ASBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — A competition that lasted all through training camp ended with a surprise winner on Saturday when the Redskins cut three running backs, including one they drafted this past spring, and kept undrafted college free agent Silas Redd on the final 53-man roster.
Redd, who played college football at USC and Penn State, had a solid training camp and beat out local product Evan Royster, Chris Thompson and 2014 draft pick Lache Seastrunk. Those three players were cut on Saturday morning.
“It has been a long road to get here,” Redd said after Thursday’s preseason game against Tampa Bay when he gained 79 yards on 14 carries. “A lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. Made it here. Hopefully made good enough of a mark that they want to keep me.”
Royster had been with the team since 2011. He is a Westfield High graduate and the leading rusher in Penn State history. But the coaches didn’t see enough from Royster to keep him for a fourth season.
Seastrunk was this year’s sixth-round pick out of Baylor. He impressed team officials with his speed and they insisted he had the skills to become a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Indeed, on Thursday Seastrunk took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown.
Thompson, a fifth-round pick out of Florida State in 2013, couldn’t overcome his checkered injury history, which included serious back and knee injuries at Florida State and a shoulder injury that cut short his rookie year with Washington. A sprained ankle cost him two preseason games this month and not even four receptions out of the backfield on Thursday could save him.
Thompson and Seastrunk are eligible for the Redskins’ 10-man practice squad if they clear waivers by noon on Sunday. Royster is out of practice squad eligibility.
Redd was impressive throughout training camp. He had 34 carries for 157 yards and another three receptions for 26 yards. That propelled him into the race for the final running back spot.
Starter Alfred Morris and Roy Helu were both locks to make it. In the end, Redd’s style of running best fit head coach Jay Gruden’s offense.
“That’s going to be a really tough decision [at reserve running back],” third-string quarterback Colt McCoy said after the Tampa Bay game. “Glad I’m not making that decision. But I thought Silas – we call him Sweet Feet. The guy just is very good in the zone scheme. He can catch the ball and he made plays.”