- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2021

ASHBURN — The Washington Football Team announced its 53-man roster Tuesday and there were a few surprises. 

Washington retained only four linebackers, a much lower number than expected. And it retained seven wide receivers — though 2020 fourth-rounder Antonio Gandy-Golden was not among them. 

Running back Jaret Patterson and tight end Sammis Reyes — two feel-good stories of training camp — both made the roster after strong showings this summer. 

Here’s a breakdown: 

Quarterbacks (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen. No surprises here. Expect this group to stay the same, even with Cam Newton getting released Tuesday by the New England Patriots.

Running backs (3): Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Jaret Patterson. Peyton Barber was the odd man out. Washington valued his contributions in short-yardage situations, but Gibson can handle that role as he continues to grow in his second year. 

Tight ends (4): Logan Thomas, John Bates, Sammis Reyes, Ricky Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones makes it, after all. But the addition makes sense with Reyes, a former college basketball turned tight end, in his first football season ever. Seals-Jones adds a veteran presence with Bates and Reyes rookies. 

Wide receivers (7): Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims, Dax Milne, DeAndre Carter. Washington did keep seven receivers for the first time since 2012. But in a twist, the team kept both Milne and Carter — two potential punters returners — instead of Gandy-Golden, the 6-foot-4 wideout whose height and contested-catch ability are likely to appeal to other teams. 

Offensive line (9): Charles Leno, Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Sam Cosmi, Cornelius Lucas, Wes Schweitzer, Saahdiq Charles and Tyler Larsen. No surprises here. Charles’ positional flexibility made tackle David Sharpe and guard Keith Ishmael expendable. 

Defensive line (9): Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, James Smith-Williams, Shaka Toney, Casey Toohill. Washington stuck with Toohill despite the second-year defensive lineman missing most of training camp with a toe injury. Perhaps Toohill is close to returning, however it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to land on injured reserve and Washington open up another roster spot. Players who are placed on IR during the regular season only have to miss a minimum of three weeks, compared to the entire season if placed on the list during the offseason.

Linebackers (4): Jamin Davis, Jon Bostic, Cole Holcomb, Khaleke Hudson. It was a genuine surprise that Washington only kept four linebackers — cutting David Mayo and Jared Norris, among others. Mayo and Norris were seen as special teams contributors, but that wasn’t enough to earn a roster spot. Keep on an eye on this position, as it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Washington add another player off waivers once the dust settles.

Cornerbacks (6): William Jackson III, Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste, Darryl Roberts, Torry McTyer, Troy Apke. In terms of name value, Jimmy Moreland’s exit may have been the biggest of the day. The third-year corner, however, saw a dip in playing time in practice recently. Washington also has Fuller to be its primary slot cornerback, and that was Moreland’s main role last year.

Safeties (5): Landon Collins, Kam Curl, Bobby McCain, Deshazor Everett, Darrick Forrest. Jeremy Reaves was well-liked and it will be interesting to see if another team claims him after he started three games last year. But Washington made room for Forrest, a fifth-round draft pick this year. 

Specialists (3): Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, Camaron Cheeseman. A number of notable kickers — Nick Folk and Zane Gonzalez, to name a few — were released around the league, but Washington is sticking by Hopkins. 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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