As final cut day approaches the Washington Football Team is in a pretty good place. After a solid workman like camp and three preseason games, the team is relatively healthy with two weeks to go before the opening game. Some cuts have already started and those guys I did not think had a chance of making the final 53 or initial 53 depending or your perspective. Coach Rivera stated on Sunday that the staff was debating around six roster spots which means most of the team is locked in. Here is my final prediction. Starters in bold. Previous predictions can be found here and here.
Quarterback (2)- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke. I have always been in the boat of a 3rd quarterback doesn’t serve much purpose when that person does not dress on game days. Based on Saturday and the players held out, Fitzpatrick has been named the starter and Taylor Heinicke is the backup. Steven Montez was cut earlier to day and is a good candidate to be on the practice squad. This leaves Kyle Allen as the odd man out. By virtue of Allen playing Saturday, he can not be put on the PUP list. I always thought this was a way to stash him if they needed him, because I did not think he looked healthy. His performance wasn’t that good against the Ravens and I believe they showcased him to present to QB needy teams. This is risky only going with two QB’s but a seventh receiver is more important than a 3rd QB.
Running Back (4)- Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Jaret Patterson, Peyton Barber. One position that is helped by the one less quarterback is running backs. Gibson is locked in as the starter and McKissic is the 3rd down receiving back. Patterson has played himself onto the roster and the team clearly wanted him there as they signed him right after the draft. Barber is a good backup and probably will end up not dressing the first game but with Gibson and his toe injury, Barber could come in a be a backup.
Wide Receiver (6)- Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuels, Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims, Antonio Gandy-Golden. This has been the toughest battle on the roster and for the longest I believed they would keep seven receivers. I think because a need to protect other players I think this will be the initial six. The top four are 100% locks, Cam Sims is probably a 95% lock. Gandy-Golden won his battle with Kelvin Harmon and Stephen Sims for that last spot. After the first day I believe that Dax Milne will be added to the roster as he is the only backup slot receiver the team has. DeAndre Carter showed some return ability but his playing time went down as Milne ascended.
Tight End (4)- Logan Thomas, John Bates, Ricky Seals-Jones, Sammis Reyes. Here is the position where the extra spot is needed first. Thomas is the firm starter and John Bates has had good camp and is the backup. Reyes is liked and they want to keep him but he has battled injuries. If you cut Reyes some team will claim him so I believe he makes it on the first day. Seals-Jones is a veteran who can step in and play until Reyes is ready to go. After the first day Reyes maybe put on PUP to fully heal and come back and help the team later in the season.
Offensive Line (9)- Charles Leno Jr., Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Samuel Cosmi, Cornelius Lucas, Saahdiq Charles, Wes Schweitzer, Tyler Larsen. This is the group heading forward and just the choice between Flowers and Schweitzer starting at left guard is all that is left to be decided. All of the backups can play multiple positions along the line.
Defensive Line (9)- Chase Young, Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, Tim Settle, Matt Ioannidis, James Smith-Williams, William Bradley-King, Shaka Toney. Arguably the best defensive line in football is the starting front four, with Settle and Ioannidis as key rotational players. Smith-Williams can play inside and out while Bradley-King and Toney there for backup rushers. Casey Toohill most likely to the Pup list.
Linebackers (5)- Jon Bostic, Jamin Davis, Cole Holcomb, Khaleke Hudson, Jared Norris. With the need at other positions this will most likely be capped at 5 people. With the defensive flexibility available they can play with the starters rotating with two on the field at a time. I do think they will add a player or two after cuts from another team. Joe Walker, David Mayo, and Jordan Kunaszyk could all be on the expanded practice squad.
Cornerback (6)- William Jackson III, Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St. Juste, Torry McTyer, Jimmy Moreland, Troy Apke. The top three have been established with St. Juste becoming the third cornerback on the team. If Jackson can’t shake his injury then Moreland would play the slot while St. Juste would start. McTyer has been rising and should be the 5th cornerback. Troy Apke and Danny Johnson are battling for the 6th spot and both are special teamers. Apke has been trending up so I am giving him the slight nod with Danny Johnson hopefully making it to practice squad.
Safeties (5)- Landon Collins, Kamren Curl, Bobby McCain, Deshazor Everett, Jeremy Reaves. The only battle here is the last spot between Reaves and Derrick Forrest and Reaves wins out as they only other true free safety on the team and his special teams ability. Forrest needs some more work to be a solid contributor and definitely be on the practice squad.
Tress Way, Camaron Cheeseman, and Dustin Hopkins all are making the roster. Now how long is Hopkins leash during the season remains to be seen but he will be here to start.