Over the past few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have taken one more look at 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: Left outside linebacker.
On the roster: Ryan Kerrigan, Trevardo Williams and Jackson Jeffcoat.
Likely to make the 53: Kerrigan
Comment: Assuming Kerrigan’s recovery from minor knee surgery continues to go smoothly, he’ll be the Redskins’ starting left outside linebacker in 2015.
And, based on his history, once Kerrigan gets on the field, he won’t come off it very often.
The 26-year-old has started each of the 64 regular season games in which he’s appeared during his four-year NFL career. Last season, the Purdue product saw 1,000 snaps (the second highest total on the Redskins’ defense after Ryan Clark) and missed only 60 en route to posting a career-high 13.5 sacks and 51 quarterback pressures, according ProFootballFocus.com. The latter total ranked second among all 3-4 outside linebackers behind Kansas City’s Justin Houston.
Overall, PFF ranked Kerrigan as the fifth most effective player at his position last season.
The only question about Kerrigan, it seems, is when the Redskins will sign him to a lucrative extension. Kerrigan, who is set to earn $7 million this season, said earlier this offseason that his agent and the Redskins are making progress toward a long-term deal.
Battling for a job: Williams and Jeffcoat.
Comment: Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith are battling for the starting outside linebacker job on the right side (as we wrote about here). Both players can be expected to see the field a lot in 2015, but the player who loses the competition also figures to serve as the primary backup on both sides.
That almost certainly means the top thee outside linebackers on the roster this season will be Kerrigan, Murphy and Smith. And if the Redskins keep four OLBs on their 53-man roster, the final spot will come down to Williams or Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat has the bloodlines and was more productive last season, recording a sack and an interception in limited playing time. In OTAs, however, Williams worked ahead of him early on, getting some first time reps as Kerrigan rehabbed. Williams also recorded two tackles in spot duty on special teams in 2014.
Redskins position previews 2015: