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NFL Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins: 5 Dark Horse Candidates For the 53-Man Roster

Washington Redskins: 5 Dark Horse Candidates to Make 53-Man Roster

Aldrick Robinson Washington Redskins
Dustin Bradford-Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have plenty of notable names that are locked into starting jobs and roster spots right now, barring significant injuries between now and the end of training camp of course.

With the first preseason game coming Thursday night against the New England Patriots, here are five dark horses to make Washington's 53-man roster.

5. LB Will Compton

Will Compton, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

5. LB Will Compton

Will Compton, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Compton spent most of last season on the practice squad after being signed as an undrafted free agent, seeing action in just one game. He is in the mix for a backup linebacker spot, and his greatest impact is likely to be on special teams.

4. K Zach Hocker

Zach Hocker Washington Redskins
Jeff Blake USA TODAY Sports

4. K Zach Hocker

Zach Hocker Washington Redskins
Jeff Blake USA TODAY Sports

Hocker will have to beat out Kai Forbath to be Washington's kicker, but it can't be considered out of the question since he was the only kicker drafted this year.

3. RB Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3. RB Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson played in four games as rookie last year, seeing action only as a kickoff and punt returner before being put on IR with a shoulder injury in November. Alfred Morris is clearly Washington's No.1 running back, but as the battle for roles goes on through the preseason Thompson could make it impossible to cut him.

2. CB Chase Minnifield

Chase Minnifield Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2. CB Chase Minnifield

Chase Minnifield Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Minnifield spent most of 2013 on the Redskins' practice squad, and he was lauded as a standout early in training camp. Now healthy after two major knee injuries early in his career, Minnifield can make a case for a roster spot with good work in preseason games.

1. WR Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. WR Ryan Grant

Ryan Grant, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Grant had a productive final two seasons at Tulane (153 receptions for 2,188 yards and 15 touchdowns) and he has drawn praise for his route-running thus far in camp. Grant should see a lot of action during the preseason, as he attempts to lock down a roster spot and perhaps climb the depth chart.