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: Running back
On the roster: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Keith Marshall, Mack Brown, Robert Kelly, Joe Kerridge, Kelsey Young
Likely to make the 53: Jones, Thompson
Comment: Nobody on the team is under the gun to improve from 2015 more than Jones. His average of 3.4 yards per carry must go up. His total of four lost fumbles must come down. The coaches believe he has the potential to carry the load at running back but that potential needs to turn in to performance this season. There are reasons for optimism and pessimism regarding Jones and we won’t know much of anything until they start playing the games.
Thompson spent much of his first two years in the league nursing various injuries. He stayed healthy for the most part in 2015 and did a good job as the team’s third-down back. Thompson is recovering from rotator cuff surgery and he will have to bounce back in a hurry to make sure he maintains a grip on the job.
Battling for a job: Marshall, Brown, Kelly, Kerridge, Young
Comment: I know that fans are all high on Marshall because of his speed but let’s, well, slow down a bit. Like Thompson, he was frequently injured in college. It may take him some time to figure out how to stay on the field and it may take him some more time to figure out the NFL. He has a good shot at making the roster but a practice squad stint also is a possibility.
The practice squad was Brown’s home for part of last year. He was signed in midseason, dropped three weeks later and returned to the practice squad after being on the street for three weeks. That doesn’t sound like a resume line of someone they are sold on but he has an outside shot at working his way onto the 53.
Kerridge was a fullback at Michigan and that is likely to be his role in training camp. However, the Redskins are unlikely to carry a fullback on the 53 so his prospects are dim. Young and Kelly can hope to flash some ability in a preseason game to get some good film out there for other teams looking for running back help.
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