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.
Position: Interior offensive line
On the roster: Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Shawn Lauvao, Cody Booth, Nila Kasitati, Josh LeRibeus, Austin Reiter
Likely to make the 53: Lichtensteiger, Long, Scherff, Kouandjio, Lauvao, Reiter
Comment: Lichtensteiger is the incumbent starting center but there is no guarantee that he will be there when the season starts. The team wanted to draft Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round but he was gone when their pick came up. The veteran dodged that particular bullet but he will be challenged from with in by Reiter, LeRibeus, and possibly Long. If he is the Week 1 starter he will have earned it.
Long could start at left guard as he did for 13 games last year. The coaches could move him to center and if he wins the competition he could start there. Or he could start the season on the bench. The best bet is that he stays at guard and competes with Lauvao.
Scherff is the rock in the interior offensive line. Last year he played 1,163 of 1,164 offensive snaps at right guard and you can take a Sharpie and put him in for something similar this year.
There probably should be an asterisk next to Lauvao’s name. The last time we saw him in January he was on a scooter after surgery on his foot. He had multiple procedures on both feet after going out in Week 3 with a foot injury. The veteran may not be ready for the start of training camp and you have to wonder if he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Although it’s unlikely, a decision to move on from Lauvao and his $5 million cap number is not out of the question if the team feels comfortable with the other options.
Both Long and Lauvao need to look over their shoulders at Kouandjio. The 2015 fourth-round pick has the nasty attitude the team is looking for but when we saw him on the field last his technique needed plenty of improvement. If a year spent mostly on the inactive list gave him time to brush up on his fundamentals he could force his way into the lineup.
Reiter, a seventh-round pick in 2015 who spent last year on the practice squad, has put on weight and he will push Lichtensteiger for the starting job at center. Expectations should be low until we see Reiter on the field with pads on.
Battling for a job: LeRibeus, Booth, Kasitati
Comment: LeRibeus started 11 games at center last year yet many were surprised when the team re-signed him to a one-year contract. While he was playing center his snaps were frequently challenging for Kirk Cousins to corral and his blocking was subpar, although both aspects of his game improved as he played more. His ability to play both guard and center is a big plus in his bid for a spot on the 53.
Booth has been with the Jaguars and Bears but he has yet to appear in a regular season game. He can play some tackle, too but his versatility is probably enough to only get him through training camp and some preseason games. Kasitati was just signed after trying out a rookie camp and his prospects are day-to-day.
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