Washington Football Team Roster Projection: Updates for Derrius Guice, Reuben Foster
Running Back (5)
Adrian Peterson, Antonio Gibson, Bryce Love, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber
The release of Derrius Guice completely changes the outlook of the running back room. Guice was expected to be the primary starter and there were questions about how they would whittle down a solid six-man running back room to four or five before the season.
But with Guice gone, there are only five running backs on the roster. And given what the team has, it makes sense to keep them all.
For the time being, Peterson still figures to be the starter in Washington. He’s 35, but he has a proven track record of success and performed well en route to 211 carries, 898 yards, and five rushing touchdowns last year. To start the season, he should be the starter.
Beyond Peterson, Washington will focus on developing recent draft picks Gibson and Love to get them involved in the running back room. Gibson figures to be more of a receiving threat off the bat considering that he played receiver in college and only shouldered 33 total carries at Memphis. He could take over the Chris Thompson role and may also help out at receiver given the team’s lack of depth there. That said, he’s still primarily a running back for the time being.
Meanwhile, Love was once considered a potential first-round pick before a sub-par senior season and torn ACL tanked his draft stock. The 2019 fourth-round pick is healthy and if he can return to his 2017 form — he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting with 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground — he could eventually replace Peterson as the starter.
Washington has plenty of upside with Gibson and Love. But they also have other bridge options to pair with Peterson if either isn’t ready for a big workload. McKissic can serve as a top receiving back while Barber is a fine early-downs back and short-yardage hammer. They should stick around as insurance for Peterson and the rookies should any struggle or get hurt.
Because of the depth added during the offseason, Washington is well-equipped to survive without Guice. They may be a true committee early in the season as they figure things out, but hopefully, one of the young guys can step up and prove to be the future of the running back corps moving forward.