Redskins Deep Dive: An in-depth evaluation of the wide recievers
Redskins wide receiver overview
The Redskins 2020 receiver depth chart is incredibly young. On paper, its hard to know if this is a good thing or a bad thing just yet. Obviously, having proven veteran talent is good, not only for production, but also for helping with the development of younger players. But there is and always will be a high value for young talent, and the Redskins are overflowing with it.
Leading the crew is the already fan-favorite product from Ohio State, Terry McLaurin. For a third-round pick, McLaurin wasted no time in his first-ever NFL game, posting 125 yards on five catches and a touchdown. His rookie season concluded with him finishing just shy of 1,000 yards at 919, and finishing with 15.8 yards per reception. McLaurin simply outplayed every single expectation that was projected for him. His route running, speed, and natural feel for the position made him a threat in 2019, and the fanbase is safe to bet he is bound to improve on that in 2020.
Behind McLaurin is a slew of young upside. With the departure of the oft-injured Paul Richardson, new wide receivers coach Jim Hostler will have his choice of a number of drafted and undrafted athletes to coach up. Among those names are second-year draft pick Kelvin Harmon, 2018’s “Mr. Irrelevant” Trey Quinn, free agent acquisition Cody Latimer, undrafted free agents Cam Sims and Steven Sims Jr., and newly-acquired fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden. The Redskins also have a slew of undrafted free agents and depth signings, but for the purposes of time, we will focus our attention on the names above.
Kelvin Harmon’s 2019 stat sheet was nothing to hang your hat on. With only 365 yards through the air, it didn’t seem like much of a contribution, right? That’s probably what you would say if you didn’t watch him play. At 6’2″, 221 lbs, Harmon plays so much bigger than 6’2″. Looking at him on the field, there are times he looks like he’s 6’6″. While his numbers weren’t staggering, Harmon has the physical attributes to be productive in the right role. At one point, Harmon was a projected second-round pick in 2019 by some experts. But his lack of speed and separation downfield led to his fall to Washington in the sixth round. With that said, the NC State product showed his athleticism and ability to catch in traffic more than once during his rookie campaign, and if matched up inside against smaller slot cornerbacks, he could do some serious damage.
Steven Sims Jr. was one of the few incredible highlights of the abysmally poor 2019 campaign. Seemingly emerging from nowhere last summer, Sims found the endzone in the slot, in the backfield, and on special teams. His speed makes for mismatches all over the field. But the biggest strength of Steven Sims, of all things, is his ability to stop and go on a dime and snap in and out of routes. His size at 5’9″ will keep him inside as a slot receiver, but his speed and route-running could not only land him on the 53-man roster, but make him a Week 1 starter against the Eagles.
Cody Latimer was signed as a free agent this past offseason. But the former Giant found legal trouble in an incident earlier in the summer. Latimer was a second-round pick in 2014 and is currently the only receiver on the Redskins roster that has more than three years of experience at the position. Baring the Redskins parting ways with him before training camp, Latimer will be a depth signing that will push Antonio Gandy-Golden and Kelvin Harmon for a spot on the roster. At 6’2″, 215lbs, Latimer has similar size to Kelvin Harmon, but competition will be the only way to see if Latimer has a future beyond training camp.
Trey Quinn has always been a fan favorite. Why wouldn’t he be? The underdog story, a fun-loving guy who loves his team and fans, and his young demeanor always struck a chord with the Redskins faithful. But at the end of the day, production and results are all that matter, and in the last two years, Quinn has yet to fully emerge. Steven Sims stepped in for Quinn last season and provided a spark on special teams and on offense that Quinn simply didn’t. Injuries and a crowded receiver room could very easily push Quinn off the roster.
Antonio Gandy-Golden was the second of two Antonio’s that the Redskins selected in the 2020 draft. His height at 6’4″ makes him one of the tallest receivers in the room. Questions arose in college about his ability to separate downfield, and his speed was not something that stood out by any stretch of the imagination. But what Gandy-Golden has is a frame and a physical style that coaches dream of. The former Liberty standout plays 50-50 balls with ease and is an ideal red-zone threat. While his route running and occasional drops raised flags as a draft prospect, Gandy-Golden has the tools to be a really productive player. His weaknesses look to be coachable, and that cannot be said for everyone in the NFL.
Finally, Cam Sims will return for another shot to make the team. The on-and-off practice squad and training camp candidate brings a 6’5″ frame and good hands to the mix. Sims struggles with body control and route running at times but has shown some promising flashes. He will enter training camp to the deepest young receiver room the Redskins have had in some time, so barring an injury to someone else or a really solid turn out for Sims, it will be hard to see a path to the 53-man roster for the former Alabama wideout.