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Redskins depth chart preview: Cornerback

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Redskins depth chart preview: Cornerback

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.

Position: Cornerback.

On the roster: Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Tevin Mitchel, Justin Rogers and Courtney Bridget Jr.

Likely to make the 53: Culliver, Hall, Breeland, Amerson and someone else.

Comment: The Redskins will likely keep five corners, meaning three of the players currently on the roster won’t make the cut.

The first four aren’t particularly difficult to figure out. Culliver, 26, is new GM Scot McCloughan’s handpicked No. 1. Hall, 31, brings playmaking ability and leadership to a group that needs a veteran’s voice in the meeting room. Of course, he’ll have to show that he’s fully recovered from a twice-torn Achilles, but the early indications are positive. Breeland, 23, showed promise as a rookie and, thanks to a good instincts, toughness and study habits, should continue his upward trajectory. Amerson, meanwhile, slogged through a rough sophomore season, but the hope at Redskins Park is that the 23-year-old will rebound.

Determining the final spot is much more difficult.

Porter, 28, has been a productive player during his seven-season NFL career. But his durability (or lack of it) has been a major problem. Last season, hamstring pulls limited him early and a significant shoulder injury cut his season short after just three games. Releasing Porter would save $2.3 million against the salary cap.

Mitchel, the team’s sixth round pick last weekend, will have ample opportunity to seize a job. A nickel corner at Arkansas last season, Mitchel has good size (6-foot, 190-pounds) and athleticism. "I think with the measurables that he has, there is a role for him," Coach Jay Gruden said recently. "He can run and did some good things at the nickel position."

Battling for a job: Porter and Mitchel.

Comment: If Mitchel squeezes his way onto the roster, he’ll do so at the expense of a veteran.

Porter, because of his injury history and cap hit, would seem to be in the most jeopardy. But Hall’s heath is something to monitor, as well. In February, Hall agreed to restructure his contract, removing $1 million in guarantees from his contract, meaning he’ll need to make the 53 to collect his $4 million salary.

Long shots: Rogers and Bridget Jr.

Comment: Rogers played a handful of snaps in the Redskins’ final three games last season and was re-signed in March. In a four-year NFL career, the 27-year-old has appeared in 42 games, including seven starts, for four teams. Bridget, 24, has intriguing size (6-3, 195) but the undrafted rookie out of Hampton suffered a shoulder injury in training camp last year and missed his rookie season.

Post-draft depth chart series

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Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

In the weeks since the 2018 season ended, the Redskins have had various levels of contact with Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks and Gregg Williams.

All three men have extensive experience as defensive coordinators and all three men got new jobs already this offseason in that position. 

Now, after Bowles, Wilks and Williams picked up those new jobs, The Washington Post reported that the Redskins will keep Greg Manusky as defensive coorinator. He's already under contract. 

The meetings with all the other guys? A source told the Post that the Redskins wanted to get "different perspectives" on improving the defense for 2019.

Different perspectives. From the three hottest coordinator names on the coaching market. Sure. 

That said, Manusky is not the sole reason the Redskins fell apart in the second half of the 2018 season. In fact, he's probably not in the Top 5 reasons. 

The Washington defense improved in Manusky's second season as defensive coordinator and looked like a fierce unit in the first half of the year. The team made tremendous strides in rush defense and proved to be quite good at forcing turnovers.

Late in the season, verbal spats with safety DJ Swearinger might have undermined Manusky's status with the defense. But the team decided to release Swearinger, cementing the coach's authority. It also helped that emerging leader Jonathan Allen came out and vocally supported Manusky and his defensive schemes. 

At this point, the Redskins have no choice but to say the team was keeping Manusky all along.

If the organization was interested in other candidates at defensive coordinator, and it sure seemed like they were, those guys found other jobs. The marketplace isn't packed with other candidates with brighter resumes to replace Manusky, so the team is smart to bring back the incumbent. 

The process was awkward, regardless of what gets said now. Manusky is a professional, and has been coaching in the NFL for more than a decade. He understands how business gets done. 

Now, Manusky will be back, and there is good young talent on the Redskins defense, especially up front. 

The guess here is Manusky will say he always expected to be back and never stopped working on getting better for 2019. Now he gets the chance to show it. 

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You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

Chris Thompson is an accomplished player in the NFL. Despite being a fifth round pick, Thompson has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

This is a long way of establishing that Chris Thompson is an accomplised football player. Redskins fans know that.

Adrian Peterson didn't. 

Not many people would share that story, so good for Thompson for doing it. Let's add that Peterson joined the Redskins after offseason workouts and training camp, the normal time for new players to get to know each other. Peterson signed up with the Redskins in the middle of August, well after the regular get-to-know-you period had closed. 

Still, that's a tough break for Thompson. 

Peterson is a legend in the NFL, one of the best running backs to ever play the game. When he joined the Redskins, a number of players watched him work in practice with the hint of awe in their eyes. He proved to be a great teammate and a strong presence in the locker room.

By the end of the year, Peterson was obviously a leader for the Redskins. Players looked up to him, even if he didn't know their name when the year started.

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