In his first two years as a professional, Washington Football Team's Terry McLaurin has emerged from a third-round pick to one of the NFL's best young wide receivers.
With that title comes difficult territory, though: opposing teams all know who McLaurin is now. Even with all the splashy additions the Washington Football Team made this offseason, McLaurin remains the player opponents will study the most when preparing for a game against Ron Rivera's club.
Entering the 2021 offseason, McLaurin set out a goal for himself to get quicker off the line of scrimmage. To work on that skill, the 25-year-old traveled to Seattle to work out with former Seahawks Pro Bowler Doug Baldwin, who shares an agent with the Washington wideout.
Speaking with the local media following OTAs on Thursday, McLaurin spoke highly of his time working out with Russell Wilson's former top target.
"He really worked on my releases and he taught me some other alternative techniques to help me get open at the line and just the mindset of how to use these releases, when to use these releases, just to switch it up," McLaurin said.
Part of the reason McLaurin wanted to focus on his releases specifically this offseason was because now that he's entering his third year, there are two seasons of film on him for opponents to study. Teams now know what routes he runs best and where he prefers to line up on the field most.
In simpler terms, McLaurin won't be able to surprise defensive backs with the routes he runs as much as he once could.
"Now, I'm two years into the league, there's a lot of film out on me now," McLaurin said. "Guys will be able to kind of match my splits on what routes I'm going to run. But if I can win at the line, that definitely gives me an advantage."
McLaurin has blazing speed, and his route running has improved significantly each season. But where he's struggled is when he's had to face bigger cornerbacks, especially those who like to press him on the line of scrimmage.
So, that's exactly why the third-year pro is trying to work on his releases so much this spring and summer. If McLaurin is able to win at the line, defensive backs will struggle to keep up with him for the entirety of the route.
"I'm very comfortable once I get into the route," McLaurin said. "But if I can get into the route quickly, cleaner, and not necessarily get bumped off my step, that helps the quarterback and the timing of the concepts we're trying to run."
As far as what it was like working out with Baldwin, though, McLaurin emphasized how grateful he was for the opportunity.
"Going out there was great. Not only meeting with a guy that I truly respect and had great success playing the game, but he's a great friend and he really helped me spiritually and personally as well. That was a great trip to go out there in Seattle," McLaurin said.