Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Bryan Manning

Projecting Commanders’ 53-man roster as training camp gets underway

Training camp is upon us. All 32 NFL teams enter camp with plenty of hope. Every fan believes it’s their team’s year. And numerous players around the NFL are competing to live out their lifelong dreams of making an NFL roster.

Unfortunately, teams can only keep 53 players ahead of Week 1. So what begins with 90 players in July ends with 53. Others will end up on the practice squads, some land with other teams, and, for many, their NFL dreams end.

The Washington Commanders enter training camp with a solid roster from top to bottom. While much of the roster is settled, there are some spots that are up for grabs.

Here’s a look at our latest 53-man roster projection as camp begins in Ashburn.

Quarterback: 3

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) passes the ball as Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett (12). Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Sam Howell
  2. Jacoby Brissett
  3. Jake Fromm

We almost went with two here. There’s a chance that head coach Ron Rivera feels comfortable with only Howell and Brissett. It would make sense, considering the Commanders believe in both quarterbacks. This is a spot that could change throughout camp, but for now, we are giving Fromm the nod as the third quarterback.

Running back: 3

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson (8) and Commanders running back Antonio Gibson (24) stand on the field during day two of minicamp at The Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Brian Robinson Jr.
  2. Antonio Gibson
  3. Chris Rodriguez Jr.

This is another position where we could see three or four players. The Commanders like Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson. If Washington thinks they can slip Patterson back to the practice squad, then keeping three makes sense. Williams is a good, tough runner who has shined in limited opportunities. But the Commanders may want to keep an extra offensive lineman or receiver just to return kicks.

Wide receiver: 6

Washington Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson (1) celebrating his touchdown with teammate wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17).(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  1. Terry McLaurin
  2. Jahan Dotson
  3. Curtis Samuel
  4. Dyami Brown
  5. Byron Pringle
  6. Kazmeir Allen

The top four are easy. Pringle just signed with the Commanders and has had some NFL production. He’s also played for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. So has Marcus Kemp. However, Kemp’s role is more on special teams. We give Pringle a nod here. The Commanders could opt for younger depth, bringing Dax Milne back or keeping undrafted rookie Mitchell Tinsley. Allen gets the nod as the final receiver because he’s expected to be the kick and punt returner as a rookie. Milne doesn’t make it in our initial projections.

Tight end: 3

Logan Thomas #82 of the Washington Commanders runs with the ball. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
  1. Logan Thomas
  2. John Bates
  3. Cole Turner

Washington has kept four tight ends in recent years and could this season. If so, Curtis Hodges, who the Commanders like, is the guy. But our initial projection has Washington going with three tight ends. Thomas starts, Bates plays a lot, and Turner is the one to watch. Don’t be surprised if Washington keeps four, though.

Offensive line: 10

Washington Commanders guard Trai Turner (53), center Tyler Larsen (69), guard Andrew Norwell (68), and offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. (72). Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • T Charles Leno Jr.
  • T/G Andrew Wylie
  • T/G Sam Cosmi
  • C Nick Gates
  • T/G Saahdiq Charles
  • T Cornelius Lucas
  • G Chris Paul
  • T Braeden Daniels
  • C Ricky Stromberg
  • C Tyler Larsen

This is likely considered the weakest position on the team. The Commanders added two starters and two rookies, so they should be improved. While 10 seems like a high number, if you consider the injuries that have ravaged the center position in the last two years, keeping three centers does make sense.

Gates are Stromberg are locks, and Larsen is a dependable veteran with starting experience. Washington may choose to keep just nine and go with an extra back or tight end, but much of that depends on if there is a third quarterback. If you’re adding an extra body, it’s smart to add to the offensive line.

Defensive end: 6

Chase Young #99 of the Washington Commanders. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
  1. Montez Sweat
  2. Chase Young
  3. James Smith-Williams
  4. Efe Obada
  5. Casey Toohill
  6. K.J. Henry

This is a deep position. Six seems like a lot to keep, but the Commanders love each player. Young and Sweat start, but Smith-Williams, Toohill and Obada have plenty of experience and have played well for Washington. Henry is a promising rookie that the Commanders aren’t going to expose to waivers.

Defensive tackle: 4

Washington Commanders defensive tackles Jonathan Allen (93) and Daron Payne (94). Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Jonathan Allen
  2. Daron Payne
  3. Phidarian Mathis
  4. John Ridgeway

This is an outstanding group. Washington has elite starters in Allen and Payne and two promising second-year backups who can give the starters a rest. Veteran Abdullah Anderson does not make the cut.

Linebacker: 5

Jamin Davis #52 of the Washington Commanders celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
  1. Jamin Davis
  2. Cody Barton
  3. Khaleke Hudson
  4. David Mayo
  5. Milo Eifler

The top three are easy. Mayo is a reliable backup who can start in a pinch and is strong on special teams. That’s why he makes the roster. Eifler beats out De’Jon Harris for a spot. The Commanders only keep five because they rarely use more than two linebackers at the same time and employ the Buffalo nickel as a part of the defense.

Cornerback: 5

Washington Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. (13) stands on the field during Commanders rookie minicamp at Commanders Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Kendall Fuller
  2. Emmanuel Forbes Jr.
  3. Benjamin St-Juste
  4. Danny Johnson
  5. Christian Holmes

We could see four players here, considering we have rookie Quan Martin listed as a safety. Martin can play inside or outside cornerback, safety, and could move down to play Buffalo nickel. The Commanders have an excellent top three if they can remain healthy. Johnson had his best NFL season in 2022. Holmes is entering his second year, played well on special teams and showed promise at times last season. Holmes will battle Rachad Wildgoose for a spot.

Safety: 5

Darrick Forrest #22 and Kamren Curl #31 of the Washington Commanders react after a interception in the second half at NRG Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
  1. Kamren Curl
  2. Darrick Forrest Jr.
  3. Quan Martin
  4. Jeremy Reaves
  5. Percy Butler

Another deep position. Curl and Forrest will start. All five players will see the field. Reaves is a star on special teams but a fine safety when he plays. Forrest had a breakout season in 2022, while Curl should get paid soon. Butler is a breakout player to watch, much like Forrest in 2022. Martin will play everywhere.

Specialists: 3

Washington Commanders place kicker Joey Slye (6) makes a field goal against the Houston Texans in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
  1. K Joey Slye
  2. P Tress Way
  3. LS Camaron Cheeseman

Slye will face a battle for his job this summer. The Commanders signed veteran Michael Badgely to compete with Slye. Way is a stud. Cheeseman has proven to be a reliable and capable long snapper.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.