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: Wide receiver
On the roster: Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer, Colin Lockett, Rashad Ross, Reggie Bell, Tony Jones, Quinton Dunbar
Likely to make the 53: Garçon, Jackson, Roberts, Grant, Crowder, Spencer
Comment: Right now this position seems to be as set in stone as anything can be a few weeks away from the start of training camp. It seems that only an injury or unforeseen issue can alter this between now and September 5, when the final cuts are made.
The top of the depth chart, with Garçon and Jackson, is one of the few proven areas of strength the team has. If the team gets even average quarterback play both are a threat to gain over 1,000 yards receiving.
Roberts is the primary backup and slot receiver right now. Although he could slide down the depth chart, his contract, which carries $3 million in dead money if he is released, will keep him on the roster. Grant will continue his development with an eye towards becoming a substantial contributor to the offense in 2016.
Rookies Crowder and Spencer, fourth- and sixth-round choices, respectively, give the team something it hasn’t had in a while—wide receivers who contribute on special teams. Crowder almost certainly will return punts to start the season and may get kickoff return duty as well. Spencer will handle a variety of special teams duties from punt coverage to being on the “hands” team when the opposition attempts an onside kick (he made a key recovery of an Alabama onside attempt to wrap up the Buckeyes’ national semifinal win).
One of the unforeseen circumstances that could shake up the depth chart is the legal situation that still appears to be hanging over Crowder’s head. Last month he was accused of domestic violence via social media. The team and the NFL said they would investigate. Although many assume that the matter is behind him, there has been no definitive word that Crowder has been cleared.
Battling for a job: Lockett, Ross, Bell, Jones, Dunbar
Comment: As noted above, everyone is this group is a long shot to make the 53. Ross was with the team in camp last year and had receptions of 43 and 35 yards during the preseason but it wasn’t enough to get him a roster spot. These five will be competing for spots on the practice squad, where Ross spent some time in 2014, as did Lockett.
Redskins position previews 2015: