Throughout his illustrious career at Liberty University, wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden had a knack for hauling in tough, 1-on-1 contested catches.
However, there's a clear difference in talent at Liberty and in the NFL. Gandy-Golden had incredible production in college, but concerns about the lack of talent the 6-foot-4 receiver played against were part of the reason he wasn't drafted until the fourth round this past April.
Thus far at Washington training camp, the transition has been a little difficult, as the rookie pass-catcher has struggled to create separation from defenders.
In NBC Sports Washington's 'Mic'd Up' series (watch the video above), Washington head coach Ron Rivera was captured talking with Gandy-Golden during practice, giving the rookie pass-catcher tips on creating separation from defenders.
"There's nowhere in the rule book where hand-fighting is legal," Rivera told Gandy-Golden. "Just keep going where you're going."
During his media session with reporters following Monday's training camp practice, Rivera said it's a work in progress teaching Gandy-Golden how to properly use his size to get open against NFL defensive backs.
"He's got to learn what he’s supposed to do. He’s still a young guy, he’s still making mistakes out there," Rivera said. "First, you’ve got to understand where to get lined up, understand where the motion and movement is for him to do those things and how to do his routes. How to tempo himself, how to get downfield and how to put himself in position, then how to use that good size that he has."
However, the head coach did end his answer with a positive note, saying it's just a "matter of time" before Gandy-Golden figures it all out.
"He’s a big-bodied receiver. Sometimes these young guys come in and they want to play like a small receiver. They’re not and he’s not," Rivera said. "He’s a big, physical player who’s got to use his strength. He’ll get a feel for that, it’s just a matter of time. He’s just got to keep practicing hard. He’s got to keep challenging our defensive backs."
Besides Terry McLaurin, Washington has several young wide receivers on its roster that have yet to prove themselves at the NFL level. Steven Sims will likely man the slot, but the second outside position is still very much up for grabs.
If Gandy-Golden is able to put together a strong few weeks to end camp, that could go a long way in terms of how much of a role he has in the team's offense as a rookie.