Redskins

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Wide receiver

Redskins

Training camp opens in about five weeks and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming couple of weeks, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Wide receivers

Additions: Paul Richardson (FA), Trey Quinn (Draft-7), Cam Sims (UDFA)
Departures: Ryan Grant, Terrelle Pryor

Starters: Richardson, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Other roster locks: None
On the bubble: Robert Davis, Brian Quick, Quinn, Maurice Harris, Sims

How the wide receivers compare

To the rest of the NFL: Except for Crowder, who has been a proven, productive slot receiver in his three seasons in the NFL, this group is filled with question marks. Doctson was inconsistent last year after missing his first year with an injury, Richardson gained 700 in his career year last year, and the backups have had only flashes here and there. As a group, they are below average when compared to the rest of the NFL.

To the 2017 Redskins: Going into last season, things were looking up with Pryor, who was coming off of a 1,000-yard season with the Browns, set to line up with Doctson and Crowder. But even before an ankle injury ended his season after nine games, he was a disappointment with only 20 receptions for 240 yards. It shouldn’t be hard for Richardson to top that. They will, however, have to make up for the departure of Grant, who gained 573 yards receiving last year. I think one of the backups will step up, Doctson's numbers will improve across the board, and the group will be somewhat more productive this year compared to 2017. 

 

2018 outlook

Biggest upside: Richardson has great speed, an element that was missing from the offense last year. He should mesh well with Alex Smith, who was the NFL’s best deep-ball passer last year. If there is a 1,000-yard receiver in this group, it’s probably Richardson.

Most to prove: Doctson did produce some big plays last year, but this will be a big year for the 2016 first-round pick. He will have to improve on last year’s production if the Redskins are going to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, a decision that must be made next May. 

Rookie watch: Quinn was the last pick of the draft, but Jay Gruden lobbied for the team to take him earlier. It’s starting to look like Gruden was on to something. Quinn certainly looked like he belongs during offseason practices. There may not be room for Sims on the final 53 but if what he was able to do during the offseason program is an indication he will make it a tough decision. 

Bottom line: Things could really go either way with this group. As noted, Richardson could be a 1,000-yard receiver, but he also could fall short of last year’s 700 yards if he doesn’t mesh with Smith. If the Redskins can figure out how to maximize Doctson’s abilities in the red zone he could threaten the Redskins’ single-season touchdown receptions record (12, accomplished 4 times, last by Ricky Sanders in 1988). He also could be the same guy he was in 2017. A player or two could break out from the group of backups or they all could have the organization looking for replacements next year. How well the group performs will have a considerable impact on the team’s win total. 

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Trey Quinn:

Trey has come in here, and I haven’t heard him talk a whole lot. He’s very quiet. He’s a quiet assassin and he just goes out there and is very detailed in his routes. Ike has done a great job with him, and Trey, when the ball’s in the area, he’s got strong hands. Very quarterback-friendly target. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler