Washington Football Team

Training Camp Preview: 53 Man Roster Prediction

The 2021 season is about to get underway as the Washington Football will commence Training Camp in Richmond, VA. As this season has a little more semblance of normalcy, this rebuilt roster will enter training camp coming off a NFC East division title and some higher expectations. On this eve of training camp today I will give my roster prediction as it stands today. Expected started will be in bold. 

Offense-25

JD McKissic (41) celebrates after scoring a touchdown. 1/09/21 photo courtesy of @GriffinVision

Quarterback (2)- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke. Barring an injury Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter come opening day at FedEx Field against the Los Angeles Chargers. Fitzpatrick was brought in to be the starter and get this offense into a higher gear. He is by no means a top 10  quarterback, but the offense just needs credible and consistent QB play. His propensity to drive the ball down the field will open up Scott Turner’s offense. In the battle for the backup I believe Heinicke will beat out Kyle Allen for the backup role. Allen is coming off a major injury and Heinicke has a play making ability that none of the other QB’s have. Allen is loved by Scott Turner but that may not be enough to win out. They may keep three QB’s, but with the 16 player practice squad they may opt for just keeping two.

Running Backs (4)- Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Lamar Miller, Jaret Patterson. This group is pretty locked in for me, with Gibson as the entrenched starter and McKissic as the 3rd down receiving back. There will be a battle between Peyton Barber and Miller for Gibson’s backup and power back. I think Patterson makes the team for return ability and as McKissic’s backup, plus I think it is risky to put him on practice squad.

Wide Receivers (7)- Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuels, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims, Adam Humphries, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Steven Sims. This is will be the battle to watch on the offense, along with the offensive line. The first four are locks for this roster, if Adam Humphries is healthy he will make it, but if Humphries doesn’t look good he could be cut. Gandy-Golden looks to be healthy and was drafted by this staff so he will be given a shot on the roster. With one less quarterback on the roster you can keep another weapon and here I believe Steven Sims will beat out Kelvin Harmon and Isaiah Wright. Harmon could end up on the PUP list to start the season if he isn’t 100% and Wright will definitely be on the practice squad. Dax Milne will be a practice squad player to start the season.

Tight Ends (3)- Logan Thomas, John Bates, Ricky Seals-Jones. Thomas is firmly entrenched as the starter, Bates was a solid draft pick and should be the backup, the real battle is for the third spot. Seals-Jones is a veteran and Sammis Reyes is the player for development. Depending on how Reyes looks will decide the third spot. Also can Washington afford to put Reyes on the Practice Squad and not have him poached away?

Offensive Line (9)- Charles Leno, Wes Schweitzer, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Samuel Cosmi, Cornelius Lucas, Ereck Flowers, Keith Ismeal, Saahdiq Charles. I believe this nine will be pretty much set going into the season. What is the big unknown is will be the starters. Scherff and Roullier are locked in, however the other three positions will all be up for grabs. What this line offers is flexibility with players being able to play multiple positions. Leno coming from the Bears should have one of the tackle spots, most likely left, which leaves left guard between Schweitzer, Flowers, and possibly Charles with Cosmi, Lucas and Charles fighting for right tackle. David Sharpe is on the outside looking in for now but has a good chance to fight onto the roster.

Defense-25

Defense versus the Rams. 10/11/20 photo courtesy of GriffinVision

Defensive Line (8)- Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, James Smith-Williams, Shaka Toney. The foundation of the team so the top six are complete locks including the recently extended Allen. The only battle will be for the final backup defensive end spot and I think Toney will have that spot. He has elite pass rushing skills and will be a good fit to spell the starters.

Linebacker (6)- Jamin Davis, Jon Bostic, Kyle Holcomb, Khalake Hudson, Jared Norris, Jordan Kunaszyk. The starters are pretty much locked in with the first rounder Davis joining Bostic and Holcomb. Davis provides coverage ability and speed that this corps did not have last season. This defense will improve by how much this group performs.

Cornerback (5)- Kendall Fuller, William Jackson III, Jimmy Moreland, Benjamin St-Juste, Danny Johnson. The first four guys are locked in with Fuller and Jackson starting and Moreland coming on in nickel. St-Juste will be a future starter on the outside and the goal is to have Fuller slide inside. Danny Johnson has high special teams ability and returner talent and if needed some of the safeties can play corner.

Safety (6)- Landon Collins, Bobby McCain, Kamren Curl, Jeremey Reaves, Deshazor Everett, Darrick Forrest. This group will be the focus on the defense. Collins is coming off a major injury and is supposed to back at 100% but that won’t be fully certain until camp opens. McCain was brought in to finally solve the free safety position so he will be given that chance, Curl will see the field in the buffalo nickel position but can easily start if needed. Reaves and Everett are hard workers, willing special teamers, and can play if needed and Forrest has good talent and is well liked by the staff. Troy Apke is on the outside looking in however with some reps at corner as well the staff shows they are trying to find a way to keep him on this team.

Specialist-3

Place Kicker- Dustin Hopkins- With no other kickers brought in, Hopkins is the guy at the moment. Hopkins has had some up and down moments so Hopkins will need to be better than the last two seasons.

Punter- Tress Way- Locked in and is a top 3 punter in the NFL.

Long Snapper- Cameron Cheeseman- Long time long snapper Nick Sundberg was let go and Cheeseman was drafted in the 6th round. Will be a minor thing to watch during this camp.