Over the past few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have taken one more look the Redskins’ depth chart, position-by-position, as the team prepares to head to Richmond for training camp. Some battles figure to be straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until its finalized Sept. 5. So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …
Position: Left tackle
On the roster: Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Willie Smith
Likely to make the 53: Williams, Moses
Comment: Now entering his sixth NFL season, Williams has reached the point where he can have a down season by his standards and still deserve a Pro Bowl invitation. In 2014 he missed a game and a half with knee and ankle injuries and those same issues plus a shoulder problem hampered him for much of the season. Williams appeared on the injury report for 10 of the Redskins’ 16 games.
The ankle problem lingered into the spring and Williams was sidelined for most of OTAs and all of minicamp. It is an inauspicious start the last year of his rookie contract. Williams will turn 27 in later this month and if he wants to maximize his leverage for a new deal he needs to stay healthy. Of course, he also needs to stay on the field to protect the quarterback’s blindside and to lead the charge in blocking on running plays.
Moses also was a spectator during the offseason program as his rehab from a Lisfranc injury he suffered last December continued. He should be ready for training camp but that’s not a given. Last year Moses filled in at left tackle when Williams was out. He struggled against a tough Bucs line and the 49ers’ front featuring Aldon Smith, giving up three sacks in about six quarters of play.
But nobody expected Moses to be ready as a rookie; the third-round pick was taken as a project in 2014. He will get this year to continue to develop and is unlikely to see much action barring another Williams injury.
Battling for a job: Smith
Comment: In 2011 Smith defied the odds by making the Redskins’ 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent out of East Carolina despite a labor lockout that wiped out the offseason program. His chances of making the team this year aren’t quite that long this time around but he is very much on the bubble.
Smith’s main competition may not be Moses, who appears to be a lock. The man he might have to beat out is Tom Compton, who started nine games at right tackle last year. With Williams and Moses out during May and June, Compton lined up at left tackle with the first team and Smith came in with the second unit. With Brandon Scherff moving in to Compton’s former starting spot, the battle for a swing tackle job may come down to Compton and Smith.
Redskins position previews 2015: