Redskins sign J.D. McKissic to serve as third-down back

The Washington Redskins are moving on from Chris Thompson and they signed J.D. McKissic to be their new pass-catching back.

So far through free agency, the Washington Redskins have picked up many role players for their squad. From linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Thomas Davis to offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer, the team has added depth at some of their most problematic positions.

And the team continued to do that on Wednesday night.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Redskins are adding a new running back to the mix. That player is J.D. McKissic, who played for the Detroit Lions last season.

McKissic entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State. He caught on with the Seattle Seahawks in 2016 but really got a chance to produce more as a backfield weapon in 2019 with the Lions.

For the Lions, McKissic played in all 16 of the team’s games and replaced Theo Riddick as the squad’s top receiving back. He caught 34 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown while running the ball 38 times and picking up 205 yards there for a 5.4 yards per carry average. He was explosive and sure-handed, and it seems like the former receiver-turned-running-back should continue to find success.

McKissic, 26, will take over for Chris Thompson as the pass-catching option out of the Redskins backfield. Thompson, 29, had been with the Redskins since the team drafted him back in 2013. While Thompson was really solid for the Redskins, especially during 2017 when he averaged 13.1 yards per catch, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He has missed 17 games in the past three seasons and can’t handle a full workload because of his smaller stature.

The same can probably be said of McKissic. But he was at least able to play a full 16-game slate last season. And given that he’s a few years younger than Thompson, it makes sense for the team to invest in a younger replacement for him. Thompson can sign elsewhere and hope to earn a role as a receiving back. Perhaps he could rejoin former head coach Jay Gruden with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Overall, this is a solid signing. McKissic will compete with Bryce Love to be the primary receiving back. And even if McKissic can’t beat out Love for that role, he’ll have a chance to earn playing time on special teams thanks to his speed. It’s also possible that he could be given a shot to return kicks. He has averaged 19.0 yards per return on three career kick returns, but he has the speed and elusiveness needed to make an impact in this area.

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We’ll soon see how McKissic fares in a Redskins uniform. But for the time being, it seems like he’s yet another solid signing and he should have a chance to fight for a role in the Redskins backfield.

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