July 27, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins guard Will Montgomery (63) and center Grant Garner (61) participate in drills during Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Final 53: Last four in, first four out


The journey to 53 is now officially underway. The Redskins will have a lot of tough decisions to make as a team. Will Mike Shanahan keep as many receivers as last year? Will the roster be able to support Chris Cooley, Fred Davis and Niles Paul at tight end? Will the team decide to go with two or three quarterbacks this year? We won’t truly know until the days after that final preseason contest. For now though, we shall speculate. Here are the last four Redskins to make the cut, the last four to miss the cut, and why:

Last four in

1. Anthony Armstrong  – WR

Anthony Armstrong is likely one of the fastest players on the Redskins, but the question is whether or not his speed will be enough to make up for a lack of production from last season. The Redskins also just acquired reveiver Dezmond Briscoe, making the competition at receiver even tougher. Right now, I think Armstrong makes the team.

2. Grant Garner – C

At 6’3″ and 292 pounds, Garner is the only true center on the Redskins roster right now. From what I’ve seen thus far he’s done a good job. Things are just heating up, but I like this kid to make the roster given he shows improvement over the duration of camp. He needs to add a little bit of size at only 292.

3. DeJon Gomes – S

The Redskins have certainly added to their roster by subtracting the oft-injured LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe. Now the free and strong safety positions will be essentially up for grabs. Given his performance last year and the ability for new defensive back’s coach Raheem Morris to motivate, I think Gomes makes the squad even though I doubt he’ll start.

4. Kevin Barnes – CB

One thing you can’t say about Kevin Barnes is that he doesn’t play with heart. Barnes isn’t the fastest or the most skilled defensive back on the Redskins roster, but somehow he always manages to stick around. Drafting Richard Crawford and signing Cedric Griffin probably doesn’t make Kevin’s journey to the 53-man roster any easier. I still think he makes the squad.

First four out

1. Brandon Banks - WR 

July 26, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Brandon Banks (16) catches the ball during the first day of Redskins 2012 training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Brandon Banks still does not look natural at the receiver position. I believe his luck runs out this preseason. Is Banks one of the fastest players in the NFL? Yes. Does his speed guarantee anything? No. When he’s dinged up, he’s ineffective and his numbers last year were mediocre at best. If and when somebody not wearing sixteen makes a play within the return game, that should be enough for Mike Shanahan to consider the novelty of Banks as obsolete. Look for one of the other NFC East teams to give Banks an immediate look, should he be released.

2. Neil Rackers – K

July 26, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins kicker Neil Rackers (1) signs autographs while walking off the field after the first day of Redskins 2012 training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Welp, somebody has to lose the kicker battle. Graham Gano has been fighting for his roster spot for what seems like forever and although I like Neil Rackers, I think Gano will do just enough to keep his job.

3. Reed Doughty – S

Dec. 18, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) goes up for a touchdown pass as Washington Redskins free safety Reed Doughty (37) tackles during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Redskins defeat the Giants 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

I believe Reed Doughty’s speed rating in Madden 13 is projected to be a few points lower than Peyton Manning’s. Manning might even be able to anticipate and break on the ball better. It always seems like Doughty is there right after the ball. I think that his luck has finally run out and when it comes to deciding between fresh blood and well, him, the Redskins will go with the former.

4. Terrence Austin – WR

July 27, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrence Austin (18) runs with the ball during Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

This one was tough. I like Austin, but he has to bring something to the table via special teams to make this roster. He’s quick, but the Redskins have fourteen (14) receivers on the roster. That number will likely be cut (at least) in half. Austin will be that seventh or eight guy, along with the aforementioned Brandon Banks, to not make the team. Again, it’s early. All it takes is one big play to change everything.

Riggo’s Rag will be following the road to the final 53 all camp long. Follow us on twitter @RiggosRag and @KMawyer2.

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Tags: Anthony Armstrong Brandon Banks Neil Rackers NFL Training Camp Preseason Washington Redskins Washington Redskins Free Agents Wide Receiver