Aug 1, 2015; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins linebacker Preston Smith (94) and outside linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat (53) participate in drills during afternoon practice as part of day three of training camp at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Preston Smith was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Redskins. Reports were that he was having a tough time early on in training camp while dueling with first round pick, Brandon Scherff while having a hard time grasping the defense. However it does seem like Smith didn’t appear to have any performance problems in his first two preseason game. He earned a 1.16 rating versus the Browns and a 1.00 rating versus the Lions, almost mirroring Murphy’s numbers.
Smith had an impressive sack against the Browns when he pursued the quarterback across the field before bringing him down from behind. He has also been a force versus the run while starting both preseason games. Smith spent most of his time at left outside linebacker with Murphy opposite him on the right side.
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Smith played NT in rush packages often in college and the Redskins may use him in similar ways. He could line up at DT as Kerrigan often has and also as an inside linebacker when the Redskins want to blitz heavily and where his 6’5″ frame will be an imposing figure for opposing quarterbacks.
Smith has the talent to eventually be a starter in the NFL but with both Murphy and Galette on the depth chart, he will probably have to wait until 2016 to get a real shot at it. For now, he will back up Kerrigan and give the Redskins quality minutes when he is called upon.
Jackson Jeffcoat got a chance to start the final game of the 2014 season while Murphy was out with an injury. He also played most of the game in week sixteen since Murphy left the game early in the second quarter. Jeffcoat played well in both of those games.
Jeffcoat earned a 1.09 rating in the first preseason game versus the Browns including a sack in the second quarter. He followed that up in week two with a 1.00 rating against the Lions. Jeffcoat is competing hard for a roster spot and may make the team if Galette or someone else misses any time early in the season. Another option for Jeffcoat is the practice squad, since he’s still eligible.
Houston Bates was signed as an UDFA after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Redskins. He has gone on to impress the Redskins coaches and fans tremendously since. Bates has a knack for rushing the quarterback and has been great on special teams also.
Bates had two sacks on back-to-back plays versus the Browns in the fourth quarter and earned a 1.30 rating. He followed that up with another fourth quarter sack versus the Lions and a 1.18 rating.
Bates plays well versus the run also and has been the first reserve off the bench in both games. He is my dark horse candidate to make the roster as a fifth outside linebacker. General manager, Scot McCloughan, may not be able to sneak Bates through waivers and onto the practice squad after his impressive start to the preseason.
Dyshawn Davis has seen limited time so far in the preseason with 9 snaps in week one and seven in week two. He earned a 0.78 rating versus the Browns and a 0.71 rating versus the Lions. Davis is smallish for a 3-4 outside linebacker at 6’2″ and 227 pounds. He won’t make the roster.
Sage Harold was added to the roster when Trevardo Williams was waived and then placed on injured reserve. Harold came to the Redskins too late to get much practice time so he has not played in the preseason yet. Getting a look from an NFL team could be helpful to him in the future though.