The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.
Ever see a Rorschach test? Those weird-looking blob paintings that really don't illustrate anything but rather allow for individual interpretation of what scene is unfolding?
That's a little like the Redskins 2019 wide receiver group.
For the optimist, there are reasons to like each of the assumed six receivers projected to make the 53-man roster. Paul Richardson has elite speed and showed an ability to make plays last year in limited snaps. He just needs to stay healthy. The same thing for slot man Trey Quinn, a sleeper to catch a ton of passes in Jay Gruden's offense. There are two rookies with promise. Terry McLaurin has high-end speed while Kelvin Harmon is the big-bodied possession threat the Redskins offense has lacked.
Continuing with the positive thoughts, it's entirely possible Josh Doctson, facing free agency after the season, will finally have the motivation he needs to deliver on his immense athletic gifts. This really could be his year. And speaking of athleticism, second-year pro Cam Sims looked great in minicamp and just needs opportunities to show why the Redskins kept him as an undrafted rookie from Alabama last year.
Hope you enjoyed the optimism. Here's a dose of cold water.
In five years in the NFL, Richardson has played a complete 16-game season once. He's never had 50 catches in a season.
As a rookie, Quinn had more trips to the injured reserve (2) list than he did touchdowns (1). He's certainly never had 50 catches in a season.
McLaurin was a four-year college player and gets as much attention for his ability on special teams as he does at wideout. That will help the Redskins team, but it might not help the offense explode. He never had a 50-catch season in college.
Kelvin Harmon is coming off by far the most impressive season of any Redskins WR, even if it happened at NC State. He grabbed 81 catches for 1,186 yards and seven TDs last season for the Wolfpack. And despite those impressive totals, he slipped into the sixth round of the draft because of questions about his speed and ability to separate in the NFL.
In four years at Alabama, Cam Sims grabbed 41 passes. In four years. He's 6-foot-5 and loaded with athleticism, but still, he's an undrafted free agent that totaled 467 yards receiving in four years for the Crimson Tide.
Then there is Josh Doctson. A first-round pick in 2016, Doctson is yet to deliver on his draft status. The Redskins elected not to pick up his fifth-year contract option and will likely let him walk next offseason. In three years in Washington, Doctson has never caught 50 passes in a season.
With the Redskins wide receiver group, much like real life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There is real talent, and there are real injury concerns. If Richardson and Quinn can stay healthy, both will be productive. Sims could produce highlight-reel plays. One of, or both, the rookies could emerge. Doctson could finally put it all together and have a breakout year.
But the odds are against them. Health is paramount for this group, and that's unpredictable. Strong quarterback play would help too, and that's hardly a given for the Redskins.
Want to believe in this group? Go for it. There are plenty of reasons to like the Redskins collection of talent at WR. Until the production matches the potential, however, skeptics will see a position group with plenty of holes.
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