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Washington Commanders 53-Man Roster Projection: 7 Rookies Make Team – Sports Illustrated

Washington Commanders training camp is right around the corner and before you know it everyone will be sick of practice notes and preseason games, pining over the Week 1 opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars hoping we won't be turning to mock drafts before Halloween. 
Fans won't be the only ones eyeing the regular season, as the players on the roster will be as well. 
But who will those players be? Well, you're in luck, because I'm going to tell you exactly who will make the 2022 Washington Commanders roster, right now.
Quarterbacks (3): Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Sam Howell (R)
Always nice to start with an easy one, and the only question here will be whether or not Sam Howell shows enough in the preseason to remind everyone why he was once considered a Day 1 NFL Draft lock.
Running Backs (4): Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Brian Robinson (R), Jaret Patterson
Gibson and McKissic are the established guys here and Patterson showed some solid flashes in his rookie season after being an undrafted free agent. As the newcomer, Brian Robinson is looking to make good on the offseason hype with a strong training camp as he aims to grab significant regular-season touches. 
Tight Ends (4): Logan Thomas, John Bates, Cole Turner (R), Antonio Gandy-Golden
This is an interesting group, but the real intrigue is at that fourth position. Thomas is the established starter when healthy, Bates was arguably the best rookie from the 2021 class, and Turner has flashed at multiple points this offseason after being a fifth-round draft pick this April. That leaves the fourth spot, with the advantage going to converted receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden while Armani Rogers and Curtis Hodges represent two undrafted talents looking to make the decision harder than it already is. 
Offensive Line (9): Charles Leno Jr., Andrew Norwell, Chase Roullier, Trai Turner, Sam Cosmi, Cornelius Lucas, Wes Schweitzer, Saahdiq Charles, Tyler Larsen
It might surprise some to know the Washington offensive line isn't as barren a wasteland as some might expect given that poor quarterback play is often linked to bad protection up front. Even with the departure of Brandon Scherff and Ereck Flowers, once this current group gets Roullier back from injury it'll be as solid as Carson Wentz needs to be successful.
Wide Receivers (7): Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson (R), Dyami Brown, Dax Milne, Cam Sims, Marken Michel
The surprise here is going to be Michel (brother of Miami Dolphins running back Sony), and I'll admit this is early workout hype carrying over for the moment. Michel has looked explosive and has made some impressive catches in early practices, ironically enough connecting on deep passes with quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The question really is who becomes the team's return specialists, with Dotson expected to get into that mix as well.
Follow along with SI Washington Football as we keep you up to date with all firings, hirings, and breaking news in the NFL.
Training camp is just around the corner.
The new Washington quarterback is with his third team in three years.
Safety (5): Kamren Curl, Bobby McCain, Darrick Forrest, Percy Butler (R), Jeremy Reaves
Reaves had arguably the worst play of the OTA period when he collided with receiver Dyami Brown during a non-contact team session, earning the Commanders some strong words from coach Ron Rivera and some additional discipline from the NFL. Despite that, he's been doing much more good and has earned the praise from his coaches. Forrest looks like the front-runner to be the team's Buffalo nickel this season, and the rookie Butler has everyone excited to see what he can develop into in year one.
Cornerback (5): Kendall Fuller, William Jackson III, Benjamin St-Juste, Danny Johnson, Christian Holmes (R)
Washington's coaching staff has praised the efforts and development as second-year cornerback St-Juste as he transitions into playing more inside than out. Meanwhile, Holmes hasn't flashed as much as Butler has at safety, but has looked comfortable as a part of defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's secondary up to this point.
Linebackers (4): Cole Holcomb, Jamin Davis, David Mayo, Khaleke Hudson
The way I'm looking at this, there are two starting linebackers (Holcomb and Davis) and two backups. Although, if Davis struggles early in his second year, Mayo could be the next man up and would signal an even bigger call to action for the Commanders to address the group widely viewed as its weakest at the moment. 
Defensive line (9): Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Daron Payne, Phidarian Mathis (R), Casey Toohill, James Smith-Williams, Daniel Wise, Shaka Toney
A top-heavy unit that may have underwhelmed last season but still remains hard to crack for less proven linemen. Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams performed well replacing Chase Young and Montez Sweat when needed, and Daniel Wise provides a fourth interior lineman to support Allen, Payne and Mathis. Meanwhile, the final spot is a toss-up between Toney and Efe Obada. 
Kicker (1): Joey Slye
Punter (1): Tress Way
Long Snapper (1): Camaron Cheeseman
Not a whole lot of doubts here. The only competition for Slye has already been released, and unless he gives Washington a reason, they won't be bringing any real challengers in for training camp. 
So there's our pre-training camp 53-man roster projection. Of course, guys like Chase Young could start the season on injured reserve (IR) or physically unable to perform (PuP) lists, which would change the initial version of this roster come opening day. 
And stay tuned, because training camp is going to help settle some battles, and we'll surely put out another projection as cuts come closer for your Washington Commanders!
David Harrison has covered the NFL since the 2015 season as a digital content creator in written and podcast media and is the co-host of the Locked On Washington Football Team Podcast. He is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and previously served for 20 years in the United States Army. Find David on Twitter @DHarrison82


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