With the preseason officially over for the WFT, head coach Ron Rivera and company have to make some tough decisions on constructing this roster. From what I’ve watched and heard from numerous sources, I have a rough idea of who will and will not be on the original 53 man roster.
(Italic indicate starter)
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen
No real surprises here. Ryan Fitzpatrick was their initial starter from the beginning of training camp, and nothing has changed about that. Fitz hasn’t started a full 16 games since 2016 when he was on the Jets, but if he can keep the job all year, that shows both health and goos enough QB play to potentially lead Washington to the postseason.
Running Back: Antonio Gibson, JD McKissic, Peyton Barber, Jarret Patterson
Many fans wanted Washington to part ways with Peyton Barber, and that was never going to happen. He is certainly the least flashy RB of the group, but he serves a vital role for the offense, short-yard situations. He is a proven thumper, something the other guys simply cannot do or have not shown the ability to do it.
Jarret Patterson went from the feel-good story about a local kid who went undrafted, picked up by his favorite team, to a guy that can truly make an impact on the roster. How much playing time he could get remains a mystery, he could even find playing time in the return game almost like Maurice Jones-Drew did to start his career. You usually want your 4th string RB to have the ability to play specials, so expect that from the rookie out of Buffalo.
Wide Reciever: Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Deandre Carter
The first 5 guys on this list were obvious. Adding Samuels and Humpheries in free agency, plus drafting Dyami Brown has improved the WR room immensely. AGG didn’t have a great rookie season mixed with a lot of injuries combined with no real offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He won’t play much on offense but expect him to continue to develop and eventually make an impact on the offense going forward. Dyami Brown is gonna be a sneaky guy to watch. He has big-play ability, he just needs to refine his skills and he has the potential to be a problem in the NFL.
Tight End: Logan Thomas, John Bates, Sammis Reyes
What they do for this position is interesting. Logan Thomas and John Bates are locked in to be on the opening day roster without question. What they do with rookie Sammis Reyes is going to be very interesting. If they release him and try to get him to the practice squad, the chances of this happening are very slim. So unless they store him on the initial 53, IR him, and bring back a Ricky Seals-Jones or another TE that would be released from other teams, expect Sammis on the team.
Offensive Line: Sam Cosmi, Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Schereff, Charles Leno, Saadiqq Charles, Wes Schwietzer, Cornelius Lucas, Tyler Larsen
Washington is coming into the season with three new offensive linemen, including both tackle spots in Sam Cosmi and Charles Leno. They have the ability to only keep nine linemen with the position flexibility of second-year linemen, Saahdiq Charles. Tyler Larsen has puled ahead of 2020 fifth-round pick Keith Ismael for the backup center spot, with Cornelius Lucas as the backup tackle and Wes Schweitzer as the backup guard.
Defensive Line: Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Shaka Toney, James Smith-Williams
One of the best groups in the NFL, headlined by five legit pro bowl caliber players in the starters. With the absence of all-time sack leader Ryan Kerrigan, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason, this group lacks depth on the edge. But when you’re headlined by Chase Young and Montez Sweat, anything behind them is nothing more than a bonus.
Cornerback: William Jackson III, Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste, Jimmy Moreland, Torry McTyer, Troy Apke
Since stepping into the spotlight, rookie Benjamin St-Juste has stepped up and truly made a name for himself among the coaching staff and fans. He might not start games during his rookie campaign, but he will most definitely find himself on the field as the team loves to run their nickel packages a majority of the time.
Safety: Landon Collins, Kam Curl, Bobby McCain, Deshazor Everett, Darrick Forrest Jr.
Landon Collins looked very impressive this offseason and coming off a torn Achilles mixed with subpar play from the former All-Pro safety since coming to DC, this is a pleasant surprise. Stating that he feels better post Achilles tear than post tear, pairing him with Kam Curl who broke out in 2020, and newly added veteran Bobby McCain who both excel in pass protection, this group has the potential to be scary.
The last spot will come down to the health of Darrick Forrest Jr, who is currently dealing with a hamstring injury, and if he is ready to go week one, expect Jeremy Reeves to be active off the practice squad on gamedays until Forrest gets back healthy.
Linebacker: Jamin Davis, Cole Holcomb, Jon Bostic, Khaleke Hudson, David Mayo
The first three guys on the roster are lock, and they can and will make an impact on the defense. But this will not be the guys going forward. The coaching staff was not happy with what they got from the linebacking group last season, and they added a top LB prospect in the draft, but they will almost certainly add more. The last two guys are mainly special teams guys and don’t have a current role within the defense.
Special Teams: Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, Camaron Cheeseman
Tress Way, one of the best punters in the league. The Cheeseman, a long snapper from Michigan with a sick last name. Not much needs to be said.
Dustin Hopkins struggled big time to start last season and was shaky during parts of training camp and the preseason. I believe Hopkins can turn it around, but his time to right the ship is getting shorter and shorter. If he does not have this figured out by week 3, expect competition to come in and try to get the team’s kicking situation handled.