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: Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson, Duke Ihenacho, Phillip Thomas, Trenton Robinson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Akeem Davis and Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
Likely to make the 53: Goldson, Johnson and two others.
Comment: In 2013, the Redskins kept five safeties after the final cutdown. Last season, they kept only four.
The only locks to earn a spot on the 53-man roster are GM Scot McCloughan’s handpicked starters—Goldson, a hard-hitting veteran free safety, and Johnson, a strong safety and former Legion of Boom backup.
McCloughan drafted Goldson in San Francisco eight years ago and still believes 30-year-old can play, despite two poor seasons in Tampa. Johnson, who turns 27 next month, was signed as an undrafted free agent by McCloughan in Seattle four years ago. McCloughan believes the experience Johnson gained playing behind perennial Pro Bowlers Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas has prepared him for this opportunity.
As I see it, there’s Goldson and Johnson. And then there’s everyone else.
Battling for a job: Thomas, Ihenacho, Robinson, Jarrett and Davis.
Comment: If McCloughan opts to keep five safeties, three of the above players will make the 53. If he keeps only four, just two of them make it.
Ihenacho, who turns 26 next month, may be the most intriguing of the bunch. He started 14 games for the Broncos in 2013. In fact, he recorded a career-high nine tackles in the Broncos’ loss to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Ihenacho’s audition in Washington last season, however, was cut short after three games because of a season-ending foot injury. He’s healthy now and ready to compete.
Thomas, meantime, got his shot late last season but didn’t really impress. With Ihancho returning from injury and 2015 sixth rounder Jarrett entering the fray, Thomas, a 2013 fourth-rounder, will be under pressure this offseason.
The tiebreaker, as always, figures to be special teams performance. Which is why Robinson and Davis will likely remain in the conversation until the final cut. Robinson ranked among the league’s leaders with 15 special teams tackles in 2014. Davis had 10 tackles ...and a few spectacular hits.
Long shots: Cromartie-Smith.
Comment: At 6 foot 2, 203-pounds, Cromartie-Smith is the biggest safety on the roster. But at 28, he’s also the oldest of the hopefuls. He appeared in 10 games as a reserve for Pittsburgh 2011-13.
Post-draft depth chart series