RICHMOND — The Washington Redskins released their first depth chart of the 2018 season Monday afternoon, and second-round draft pick and fan favorite Derrius Guice was slotted surprisingly low.
The running back is on the fourth team along with undrafted rookie Martez Carter, behind five other backs included in the first, second and third strings. The team’s website stressed, however, that it is an “unofficial” depth chart.
For now, Rob Kelley is the first-string running back, with Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs on the second team. Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall are both listed as third-stringers.
Although it might be interpreted as a decision to list rookies lower than players who have NFL experience, first-round pick Daron Payne is listed as the Redskins’ starting nose tackle.
Fans should not assume Guice’s spot on the team is in danger. The chances of a team cutting its second-round pick during training camp are extremely low, and Guice has taken some first-team reps during training camp.
In seven appearances last year, Kelley ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns, after racking up seven total touchdowns in his rookie campaign in 2016. Entering his third season with Washington, Kelley said he’s happy with his camp thus far.
“I think getting my weight down was half the battle,” Kelley said. “Now I feel good, so I’m playing better. I think it’s going pretty good for me.”
With some players like Marshall also making a case for themselves as kick returners, the possibility has arisen of Washington rostering five running backs in the final 53 rather than their usual four.
“Five running backs (is) probably a stretch, but a possibility,” coach Jay Gruden said Sunday.
Marshall is not listed on the special teams depth chart, though. Rookie cornerback Greg Stroman is listed as the first-team kick returner, backed up by wide receiver Maurice Harris. Jamison Crowder is still the first-string punt returner, with rookie Trey Quinn behind him.
The depth chart notably does not include a line for “nickel cornerback,” a position up for debate among fans. The Redskins listed Quinton Dunbar as a starter opposite Josh Norman, with Orlando Scandrick as Norman’s backup. Scandrick, who came to town in free agency, likely will be the Redskins’ go-to nickel corner in 2018.
Scandrick has “a great head for the game, seeing every situation, every route concept known to man, so he’s a great nickel without a doubt,” Gruden said Monday. “When we lost Kendal Fuller, we needed to get another nickel, a proven nickel. He’s that, but he can also play outside as Dunbar and Moreau improve and earn a starting spot.”
Elsewhere in the secondary, Montae Nicholson and D.J. Swearinger are listed as the starting safeties.
The offensive line and top three wide receivers (Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson) were among the most predictable starters on the offense, but some interesting nuggets were revealed in the second and third strings. Brian Quick joined Maurice Harris and Robert Davis as second-string receivers, ahead of Quinn, the seventh-round pick also competing at punt returner.
Third-rounder Geron Christian is the second-string left tackle, and may see plenty of preseason game action there. Usual starter Trent Williams is doubtful for the preseason opener and may only play one or two series in the third week, Gruden said Monday.
Two players were not included in the depth chart: Defensive lineman Stacy McGee (physically unable to perform list) and cornerback Joshua Holsey (non-football injury list).
The depth chart may provide some ideas about which Redskins will play for how long, and with which units, in their first preseason game Thursday at the New England Patriots.
• Adam Zielonka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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