Can Antonio Gandy-Golden revive NFL career as a tight end?
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders haven’t had a great track record when it comes to drafting receivers. Terry McLaurin was obviously a fantastic find and the hope is first-rounder Jahan Dotson will join McLaurin in the home run department.
Outside of McLaurin, though, it’s been tough-sledding for Washington. Between the failed Josh Doctson experiment, Kelvin Harmon never panning out, Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson and Robert Davis, McLaurin and Jamison Crowder represent the team’s only successes as drafted wideouts in recent memory.
Unfortunately, we can now add Antonio Gandy-Golden to the list. According to ESPN’s John Keim, the 2020 fourth-rounder has dropped his wide receiver label and will switch to tight end on a permanent basis moving forward.
The good news? This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. Per Keim, Washington reached out to Gandy-Golden to see if he endorsed the idea, which he seemed to do, hinting that it’s been in the works since the offseason began.
This, in turn, begs the question if AGG can make it as a tight end.
Can former Commanders draft pick and receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden revive his NFL career as a tight end?
The Commanders released Gandy-Golden to kick off the new year, but re-signed him to a reserve/futures contract a few weeks later.
The Liberty product hasn’t worked out as a receiver, but it speaks volumes that Washington’s keeping the faith in its former investment. If you remember, Gandy-Golden had Day 2 buzz leading up to the 2020 draft, but fell to the end of Round 4 largely due to the fact it was a stacked receiver class.
At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds with a wide catch radius, there’s reason to believe Gandy-Golden could pan out at tight end if he tacked on more muscle. That’s exactly what the pass-catcher did, this offseason, as Keim noted on his podcast that AGG was noticeably “bulked up” and “looks stronger” at team workouts.
Assuming Gandy-Golden put on 15-20 pounds, that puts him on track with other joker tight ends (blend of WR/TE) in the league, including Gerald Everett (6-foot-3, 240), David Nkoku (6-foot-4, 245) and Evan Engram (6-foot-3, 240).
Not to tug on your heartstrings, folks, but Jordan Reed was 6-foot-2, 242 when he starred at tight end for Washington. Of course, having a similar build to other TE hybrids means nothing. It’s an entirely different position than WR. Perhaps he can start in the slot and a blocking specialist while he learns the ins and outs of the position.
Whatever the case, Gandy-Golden is in good hands with tight ends coach Juan Castillo, who worked wonders with Logan Thomas after he transitioned from playing quarterback at Virginia Tech to tight end once he entered the NFL.
It’s too early to say if Gandy-Golden will make it as a tight end, but he as all the physical tools needed to succeed and Thomas’ injury should give the soon-to-be third-year pro plenty of opportunities to prove himself this offseason.