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Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

The Redskins currently have 75 players on their roster. They are about to add some more in the draft and as undrafted free agents. They can have up to 90 players on their offseason roster. Year after year the distribution of those players to positions are consistent. We can look at what they have and see what they need to sign to get through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp.

Let’s break down the numbers by position and see where they will need to add players to get to where they want to be going into training camp. Last week we looked at the offense; today we’ll look at the numbers on defense.


Have: 6
Need: 8

Just like in a game, you want plenty of players to rotate through the line in the heat of training camp. They could carry one or two additional players here since they are legitimately in search of players who can have an impact beyond starters Terrelle McClain and Stacy McGee and pass rushing project Anthony Lanier.  

Nose Tackle

Have: 2
Need: 4

Like with the ends, you want to have a few big guys to rotate in when it gets hot in Richmond. It would be surprising if the Redskins didn’t add a nose tackle to the mix in the draft, probably on Saturday.

Inside linebacker

Have: 9
Need: 8

If the Redskins take an inside linebacker in the draft, as many expect that will, this position would get very crowded. They could keep as many as six on the final 53-man roster if there are a couple of key special teams players in the group.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Outside linebacker

Have: 7
Need: 7

They could keep an extra one or two if they find some in the draft. You can’t have too many pass rushers, although they have kept just four on the final roster recently.  


Have: 7
Need: 8

It has always seemed to be a little odd to me that they’ll bring in a dozen wide receivers and only seven or eight corners.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often


Have: 7
Need: 7

The depth chart here is unusual in that all seven players have significant NFL playing time; there is no “training camp fodder” here. If the draft one, an experienced player might be let go.  

Total defensive players under contract: 38
Total needed for camp: 41

There are 34 offensive players and three specialists on the roster, making the total 75. If they don’t make deals and use all 10 of their draft picks that will leave just five spots to sign undrafted free agents. They likely will want to sign more than that meaning that some of the players currently on the roster will end up getting cut, particularly those on the defensive side.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Brian Mitchell says if Dwayne Haskins 'proves he's the best, he goes on the football field'

Brian Mitchell says if Dwayne Haskins 'proves he's the best, he goes on the football field'

Imagine a scenario in which three quarterbacks are set to battle it out for the starting spot. In the situations leading up to the Week 1 game, one quarterback has consistently played well while the other two have faltered at times. You'd obviously go with the guy who's looked the best, right?

But what if you knew the added information that the quarterback shining is a rookie who has no regular-season experience and only a few months of NFL practices under his belt, while the other two are veterans, one is familiar with the offensive system and the other has proven to be successful at points in his career. Would the labels impact your decision?

Obviously, this oddly specific scenario alludes to the quarterback competition going on with the Redskins. If rookie Dwayne Haskins performs the best leading up to the season, should he be given the nod over veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy despite their advantage in experience? According to NBC Sports Washington's Brian Mitchell, that's exactly how it should go.

"If Dwayne Haskins seems to show you that he's the best quarterback out there, why not play him," Mitchell said. "I don't think it's a situation where you have to play the veterans before him. If he is the best quarterback in training camp, he goes out in preseason and proves that he's the best, he goes on the football field."

For Mitchell, the decision on who is the starting quarterback doesn't revolve around experience or things of the past. All that matters is what is going on in the moment. If Dwayne Haskins sticks out through July and August, Mitchell believes he deserves the opportunity to be the guy for Washington. Rookie or veteran, it's about who's playing the best.

This way of choosing is also ideal to the former Redskin because it allows for Haskins progression and emergence to come naturally. By determining if he's ready or not solely on what is seen out of him, there's no risk of pushing him out there before he's ready or holding him back for longer than needed, according to Mitchell.

"I look at Dwayne Haskins in this way: You don't have to rush him, you don't have to truly patient," Mitchell said. "You allow him to go through the process."

Much like JP Finlay, Mitchell believes that Haskins was selected at No. 15 for a reason. Even if an "R" may show up next to his name this season, that shouldn't keep him off the field. If he looks ready, then Mitchell believes he should get the nod as early as Week 1.


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Doug Williams says Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden and ownership will be involved in starting QB decision

Doug Williams says Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden and ownership will be involved in starting QB decision

When Doug Williams talks quarterbacks, it's best to listen. After all, the Redskins senior personnel executive played the position at a Super Bowl winning level and has been entrusted with helping in the development of rookie first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins. 

With about a month until the team reports for training camp in Richmond, and a few weeks removed from a less-than-stellar minicamp, the biggest question is what does the timeline look like for Haskins to take over the top quarterback spot in Washington. Head coach Jay Gruden made clear that Haskins will get to compete for the top job with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.

Competition is good, but eventually, Haskins will be the starter. So when will that happen?

Williams got asked that question speaking at the first NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit, an event designed to help African American coaches advance on the offensive side of the ball.

"You’re talking about a guy that comes from a situation where nobody went up under center to see a guy walk out the huddle, the poise that he has, the patience that he’s exhibited," Williams said of Haskins.

"There’s room to have a lot of hope."

Williams' comments kind of cut two ways.

Haskins played just one season of college football at Ohio State, and the system was not close to the pro-style West Coast offense Gruden deploys. During minicamp Haskins looked bewildered at times by the Redskins scheme. So, in one way, it's going to be a steep learning curve, and that showed. To Williams' point, however, there were times where Haskins athletic gifts showed why he was the 15th pick and threw 50 touchdowns in one year in Columbus. That's the reason for hope. 

But that's not really anything new. Haskins has made some wow plays, but has not shown the same command of the huddle or the line of scrimmage as Keenum. So who gets the starting job?

"I know there’s words out there that [Haskins] might end up starting, and that could happen, but at the end of the day that’s going to be on Jay, myself and probably Bruce [Allen] and the owner and what he does during preseason and to see where we are as a team to make that decision," Williams said. 

Now things are getting interesting. 

Will Gruden get to decide his own starting quarterback? Doesn't sound like it.

Williams said that will be a group decision, and the group includes ownership Dan Snyder. No position in football draws more interest from ownership than a rookie quarterback, and that's across the NFL. Fans would be naive to think otherwise. But there were also numerous reports that Allen and Snyder wanted the Redskins to draft Haskins, and Williams said that both men will be involved in deciding when the rookie QB starts.

Given the full context of Williams' statement, it's also obvious that Haskins' performance in Richmond and during preseason action will go a long way towards his immediate future. As will the performance of McCoy and Keenum. If neither veteran shows much, maybe Haskins gets the job by default, but then again if it's obvious the rookie isn't ready, the tape will show that too. 

For 'Skins fans hoping that their quarterback situation will finally be solved by Haskins, Williams gave reason for optimism.

"I don’t want to say he’s going to start Game 1 today, but it’s been a pleasure and enjoyable scene to see what Dwayne Haskins has done over the last few weeks."

As soon as the Redskins took Haskins with the 15th pick, the whole world knew he would start for Washington at QB. One month until training camp, everybody wants to know when.