The Redskins have added Vernon Davis to their tight end depth chart. Where does he fit in?
At the top is Jordan Reed. It’s kind of strange to think that in training camp last year Niles Paul was ahead of him on the depth chart. We don’t know how that would have played out over the course of the preseason and regular season. Paul suffered a broken ankle in the first preseason game and he was sidelined all season. Now he is back and in the mix.
The Redskins re-signed Logan Paulsen a couple of weeks ago. He also missed all of the 2015 season; he was suffering from a toe injury. Derek Carrier, who was acquired in a trade last August after Paul and Paulsen went down, is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in December.
All of the walking wounded should be ready for training camp with the possible exception of Carrier, who may open the season on the PUP list.
So that makes five tight ends who likely will be competing for four roster spots. The Redskins carried three tight ends most of last year but they will not carry a fullback this year so that could open another roster spot for a tight end.
So how will the roles sort out? Reed, who led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown catches last year is obviously the main man. He can be effective lined up in the slot so it’s possible that we will see him there and Davis in the traditional in-line tight end spot. If Davis can regain some of the form that had him in the Pro Bowl as recently as 2013, that could be quite a dangerous combination for defenses to deal with.
But perhaps Davis’ main role will be less glamorous. The team didn’t get much in the way of blocking out of their tight ends last year and while Davis is not a road grader type of blocker, he can get the job done. That could get him a lot of snaps on running downs.
Davis also serves as depth in a tight end group that needs it. In addition to the injuries noted above, Reed missed two games with a concussion and has had challenges staying on the field in the past. So Davis can serve as an insurance policy to get the Redskins through in the event of an emergency.