Redskins' 53-man roster projection features rebuilt defense

The Washington Redskins open training camp July 27 at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia. Here's a 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (3): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

The roles are clearly defined, with Cousins starting, McCoy the trusted backup and Sudfeld the developmental choice. Cousins will be playing under the franchise tag and might be elsewhere in 2018, so Sudfeld's growth will be worth watching. But as of now, McCoy is the clear replacement.

RUNNING BACKS (4): Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson, Mack Brown

Last season, Matt Jones was the starter. But, barring multiple injuries, he's a long shot to make the roster. His inability, or lack of desire, to play special teams doesn't help, and his fumbles and inconsistent running style leave him behind Kelley & Co. Thompson has improved each season as a third-down back. The big question is how much the second-year Kelley has improved after starting the final nine games -- and if Perine can challenge him immediately.

TIGHT ENDS (4): Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

The odd man out, for now, would be rookie fifth-round pick Jeremy Sprinkle. But keeping him means releasing a veteran who can help. Reed and Davis aren't going anywhere, regardless. If Sprinkle shows he can play, Carrier would be in trouble, as Paul's versatility -- he helps on special teams, doubles as a fullback and is considered a leader -- rates an edge.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Chase Roullier, Arie Kouandjio

Not much turnover here, but Kouandjio must continue to develop and push Lauvao for the starting job; Roullier, a rookie, could always be placed on the practice squad if they want a more experienced backup. The Redskins opened with eight offensive linemen last season. Their line depth should be good.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis

That means veteran Brian Quick would be cut. He didn't show anything this spring to suggest he'd win a spot. Kendal Thompson is another to watch and could bump Davis; Thompson transitioned from college quarterback to slot receiver last summer, and after spending last season on the practice squad, he'll be on someone's roster someday. Undrafted free agents Zach Pascal and James Quick had their moments in the spring.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis and Phil Taylor could win a job in camp at nose tackle. Taylor will be one to watch this summer, to see what he has left. He hasn't played since 2014 because of injuries, but he did look in good shape this spring. Mbu worked ahead of him in the spring, but camp will tell all. McGee, Ioannidis and McClain can play nose, as well.

LINEBACKERS (9): Ryan Kerrigan, Will Compton, Mason Foster, Zach Brown, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Chris Carter, Martrell Spaight, Junior Galette

Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games, so when he returns, someone will have to go. Carter was signed for his play on special teams, and Spaight consistently battles injuries, though the latter will be one to watch this summer. Another factor will be Galette's health and productivity.

CORNERBACKS (5): Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Josh Holsey

There's an asterisk here: Fabian Moreau will be on the roster when fully recovered from a torn pectoral muscle. But that might not happen until mid-August at the earliest. Because of that, there's a chance he'll open on the physically unable to perform list. Moreau has the talent to start. If Moreau is healthy to open the season, then Holsey would be on the practice squad.

SAFETY (5): Su'a Cravens, D.J. Swearinger, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, DeAngelo Hall

Montae Nicholson, a fourth-round pick, is in a similar position to Moreau. Nicholson had surgery to repair a torn labrum in early March but isn't expected to return until about mid-August. So, again, the PUP list is possible. Eventually, though, he'll be on the roster. At that point, it'll be interesting to see who gets released. Will they keep two experienced veteran backups if Cravens proves he's a solid starter? Hall owns a cap hit of $3.1 million, but he'd still count $812,500 upon his release, and Blackmon would count $75,000. This list also assumes Hall has fully recovered from last season's Week 3 torn ACL. Coaches love his leadership and have said they feel he can still play.

SPECIALISTS (3): Nick Sundberg, Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way

Same as last season and, as of now, there is no competition for any of them. Hopkins was inconsistent last season (81 percent success rate) after a strong 2015 (89.3), but he's young, has a strong leg and warrants a long leash. Way has averaged 46.4 yards per punt in three seasons with Washington. Sundberg is entering his eighth season with Washington.