When minicamp and OTAs opened up, all eyes immediately went toward Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins. Rightfully so, a quarterback drafted in the first round will garner that attention. However, through the preliminary stages of the Redskins 2019 season, it's been another Buckeye that has also impressed.
The Redskins drafted wide receiver Terry McLaurin in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the hope that he could add some much-needed depth and production to a position group that has been lackluster in years past. Though it's only been a small sample size thus far, Charley Casserly believes he can do that -- and more -- for Washington.
"McLaurin comes in, he plays like a first round pick in the spring," Casserly said recently. "So all the sudden, we've got a guy here that looks like he's better than anybody."
The rookie pass catcher has looked the part in his first action as a Redskin. He's shown off speed and route running while also building on the strong connection he shares with Dwayne Haskins. He's also thrown in a highlight-reel catch or two just because he can.
With his ability to line up in different spots and run different routes, McLaurin offers the Redskins something that they've been missing at the receiver position: versatility.
Paul Richardson Jr. gives you a speedy deep threat and Trey Quinn can work the middle of the field. Josh Doctson is an inconsistent red zone target that could do more for Washington, but he hasn't shown the capability during his time on the field and even he has a feeling this could be his last season with the Redskins. But, for the most part, these receivers work well in their area of specialty and that's all. It's not a major problem, but having a guy who can do it all is always welcome.
That's where McLaurin comes in. From what Casserly has seen so far, he believes he's the type of receiver that can hurt the defense in many ways.
"The guy's got legitimate speed. He can run by people, he's a deep threat. But also, he has quickness," Casserly said. "He has the ability to separate, which is something that Doctson doesn't do. So you like those things."
As McLaurin continues to prove his potential, Casserly believes his time as a main component of the Redskins passing game may come sooner rather than later. Casserly felt that going into camp the Redskins' the plan was to have Doctson on one side with Richardson on the other. Now, that might not be the case, as he feels that it could be Doctson and McLaurin lined up on opposite sides with Richardson as the backup.
Training camp and preseason games will serve as McLaurin's biggest test yet and give him a chance to show that he is worthy of earning that starting spot. The biggest wildcard for him will be his hands, says Casserly.
"It's consistency catching the ball," Casserly said referring to McLaurin's biggest struggle. "The guy's hands, I don't know if they're pure or he has a vision thing. What happens is, if you see a guy catch a ball right up in front of his face that means he's seeing it late. I've seen some of those from him."
The Redskins have had their fair share of dropped passes and it's something that has seriously hindered the team's performance at times. If McLaurin joins in on that, it may prevent him from seeing more opportunities. But if that problem gets put in the review mirror, Casserly believes that McLaurin will find himself at the center of the passing gameplan. To him, it's the young receiver's job to lose.
"I think they're going to give this guy every opportunity to start opposite Doctson," Casserly said.
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