- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Starting today and continuing throughout the summer, I’ll make guesses on what the final 53-man roster will look like.

I’m always looking for feedback — especially on out-of-nowhere candidates and potential veteran cuts. E-mail me at [email protected] or [email protected].

In Joe Gibbs’ first three years back with the Redskins, there hasn’t been much fluctuation in the roster makeup. The quarterback, running back, receiver and offensive line numbers haven’t changed in any year. There has always been some movement on defense based on injuries and camp surprises.

Deciding on the numbers isn’t difficult. Same goes with the starters. But then things get murky, especially along both lines and in the secondary. Here’s my first guess (he breakdown is of the Week 1, 53-man rosters):

Quarterbacks

2004: 3

2005: 3

2006: 3

This year’s givens: 3 — Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell, Todd Collins.

Analysis: No real surprises here. The only fly in the ointment for Gibbs would be if Brunell’s labrum is slow to heal and he can’t do much during the preseason. Then Coach Joe would have to make a decision - a) release his favorite quarterback or b) make him third string and move Collins up to No. 2.

Running backs

2004: 4

2005: 4

2006: 4

This year’s givens: Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts with two spots remaining. (I’m throwing Mike Sellers into the fullback-tight end group).

Analysis: One of the competitions to watch in training camp is Rock Cartwright vs. Derrick Blaylock. But both players may make the team - Blaylock as the No. 3 running back/fullback and Cartwright as a special teamer.

Receivers

2004: 5

2005: 5

2006: 5

This year’s givens: 4 — Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash with one spot remaining.

Analysis: David Patten was released, clearing the way for second-year player Mike Espy to win the fifth receiver job. It will be his job to lose come training camp.

Offensive line

2004: 9

2005: 9

2006: 9

This year’s givens: 5 — Jon Jansen, Randy Thomas, Casey Rabach, Todd Wade, Chris Samuels.

Analysis: The five starters are set (assuming Wade’s transition from tackle to left guard isn’t a complete and utter train wreck). And it would appear three of the four reserve spots are not up for grabs - Mike Pucillo, Ross Tucker and Jason Fabini. That leaves one spot for the group of Taylor Whitley, Kili Lefotu, Lorenzo Alexander, et al to fight for.

Tight ends/fullbacks

2004: 5

2005: 4

2006: 4

This year’s givens: Mike Sellers, Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder with one spot remaining.

Analysis: I expect draft choice Tyler Ecker to get the first shot as the blocking tight end spot vacated by the utterly forgettable Christian Fauria. There is only one other tight end (Eric Edwards) on the current roster.

Defensive line

2004: 8

2005: 9

2006: 9

This year’s givens: Andre Carter, Cornelius Griffin, Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston, Demetric Evans and Renaldo Wynn with three spots remaining.

Analysis: The Redskins currently have 16 defensive linemen on the offseason roster. The d-end position appears set with Carter, Daniels, Wynn and Evans. Griffin and Golston is the likely starting tackle duo. That leaves Joe Salave’a, Anthony Montgomery and Ryan Boschetti as the front-runners to be reserves, Salave’a needs to have a good camp and stay healthy or risk losing his spot to a younger player.

Linebackers

2004: 6

2005: 7

2006: 6

This year’s givens: Marcus Washington, London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Lemar Marshall, Khary Campbell with one spot open.

Analysis: H.B. Blades and Dallas Sartz will battle for final spot with the defeated headed to the practice squad.

Defensive backs

2004: 10

2005: 9

2006: 10

This year’s givens: Sean Taylor, Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot, LaRon Landry, Pierson Prioleau, David Macklin and Omar Stoutmire with two spots open.

Analysis: Reed Doughty, Vernon Fox and Ade Jimoh are competing for two roster spots. Jimoh has somehow lasted this long because of his special teams play. If they keep him, Doughty and Fox are vying for the remaining safety spot.

Specialists

2004: 3

2005: 3

2006: 3

This year’s givens: 3 — Ethan Albright, Shaun Suisham, Derrick Frost.

Analysis: Only injuries would jeopardize Suisham and Frost.

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