Breaking down the Redskins’ wide receiver depth chart for 2019
By Ian Cummings
Redskins Rotational Players: WRs Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon
The rookies are clearly a tier above the rest of the pack, but their starting spots are not guaranteed. For now, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon are the Redskins rotational players at wide receiver. But between injuries and uncertain potential, that could change. And even if it doesn’t, the Redskins should find ways to factor these two into the offensive game plan often.
Both of these rookies have exciting upside, given that the Redskins can use them the right way. In the words of Draft Network analyst Brad Kelly, McLaurin is “a technician who doubles as an elite athlete”. He possesses an enriched attention to detail as a route runner, but also has the athletic traits to hone his mental traits and be a dangerous threat, both in the flats, and down the field.
Those traits were quantified by McLaurin’s combine performance, where, at 6-foot-0, 208 pounds, he logged a 4.35 40-yard dash, a 125-inch broad jump, and a 37.5-inch vertical. Combine numbers, of course, mean very little if a player doesn’t know how to use his abilities. McLaurin does, however, and with his already-existing chemistry with rookie signal caller Dwayne Haskins, McLaurin has the potential to quickly exceed his draft slot in the Redskins offense.
Kelvin Harmon, meanwhile, should have an even easier time outplaying his draft stock. The NC State product was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round, but some draft analysts had him graded as high as Round 2. He ultimately fell because his timed long speed was less than ideal, but receivers have won on the boundary without speed before. As I wrote in a piece earlier in the offseason, Harmon has many of the requisite traits to thrive on the outside without elite athletic ability.
"There are no lazy snaps with Harmon, and while his timed speed might leave something to be desired, his play speed is very fast. Harmon uses a combination of quick feet and fluid torso movement to get open, and he knows how to manipulate leverage in tight spaces, to not only cultivate separation, but to put himself in the best position to snare the ball. Harmon has enough suddenness in his route stem breaks to create separation without top-tier short-area quickness, and he uses head fakes to tip false direction on occasion, misleading defensive backs. In general, Harmon showcases polish and nuance with his routes, and he clearly understands what it takes for a receiver with his traits to get open."
With a well-developing sense of route nuance, and an alpha mentality and sheer play strength that gave him the advantage often in one-on-one situations in college, Harmon could be a key contributor at some point in the 2019 season, depending on the fate of the starters. The Redskins have two very promising rookies in tow, and whether in 2019, or beyond, they should become a big part of the Redskins offense.