Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ depth chart.
Some battles are 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 …
On the roster: Kory Lichtensteiger, Austin Reiter, Tyler Larsen
Likely to make the 53: Lichtensteiger
Comment: On a line that is getting younger and bigger, Lichtensteiger is out of place. The 30-year-old tips the scales at 296 pounds. The other four O-line starters all weigh north of 310 pounds and average 25 years of age. But expect him to start and play every snap of every game regardless.
Left tackle Trent Williams went to the Pro Bowl last year but he struggled with injures frequently and you could make a reasonable case that Lichtensteiger was the team’s best offensive lineman in 2014. He played every snap and allowed just one sack.
It will be interesting to see how Lichtensteiger fares if the Redskins do indeed put more of an emphasis on power blocking and call fewer zone stretch plays. The latter concept lets Lichtensteiger use his athleticism and quickness; to succeed as a power blocker he will need to use leverage and angles. The chances are that he is capable of making the transition but we won’t know until the games start.
Battling for a job: Reiter, Larsen
Comment: Larsen was widely expected to a mid- or late-round draft choice when he came out of Utah State in 2014. But his name was not called and he signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. Miami cut him at the end of training camp and he was a spectator all year as no team gave him another shot. At 6-4, 315 Larsen has the size that GM Scot McCloughan likes but we’ll have to see about his ability when they put the pads on in Richmond.
Reiter was drafted, an occurrence that was a moderate surprise. He weighs in at 296, the same as Lichtensteiger and he relies on athleticism rather than power. As is the case with most players taken in the seventh round, Reiter is a project. They’ll put him with strength coach Mike Clark and perhaps try to get him to put on a few pounds and then see what he can do.
Both Larsen and Reiter got in some snaps at guard during the offseason program. If either player is going to be able to make the 53-man roster it will be necessary for them to be able to fill in at more than one position. Could one of them develop into a guard? Time will tell.