In preparation for Washington’s rookie minicamp this weekend, let’s look at the spots on the depth chart that provide the best opportunity to make the team in 2016.
Injuries aside, there are nine positions that are virtually set in stone for the 2016 season: QB, CB (2), OLB (3), LT, RT, RG, DE, WR*, RB**. Uncertainty of who will start exists at a couple of these spots, but the answer already exists on the roster. After that however, genuine opportunity exists.
Based off of last season, the positions offering the most realistic chance to stick are: safety, running back, inside linebacker and offensive line (primarily swing tackle).
Coming off of a 9-7 season, some may say “we don’t have that many holes”. But it’s not always about a lack of an answer at a position. Rather, the team’s ability to say… THIS GUY IS OUR STARTER/PROVIDES HI-QUALITY DEPTH.
From this list, safety offers the best chance due to the level of uncertainty at both spots. With running back potentially, being the hardest nut to crack (after TE), due to the number of spots presumed available in the rotation (1). Yet even then, anything is possible. An extraordinary effort in the summer can force a front office into action. And for these young guys, especially the undrafted free agents and rookie camp invites– this weekend is their first crack at making that happen.
2016 Draft Picks
Doctson (WR), Cravens (S), Fuller (CB), Ioannidis (DT/DE), Sudfeld (QB), Daniels (ILB), Marshall (RB)
WR: Reginald Diggs (Richmond), Maurice Harris (California), Andre McCullough (Rocky Mountain), Valdez Showers (Florida)
OL: Dominick Jackson-T (Alabama) listed as guard, Kevin Bowen-T (East Central) and Joe Gore-T (Clemson) released May 12th
RB: Travis Greene (Bowling Green), Johnta Herbert (Prairie View A&M), Rob Kelley (Tulane)
DB: Tevin Carter-S (Utah) waived May 9th, Geno Matias-Smith-S (Alabama), Ashland’s Donzale Ashley-S (Ashley), Kenneth Springer (New Mexico Highlands) and Lloyd Carrington (Arizona St)
TE: Michael Cooper (Indiana)
LB: Ejiro Ederaine (Fresno State), Reggie Northrup (Florida State)
DE: Shiro Davis (Texas), Anthony Lanier (Alabama A&M)
FB: Joe Kerridge (Michigan)
LS: Kelly Mason (Kentucky)
On paper, I am a huge fan of the 2016 draft class. And what they can offer from a competition/rotation standpoint. So let’s take a look at the undrafted guys I’m the most anxious to see and hear about this weekend, based on scouting reports.
Johnta Herbert (RB) – an all purpose back, who piled up ridiculous numbers for the Panthers
Geno Matias-Smith (S) – brings a pedigree, playing behind current NFL pros Landon Collins and Nick Perry at Alabama
Donzale Ashley (S) – great size for the position, 6’1″ 220
Anthony Lanier (DE/OLB) – per Aaron Wilson, he’s a favorite of Doug Williams. I want to see why. Great measurables at 6’6″ 260+
Joe Kerridge (FB) – there’s a hole on the roster with Young currently not being re-signed. Comes down to Gruden and Callahan’s belief in a need for a fullback that plays special teams. If you’re looking for an early candidate to fall in love with before games start counting, here he is. (check the video after the jump)
— Joe Kerridge (@JKerridge36) March 12, 2016
Best of luck to all of the young guys this weekend, especially the undrafted free agents and minicamp invites, the underdogs. Now’s the time to prove the naysayers wrong (measurables, level of competition, past indiscretions). Here’s to following your dreams, and making the most of this opportunity– both in the classroom and on the field.
Go get it fellas!
* The Skins have a sure fire number 1 and 2 receiver. But both are playing on expiring contracts. Can Doctson show enough to allow for a shake up at the top of the depth chart via a trade? Possibly for a young nose tackle?
** Looking at the franchises moves in the offseason, it’s all but a guarantee that Matt Jones is their guy. But coming off last year, ball security and an ability to stay healthy could be issues. The latter goes for Chris Thompson as well. Could more than one young back play their way into the competition, once training camp rolls around?