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Sleeper Pick to Make Final Roster? Darrel Young

Some players go unnoticed during camp and the preseason and then surprisingly make opening 53-man roster.

I've been analyzing the Redskins' roster and discussing it with people in the organization for several days in advance of unveiling my picks. First, however, it's time to reveal my "sleeper pick" to make the team: linebacker Darrel Young.

An undrafted rookie free agent from Villanova, Young has impressed at times on special teams. Several people I trust mentioned his name to me, saying he has received good internal reviews and is among the leading candidates for the final roster spot.

To be honest, I couldn't come up with 53 guys when I started to review the roster and assess who had helped their chances in the preseason. I turned to my guy, Barry Svrluga, to check my work and challenge my thinking, and he was stuck on 52 as well (it's always comforting to have a Duke grad on the beat).

Well, anyway, that got me thinking about the last spot. It wouldn't be unheard of for the Redskins to keep two place kickers to start the season, but I don't think they're going to go that route.

Along those lines, I don't think they'll carry six wideouts (sorry, D.J. Hackett). And despite age and injury concerns along the offensive and defensive lines, I figure only nine offensive and eight defensive linemen will be included in the final group.

After major breakdowns on special teams last season, the Redskins have overhauled that key area of the team. Veteran punter Hunter Smith was brought in to shore up that role, and newcomer Dave Rayner still is competing with holdover Shaun Suisham for place kicking duties.

The Redskins signed linebacker Robert Thomas in free agency and drafted linebackers Cody Glenn and Robert Henson with a major special-teams makeover in mind. I expect Thomas and Glenn to make the team, and Young could join them on the front line for special teams coach Danny Smith.

"I like him. I really do," Smith said. "The kid has done a good job. The kid has grown every practice and the kid has good speed. He's improving his awareness out there and things like that.

"He's done a good job. We're going to give him reps in this game and see what happens. He's in the mix. He really is."

Now, I'm not trying to present this as another Marko Mitchell situation. Mitchell is on the 53-man roster, and was even before his most recent eye-opening performance in last week's game against the New England Patriots.

Despite his versatility on teams and Smith's positive assessment of his performance, Young could get squeezed off the roster. Barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances, however, I'm just now sure how that would occur.

By Jason Reid  |  September 1, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: At Redskins Park, Goodell Addresses Labor Issues



Posted by: ATLredskin | September 1, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Let me be the first to say I think your right.

Posted by: tomb4 | September 1, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Let me be the first to say I think your right.

Posted by: tomb4 | September 1, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

After 12 minutes, still 1st?

Posted by: AFanof47 | September 1, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

this is all you have to know about Darrel Young...

"Was an All-County track runner and named Team MVP in basketball and track)"

he should be one of the first guys downfield for the tackle...

Posted by: ATLredskin | September 1, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Who is Darrel Young again?

Posted by: abxinc | September 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

A case wherein either a dash or a colon may be used:

I like big butts-I cannot lie.

Posted by: bostskin | September 1, 2009 11:51 AM |

Posted by: bostskin | September 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Redskins 53-man projection By Ryan O'Halloran
Sept. 1, 2009
Redskins 360
Greetings from Redskin Park, where Your Team takes the field at 11 a.m. for a 75-minute practice. They finish the preseason Thursday night in Jacksonville.

The roster is currently at 75. Here's another guess at how the 53-man roster will look.

Using last year's Week 17 roster as a gauge, I used 25 offensive players, 25 defensive players and three specialists.


Quarterbacks (3)

Jason Campbell, Todd Collins and Colt Brennan. I give Brennan the slight edge over rookie Chase Daniel because he's more familiar with the system.

Running backs (5)

Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Anthony Alridge and Mike Sellers. The surprise addition is Alridge. Even though he missed the first two preseason games, I stuck him on the roster after a coach told me, "He's Vinny's guy," referring to Cerrato claiming Alridge off waivers this off season.

Tight ends (3)

Chris Cooley, Todd Yoder and Fred Davis. The easiest position to project.

Receivers (5)

Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly and Marko Mitchell. I had Marques Hagans on the roster at the start of camp but he did nothing and was cut this week.

Offensive line (9)

Casey Rabach, Chris Samuels, Derrick Dockery, Randy Thomas, Stephon Heyer, Will Montgomery, Chad Rinehart, Mike Williams and Jeremy Bridges. The final roster last year had 10 OL.


Defensive line (9)

Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin, Andre Carter, Phillip Daniels, Anthony Montgomery, Kedric Golston, Jeremy Jarmon, Lorenzo Alexander and Renaldo Wynn. The odd guys out are Alex Buzbee and Rob Jackson.

Linebackers (7)

London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, Brian Orakpo, H.B. Blades, Robert Thomas, Chris Wilson and Cody Glenn.

Defensive backs (9)

Carlos Rogers, DeAngelo Hall, Fred Smoot, Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes, LaRon Landry, Chris Horton, Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore. Moore's hamstring injury could impact whether an extra safety is kept for the first few weeks.

Specialists (3)

Hunter Smith, Ethan Albright and Shaun Suisham. The kicker battle rages on and I think if it's a tie, Suisham gets the nod over Dave Rayner.

-- Ryan O'Halloran

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we've found Antonio Pierce 2.0!

That's for you, Greg and T_E.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 1, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Extra LB or extra secondary. Reed Doughty and Lendy Holmes makes the roster.

RockyMac = Malcolm Kelly ... we're solid as long as the bubble gum and duct tape hold up.

Next year, the Skins should do at the kicker position what they did at the punter position. Go for existing, tried, old, middling, and reliable.

