg Toler, Deshazor Everett, Dashaun Phillips, Jeremy Harris and Lloyd Carrington.
Likely to make the 53: Norman, Breeland, Fuller, Blackmon and Dunbar.
Comment: The first three—Norman, Breeland and Fuller—are locks, obviously. Norman received $36.5 million in guarantees, Breeland was the No. 1 corner last season and Fuller, though he has yet to sign his rookie deal and is coming off a significant knee injury, figures to be the nickel corner.
Blackmon, who signed a two-year extension in March, is the oldest (31) of the group but can also play everywhere in the secondary. And with Kyshoen Jarrett’s status in question due to a troublesome nerve injury, Blackmon figures to serve as the jack-of-all-trades defensive back in 2016.
Dunbar was in good shape. That is, until Norman landed in the Redskins’ lap and Fuller was there for the picking in the third round. Now the promising wide-receiver-turned-cornerback might have to beat out a significantly more experienced player in Toler and more versatile player in Everett, who was the team’s most productive special teamer in 2015.
Last season, the Redskins had four cornerbacks—and the position flexible Jarrett—on the Week 1 roster. Could they carry six corners this season? Might Blackmon shift to safety? Those variables will obviously have an enormous impact on the players jockeying for spots behind Norman, Breeland and Fuller.
Battling for a job: Toler, Everett, Phillips, Harris and Carrington.
Comment: Like a few of Washington's corners, Toler’s odds of catching on took a hit following the unexpected addition of Norman and the selection of Fuller. Doesn’t mean Toler, 31, won’t make the cut. Just means the degree of difficulty has increased. It is important to note that Toler made a combined 25 starts the past two seasons in Indianapolis; Dunbar made just one as a rookie and still has a lot of learning to do.
Everett, on the other hand, possesses a tiebreaker the other hopefuls do not: he’s a standout special teamer. In fact, he led the Redskins in special teams tackles last season with 11—four more than anyone else. That should not be overlooked.
Phillips, Harris and Carrington would seem to be facing long odds of snagging a spot on the 53 after the addition of Norman and Fuller.