August 9, 2009

Five Roster Longshots Who Have A Shot

Every year in training camp there will always be those unknown players who pop out at the coaching staff due to their strong work ethic and consistent performance.

That has held true at Redskins Park this year as several players have emerged to contend for roster spots.

1. Will Montgomery: He is competing for a utility position along the offensive line and has a great shot at making the roster. Washington needs young, up-and-coming blockers to freshen up the offensive line. Montgomery is just what the doctor ordered.

Coaches have raved about his strong play and his versatility. Montgomery can play center and guard and has held his own against first teamers.

With Jeremy Bridges going down today with a sprained ankle, the odds are even higher that Montgomery sticks around for the long haul.

2. Marques Hagans: Hagans was QB/WR from UVA who was a major longshot coming into camp. However, his kick returning abilities help his case. Add to that the fact Hagans has grabbed nearly everything thrown his way, and he is making a serious run.

Hagans is buried beneath four WRs (Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle El) who are all assured of spots on the roster. Marko Mitchell was taken in the seventh round and has speed. Being a draftee gives him the inside track, but Hagans has impressed.

It will most likely come down to which one will provide the best special teams performance. However, given the injuries that have plagued Moss, Thomas, and Kelly, the ‘Skins may need Hagans down the stretch.

3. Reed Doughty: So Doughty isn’t exactly a longshot as he was in position to backup Chris Horton at SS, but he was coming off a season-ending injury and there have been questions regarding his ability in coverage.

Those question are long gone as Doughty has put together a great camp. He has three picks already and Jim Zorn is liking what he sees. Enough to give him this vote of confidence:

“I see him being a real part of our special teams and I think he’s going to be in a supportive role [on defense], but he’s going to work his way onto the field. I have confidence in him when he’s out there, no question.”

There you have it. Barring an injury, Doughty will make the final roster.

4. Marcus Mason: Mason has been quiet this camp, but his real time to shine is during the preseason. Last year, he was the NFL preseason rushing leader, but still failed to make the team due to his inability to contribute on special teams.

Colt Brennan had nothing but praise for Mason who he played with last preseason. “He’s a natural football player,” he said, “I can’t tell you how many times in the preseason last year it was so nice to have him, because he would make good plays, make good runs. You only get so many chances when you’re young, and you’ve got a running back like that, gaining extra yards, picking up first downs for you, doing the little things.”

This year Mason has developed his kick coverage skills and should also get some reps at RB during the preseason. The main thing working against him is the presence of five other backs on the roster in Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, and Anthony Alridge, and Dominique Dorsey.

5. Edwin Williams: The undrafted center out of Maryland is third on the depth chart behind Casey Rabach and Will Montgomery, but Montgomery could very well be lining up at guard, leaving the number two center spot up for grabs.

Williams is a smart, hard worker who was all-ACC last year with the Terps. ”Over the summer he did a great job of weightlifting and … I’ll tell you what, he’s a smart kid. He comprehends a lot between what’s good and what’s bad. I think in the long range he’s going to be a good football player,” said offensive line coach Joe Bugel.

Williams didn’t miss a game his senior year and helped pave the way for an 1100 yard rusher. With Casey Rabach aging, Williams might be the perfect player to groom for the starting center spot.

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