Washington Redskins coaches spent the summer touting their newly-established depth at the receiver position. Last year’s group wasn’t good enough to scare opposing defenses, so they added five new receivers via the draft, free agency and trades. The new corps, they said, was replete with players whose unique talents would challenge defensive backs and bring out the best in each other.
As it turns out, the coaches didn’t want to break up the group during final cuts. Seven receivers, not counting return specialist Brandon Banks, remained on the team after the Redskins trimmed their roster to 53 players to meet the NFL’s 6 p.m. Saturday deadline.
Fifth-round rookie Niles Paul and eight-year veteran Donté Stallworth joined third-round pick Leonard Hankerson, second-year veteran Terrence Austin and front liners Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Anthony Armstrong on the team.
The moves, which the team waited until 9:30 p.m. to announce, included few, if any, surprises.
Seventh-round rookie Chris Neild beat out Anthony Bryant for the backup nose tackle job. He is one of only six defensive linemen the Redskins kept, a number that could increase with a transaction or two before Sunday’s regular-season opener against the New York Giants.
Fullback Mike Sellers made the team after the Redskins played him at tight end during training camp and the preseason.
It was an inauspicious sign for the 11-year veteran, but it might have saved him from being cut. Tight end Chris Cooley missed the entire preseason with a knee injury, and his status for the regular-season opener is uncertain.
Eight of the Redskins‘ 12 draft picks made the team, and second-round rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (right knee) was put on injured reserve.
Free safety Kareem Moore (right knee) will begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list and must sit out the first six games.
Veteran safety Chris Horton and inside linebacker Horatio Blades were the longest-tenured players to be released.
Horton, a seventh-rounder in 2008, struggled in pass coverage at times during training camp and the preseason. He was plagued by injuries in past years but made it through camp healthy this summer. His block helped spring Banks’ 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in Thursday’s preseason finale,
Blades, a sixth-round pick under coach Joe Gibbs in 2007, did not expect to make the team after the Redskins re-signed Rocky McIntosh and signed veteran free agent Keyaron Fox during training camp. He ranked sixth on the team last season with 11 special teams tackles.
Tackle Willie Smith was the only undrafted free agent to make the roster. Veteran guard Artis Hicks was released after the Redskins failed in their attempt to trade him.
The entire roster is as follows: