Predicting the Commanders’ 53-man roster before training camp
By Jerry Trotta
On Tuesday, the Washington Commanders officially reported to team headquarters for training camp. In just 24 hours from now, Ron Rivera’s group will hit the field for the first practice of camp, which will last until Aug. 18. Sprinkled in along the way will be the team’s first preseason game against the Panthers on Aug. 13.
The start of training camp officially begins the countdown to roster cuts. Right now, Washington is carrying 90 players on its offseason roster. On Aug. 16, the club will part ways with five players before cutting bait with another five on Aug. 23. Final rosters are due by Aug. 30, when the number drops from 80 to 53.
Training camp is no stranger to delivering surprises, so a couple forgotten players could make the 53-man roster when all is said and done.
With camp finally here, we we thought it’d be a good idea to run through a quick prediction of the Commanders’ final roster.
Predicting the Commanders’ 53-man roster
Quarterback (3): Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Sam Howell
This is about as straightforward as it gets. Wentz is the starter and Heinicke is the emergency backup after he led the Commanders to seven wins in 2021. Don’t rule out undrafted free agent Cole Kelley giving fifth-round pick Sam Howell a run for his money for the third-string job, but the UNC product wins out here.
Running back (3): Antonio Gibson, JD McKissic, Brian Robinson
It’d be a surprise if Washington kept four running backs, as they’ve typically rostered three under Rivera. Until further notice, this is Gibson’s backfield, but expect Robinson to vulture carries in short-yardage and goal-line situations. This prediction means fan favorite Jaret Patterson didn’t make the cut, but he’ll likely stick around on the practice squad for insurance purposes if someone suffers an injury.
Tight End (3): Logan Thomas, John Bates, Cole Turner
Watch this space, folks. If Thomas, recovering from late-season ACL surgery, begins the season on injured reserve, that’ll open up a spot for one of Antonio Gandy-Golden, Curtis Hodges or Sammis Reyes to make the team.
Wide Receiver (7): Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, Cam Sims, Dyami Brown, Alex Erickson, Marken Michel
The first five receiver spots are locked in, so hopefully we see Sims and Brown in bigger roles this season. One of Milne or Erickson could find themselves on the chopping block depending on who emerges as the lead return man. In our first bold prediction, spring standout Marken Michel gets the nod over Milne.