That said, Suisham's FG kicking will improve compared to last season b/c his holder knows how to deal with pressure (i.e., is not Durant Brooks or Ryan Plackemeier).

Posted by: dcsween | September 1, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@ Sween

...or Tony Romo.

Posted by: jcabana | September 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Optimist and pessimist. I see the glass as half full. Brownwood sees it as completely empty.

Posted by: talent_evaluator

When I see the glass half full, I summon the bartender.

Posted by: TheCork | September 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

O'Hallaran basically just gave away one of JLa's sources....Like we didn't already know.....Byner....

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Re: Carlos Rogers
This is all a contract year ploy. He does not want to play in meaningless preseason games and injury himself for his contract year play. Read his qoutes. HE says there's nothing wrong. Just being cautious.

Posted by: 4thFloor |

Unless you spotted Rogers injecting his calf with fake blood, that’s a silly statement, While you’re at it, any thoughts on the guy on the Grassy Knoll?

Posted by: TheCork | September 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

That was not really news I don't think. But I think we found who his sources are as well. Didn't he do that right after Wise called out Stump being his source.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 1, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It happens all the time in the NFL Cork.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 1, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Whomever posted strength/weakness for DAL, here's my take

Strengths: offensive line, both pass and run blocking. QB unless it's after Thanksgiving. TE.

Weaknesses: Defense. Ware aside, this is a collection of misfits, including the highly over-rated "Newman".

Running backs -- Barber is over-rated and a product of the amazing job the line does. They're moving people back 3-4 yards. I think that Jones is going to end up the featured back by mid-season. He can break big runs, and if they need to grind it out, just get behind Adams and pick up your 4 yards.

Defensive line is now average with Johnson and Canty gone. LB are average after Ware. Secondary... ugh.

Excellent choice to finish last in the division.

Posted by: dpc2003 | September 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Hope to see Henson make the 53 -- mostly because he was my longshot call to start a game. Plus, I think he is among fastest LBs we have, slightly faster than Orakpo (4.6 40's)

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 1, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff, dpc. Hopefully Ware walks away after the season too.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

O'Hallaran basically just gave away one of JLa's sources....
Posted by: 4thFloor
Is O'Hallaran hated over there as much as JLa was/is? Hard to imagine that being possible....

Posted by: smurff1 | September 1, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If Colt Brennan has so much experience in the system why does he keep throwing bad intercrptions at the worst possible times?

I look at the combo of his experience and atrocious production this preseason as more of a negative than a positive vs Daniel. I guess we'll see Thursday.

Posted by: AdamCr | September 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I think they have to keep 9 DL or else a big name will be cut.

Who do you think they will keep?

By my count I've got 5 DTs and 4 DEs that would seem like locks to me

Haynesworth, Griffin, Monty, Golston, Alexander at DT

Carter, Wynn, Daniels, Jarmon at DE

Posted by: HokiePaul | September 1, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Excited about the upcoming season. The only worry I've got right now is the RB position. CP has not done much preseason and the off-tackle runs against NE looked bad. Mason was hitting those, I hope it's just the preseason and that CP will pick it up once the season starts. No confidence in "Bettis", unfortunately. He doesn't seem to have that killer instinct that good RB have.

Fingers crossed that the running game will break out of the slump it was in at the end of the year. When I look at the backs -- CP, "Bettis", Cartwright, Sellers, there is not a "take-it-to-the-house" guy. CP used to be, but not anymore. Whoever they keep, it's got to be a burner. In fact, Rock may be cut if the Skins think Thomas and somebody else can handle kickoffs.

Unless you all think Rock is capable of breaking it big?



The only bad news about them finishing DFL in the league is that they'll get to draft Taylor Mays:
The hard-hitting Mays has drawn comparisons to Sean Taylor, and even writes Taylor's No. 21 on his arm before games. Mays is 6 feet 3 and 230 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds and has a 41-inch vertical leap. He's started since his freshman season and has made 180 tackles and four interceptions in his career.

Posted by: dpc2003 | September 1, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Dallas is too stupid to draft Taylor Mays

Posted by: brian58 | September 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hunter Smith has performed well in preseason, hang time and distance have been very good especially against NE i thought he's done a better than average job considering the stiff's we've had the last two years and oh yeah Danny be aware of the Jint's trying to block a punt keep that little tid bit in the back of your mind.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Are there any O linemen that are in danger of being cut from other teams that we may be available for us to pick up?

Posted by: MPNangle | September 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Kiper has Eric Berry from Tennesee going second in his mock draft. He's got Mays going like seventh or eighth so I dont know which one would be better to draft

Posted by: Skins281 | September 1, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I have never even heard of this guy.

Posted by: McMetal | September 1, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Mel Kiper -- is that the consensus NFL opinion, or is it Mel's "rating"?

CBS has Mays going at 2. SI has him going at 2. I like Mays over Berry because Mays is bigger, heavier, stronger, and about as fast. I think Berry plays corner in the NFL, not safety.

While I agree Jerry Jones, the botox-ed, lizard-lipped product of relations between his mother and his grandfather, is too dumb to draft Mays, I think he'll have no real choice, since Dallas' defense is probably going to be atrocious this year.

We can only hope that JJ -- in his never ending quest to demonstrate his football "genius" -- will reach deep into some Arkansas backwater college to draft "the next Ronnie Lott", ignoring the fact that USC already has him.

*** back to Skins ***

Rock had a great run two years ago, is he capable of doing that now?

Whoever the Redskins keep as the 5th RB, I hope he's fast and a game-changer. Aldridge might fit the bill.

Posted by: dpc2003 | September 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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