The Redskins released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of Thursday's first preseason game. One hyped newcomer will start, while another hasn't cracked the second string as of yet. As expected, free-agent acquisition WR Terrelle Pryor is listed as a starter along with incumbents Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson.
At running back, Rob Kelley is the starter with 3rd-down back Chris Thompson on the second team. Fourth-round pick Samaje Perine will enter the preseason third string, with work to do if he is to earn playing time at the start of 2017. This gels with camp reports that Perine has had ball security and pass protection issues. Former starter Matt Jones is buried on the depth chart with the fourth string.
The coaching staff has continuously noted this offseason that while there’s a depth chart, position battles will be contested up until the cutdown from 90 players to 53.
Pryor finished the season as the #21 receiver, though his numbers dipped over the final month of the season. Still, his output in the first 12 games -- 5.2 catches for 71 yards and 0.33 TD, #11 WR -- is very encouraging. He’ll certainly benefit from an upgrade at quarterback in Washington. The quality of his targets may offset the reduction in workload.
Kelley won the RB1 job in Week 8, and from that point on, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch. He averaged 4.19 YPC, which was the 14th-highest per carry average of the 27 running backs who saw at least 150 carries last year. Rookie Samaje Perine will make a hard push for the job, but it's clear that Kelley is taking his job seriously by getting leaner in the offseason. He currently sits atop the Washington depth chart, so he’s one of the cheapest starters available in early drafts. OC Mat Cavanaugh said that Kelly is “obviously” the starter, but things can change. Chris Thompson is the best receiver in this backfield, so neither Perine or Kelley are likely to see many receptions regardless. Keep in mind that once Kelley won the job in Week 8, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch.