Two preseason games are in the books, and NFL teams will wrap up the 2023 preseason this weekend. Following this weekend’s slate of games, teams will then turn their attention to making final roster cuts by next Tuesday, Aug. 29.
The Washington Commanders meet the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday to finish their preseason. It’s unknown if head coach Ron Rivera plans to play his starters, but if he does, it won’t be for long. Saturday’s preseason finale will be about those players on the roster bubble attempting to make one last impression for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Here are 10 players on the roster bubble with less than a week until cutdown day.
QB Jake Fromm
Jake Fromm did all he could in Monday’s preseason win over the Ravens to prove to coaches he deserves a final spot on the 53-man roster. The problem is that the Commanders may not keep three quarterbacks. If they do, Fromm is safe. However, if they don’t, he’s likely ticketed for the practice squad.
RB Jaret Patterson
Jaret Patterson is a fan favorite. A local kid from Prince George’s County, Patterson enters his third NFL season on the outside looking in. But he’s faced those odds before and made it. Brian Robinson Jr., Antonio Gibson and Chris Rodriguez Jr. are safe. This boils down to if Washington keeps four running backs. If they do, Patterson is likely battling Jonathan Williams for the final spot.
RB Jonathan Williams
See above. This is all about if Washington keeps four running backs. Williams is a favorite of this coaching staff. He’s been around off and on since 2020, Ron Rivera’s first season. Williams is an excellent runner, delivers in pass protection and can catch passes out of the backfield. He’s the type of veteran insurance policy every team needs.
WR Dax Milne
Can the former seventh-round pick make the roster for a third consecutive season? Milne is a coach’s favorite. He can play multiple receiver positions, runs precise routes and catches everything. He’s the perfect backup. But the backup wide receivers need to help out on special teams. Last season, Milne was Washington’s primary returner. Undrafted rookie Kazmeir Allen has challenged him for that spot this summer. Has Milne done enough to land one of those final receiver spots?
WR Mitchell Tinsley
Could two undrafted rookie wide receivers make the roster? We think Allen makes the initial 53-man roster as the primary returner. Could Mitchel Tinsley also win a spot? Tinsley belongs on an NFL roster. He is a polished rookie who succeeded at two different colleges. An excellent route runner, Tinsley does all of the little things. Terry McLaurin is among those impressed with him. You can bet the Commanders will try to keep him on the practice squad if he’s cut next week.
T Braeden Daniels
Daniels was an All-Pac-12 selection at offensive tackle last season. Despite being considered a tweener by NFL teams, Washington wanted to give its fourth-round pick a chance to be a tackle as a rookie. It hasn’t gone well. However, in the game vs. the Ravens, Daniels showed some improvements. We don’t see the Commanders cutting a rookie fourth-round pick. However, if we go by which players have shown the most this summer, another rookie offensive lineman has been better.
G Mason Brooks
"[UDFA OL Mason Brooks] shows good signs. He gets guys pumped up with his play. He's a guy to watch… In all honesty, he's been more impressive than Braeden Daniels, their 4th round pick."
–@john_keim (Tier 1🥇)#HTTC | #Commanders | #TrainingCamp pic.twitter.com/Kuxyk3xhjv
— We Want Dallas (@WeWantDallas) August 3, 2023
The undrafted rookie from Ole Miss has opened eyes this summer. Washington liked Brooks enough after the draft to offer him a top signing bonus for undrafted rookies. He’s had a good summer, especially when you factor in he’s an undrafted free agent. The problem is that Washington’s depth is better on the interior. The concern is at offensive tackle. If the Commanders feel strongly enough about Daniels at tackle, along with veteran swing tackle Cornelius Lucas as backups, could that open up a spot for Brooks? Brooks is definitely on the bubble, but the Commanders do not want to lose him.
DE K.J. Henry
I would’ve never listed K.J. Henry on the bubble entering training. Washington moved up in the fifth round to draft Henry. However, seventh-round rookie Andre Jones Jr. has been outstanding. Jones has big-time potential, which he has flashed all summer. Jones is making the roster. Where does that leave Henry? He’s done nothing wrong. He hasn’t been bad, but Washington is so deep at defensive end. While I don’t think the Commanders cut Henry, this one is worth watching.
DE James Smith-Williams
I’ll admit, this one surprised me when ESPN’s John Keim mentioned it as a possibility on his podcast earlier in the week. Smith-Williams, a fourth-year defensive end, has been a solid player for the Commanders. He’s entering the final season of his rookie contract. Smith-Williams has spent some time playing inside this summer, so perhaps that versatility earns him a roster spot. If Smith-Williams doesn’t make it, he’ll be scooped up quickly.
CB Christian Holmes
Is Christian Holmes on the roster bubble? In our two most recent roster projections, we have Holmes making it. But, with Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste, Emmanuel Forbes, Danny Johnson and Quan Martin all ahead of him, might the Commanders cut Holmes? A seventh-round pick in 2022, Holmes has good size and has shown some upside at cornerback. He still has a ways to go, but the potential is there. However, Holmes really shines on special teams and that’s probably what earns him a spot on the 53.