Fish Smithson swimming under the radar on Redskins’ depth chart

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 19: Fish Smithson
LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 19: Fish Smithson /

By the end of 2016, three undrafted free agents had found their way onto the Redskins’ roster. This year, the fate of the UFA class is less certain.

Reports on the Redskins’ undrafted free agents have been seldom in 2017. But the recent release of the Redskins’ first unofficial 2017 depth chart provides some clarity on the matter. Although many undrafted rookies have had their moments, few find themselves as high as third string at their respective positions.

But amid all the competition, one player has very quietly snuck ahead of a 2017 draft pick. Fish Smithson finds himself in the third free safety slot, behind assumed starter D.J. Swearinger and reliable veteran Will Blackmon. Montae Nicholson, this year’s fourth round pick for the Redskins, resides at the fourth and final slot.

Little more than a word has been said of Fish Smithson, but the Kansas product has apparently impressed enough to take hold of the third team reps. In an article highlighting safety gems for the Redskins to pick back in March, I had this to say about the instinctual defensive back:

"More from Riggo's RagHighlighting the best Commanders 2023 NFL Draft betting props3 late Commanders rumors drawing buzz ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft4 bold predictions for the Commanders 2023 NFL DraftCommanders News: Chase Young trade, draft day, CB riser and Sam HowellBet365 VA Bonus Code – Claim $200 Guaranteed With Sign-Up Bonus Smithson was a very active defender in his time with the Jayhawks, and his numbers improved each year he started with the team. In his last two years, he registered over 90 tackles each season. He also recorded 6 interceptions and 9 pass deflections in that time. He has very good instincts and ball skills on the field. Josh Norman, a current Redskin, is famous for these traits. Not only that, but Smithson was also named a team captain in his senior season, and he has a track record as a leader. He’s a player who will only help the chemistry of a locker room, a quality that is under-appreciated in today’s NFL."

Smithson has the tools to succeed at the professional level. And his competition isn’t unbeatable. Montae Nicholson was far from a lock to make the roster the moment he was drafted. This new depth chart only reinforces that realization. Both players face an uphill battle to latch on as reserve safeties. But Fish Smithson appears to be riding a swift current.

Although one of the most notable, Smithson isn’t the only undrafted free agent to receive a recent endorsement from onlookers. Former Michigan offensive lineman Kyle Kalis has also exceeded expectations. Per John Keim’s Twitter account, Kalis has consistently taken second team reps at left guard.

Keep an eye on all the young guys as preseason looms closer. But while you watch, be sure to remain attentive to Fish Smithson as he strives to make the roster. The stars are aligning for this rookie to become the next undrafted gem for the Redskins. Time will tell if he lives up to his promise.

Next: Preseason Preview: Week One - Ravens vs. Redskins

The Redskins first preseason game will take place Thursday night, against their cross-state rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Be sure to read our preseason preview, and stay tuned to Riggo’s Rag content for any and all updates.