The Washington Redskins continued the sweeping change at the wide receiver position Friday night in keeping seven on their final roster.
The Redskins reduced their roster to 52 players, instead of the league-mandated 53, by Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline. The highest-profile moves out of 23 made by the team included putting free safety Tanard Jackson on the reserve/suspended list and releasing veteran running back Tim Hightower.
The Redskins presumably will fill the vacant roster spot in the near future.
Robinson and Briscoe led the Redskins in preseason receiving yards. In choosing them over Armstrong and Austin, the Redskins went with a pair of receivers who did not play in a game for the team last season.
Robinson, a sixth-round pick in 2011, demonstrated this summer an ability to effectively run a variety of routes, not just vertical ones designed to exploit his exceptional speed. His 49-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the second preseason game against Chicago impressed coach Mike Shanahan.
Tampa Bay released him in July because of off-the-field issues and poor conditioning, not talent. He proved in the preseason that his route running, hands and ability to adjust to an underthrown pass are traits that can help the Redskins.
Armstrong and Austin played for Washington during each of Shanahan’s first two seasons. The Redskins explored with the Miami Dolphins a trade that could have included Armstrong and Dolphins running back Steve Slaton, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. It was not consummated, though, and Slaton made Miami’s final roster.
Banks’ elite speed helped him make the team for a third straight season. His 156 all-purpose yards on only seven touches in the preseason finale were a tremendous boost to his roster chances, a source with knowledge of the situation said.
Shanahan said during the summer that Banks needed to make the team as a receiver, but with sixth others on the team, it’s unclear how much he’ll actually need to play that position.
Jackson’s suspension is a major blow to a secondary that already presented significant questions. He is out indefinitely for violating NFL’s league’s substance abuse policy, a league spokesman said Friday afternoon.
This is Jackson’s third drug-related suspension. He missed the first four games of the 2009 season for his first violation. His second suspension, which lasted about 13 months, cost him the last 14 games of 2010 and the first five of 2011.
When Tampa Bay released Jackson in April, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik told reporters he was not aware that Jackson had failed any new drug test or was facing additional disciplinary action from the league.
Jackson was progressing toward a starting spot on the Redskins defense. He missed much of the offseason program while recovering from shoulder surgery, and he missed the start of training camp due to a calf strain. He started the preseason game against Indianapolis last Saturday, though, and was active around the line of scrimmage.
Jackson, whose home town is Silver Spring, Md., is suspended without pay. He was scheduled to earn $700,000 this season. His suspension opened a roster spot for seventh-round rookie Jordan Bernstine.
Hightower’s attempted comeback from left knee ACL reconstruction surgery fell short. His knee became sore after he played against Indianapolis last Saturday, and the Redskins moved on with three tailbacks: Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr. and sixth-round rookie Alfred Morris.
Two offensive linemen who made the team last September did not survive this year’s final cuts. Tackle Willie Smith and interior lineman Erik Cook were waived. Smith is a strong candidate to be signed to the practice squad Saturday.
Second-year guard/tackle Maurice Hurt made the team after failing to survive final cuts his rookie year. Tackle Jordan Black, whom the Redskins plucked from near retirement during training camp, also made it.
Tackle Tom Compton, a sixth-round pick, was the only 2012 draft pick that did not make the team.
The roster as of 9 p.m. Friday was as follows:
QUARTERBACKS (3): Robert Griffin III*, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
RUNNING BACKS (4): Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Alfred Morris, Darrel Young
TIGHT ENDS (3): Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Maurice Hurt, Jordan Black, Josh LeRibeus*, Adam Gettis*
DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Adam Carriker, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson*
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Chris Wilson
CORNERBACKS (4): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford*
SAFETIES (5): Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams, Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes, Jordan Bernstine*
SPECIALISTS (3): Billy Cundiff, Sav Rocca, Nick Sundberg
*Indicates 2012 draft pick
Reserve/suspended list: FS Tanard Jackson
On Friday, the Redskins cut the following players:
QB: Jonathan Crompton
RB: Tim Hightower, Tristan Davis, Dorson Boyce
TE: Richard Quinn
OL: Erik Cook, Willie Smith, Tom Compton*, Grant Garner
DL: Darrion Scott, Doug Worthington, Delvin Johnson, Marlon Favorite
LB: Bryan Kehl, Markus White, D.J. Holt, Brian McNally
CB: David Jones, Brandyn Thompson, Travon Bellamy
*Indicates 2012 draft pick