Redskins 10 Questions: Who wins position battle at wide receiver?

10 in 10: The Countdown to Redskins Training Camp

Craig Hoffman
July 19, 2019 - 10:33 am
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Believe it or not, training camp is almost here. After one of the most consequential Redskins off-seasons of the last two decades, we’ll start to answer the biggest questions we have about the football team.

With less than a week to go until Richmond, The Fan started asking our ten biggest questions about the 2019 Washington Redskins. With four and less than a week to go, here’s our sixth biggest question

6. Who wins position battle at wide receiver?

The Redskins wide receivers are one of the weakest groups on the team and one of the weakest corps in the league. They lack the dynamic ability and any kind of track record of success. They do not have a player who has had a 1,000-yard season. In fact, they don’t have anyone who’s had a 750-yard season. (Paul Richardson’s 703 for Seattle in 2017 sits as the group’s best.)

However, that doesn’t mean this group doesn’t have potential. It finally feels like the receiver room is heading in the right direction after last year, when it felt severely neglected despite the $40 million spent on Richardson. Terry McLaurin is the most exciting addition with his 4.3 speed providing a true downfield threat outside of and perhaps even beyond Richardson, who thrives as much on deep crossing routes as he does deep vertical ones.

Trey Quinn looked terrific when he played, though that was rare in an injury-riddled rookie year. If he’s healthy, he’s a starting-caliber slot receiver and there won’t be much drop off from Jamison Crowder. 

Josh Doctson figured a few things out by the end of last year, but entering what is likely his final year in Washington, there isn’t as much pressure on him or for coaches to play him. That’s where the position battle gets fun. Who gets those snaps?

Cam Sims, Kelvin Harmon, Robert Davis and Brian Quick all bring something a little different to the table. Harmon was a 6th round pick in April’s draft, so he seems like a near-lock to make the team. However, he’s slow by NFL standards and his route running needs work. His extraordinary hands make some of that not as important because he caught anything within his radius in college in spite of tight coverage, but that’s a much harder task in the NFL.

Sims made the team as an undrafted rookie last season on the back of a monster preseason. He then went down on the opening kickoff and was out for the season with an ankle injury. Sims had another terrific spring and has big-time upside. He has size. He has speed. He has vertical, high point abilities. He just needs to be consistent. I would put him in the lead to take the 6th and final spot right now.

Davis is the wildcard. He was neck and neck with Sims last year before shredding his knee and breaking his tibia in a training camp practice. He’s come back completely jacked, clearly spending time getting stronger while he was rehabbing his leg. If he can return to form, he can push for a spot. The coaches love him as a player and a person. He might be a PUP candidate to start the season and then if he’s needed midyear, they could activate him then.

Quick is a veteran who does things the right way, but he’s inconsistent and would have to be dominant to overtake the younger guys. The other wildcard in all of this is UDFA Steven Sims. The Lilliputian receiver out of Kansas (5’10, 176 lbs) is 4.35 fast with great quickness. If the Redskins decide they want another inside option who also has return skills, he could find his way on to the roster.

Special teams will matter here and an NFL caliber football player or two is going to get cut. There’s real depth at this position even if the top-end talent isn’t there. Snap distribution is another factor in this battle beyond who makes it, but the coaching staff has to pick the five or six guys out of these eight first.

Question 10:  Will Rob Ryan, Ray Horton have impact?

Question 9: Who's the odd-man out at middle linebacker?

Question 8: Can Montae Nicholson return to form?

Question 7: What impact will Kevin O’Connell have as offensive coordinator?

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