No Redskins receiver caught more than 50 passes last season. In fact, no Redskins receiver even caught 45 passes last year. No Redskins receiver caught more than two touchdowns last season either. According to NFL.com, the Redskins had the worst deep passing game in the entire league.
In short, the Redskins did not get close to enough from the wide receiver position last year. And this year, it takes a real optimist to see things very differently.
To begin, Washington lost WR Jamison Crowder, who signed a multi-year deal with the Jets in free agency. The 'Skins also officially declined Josh Doctson's fifth-year option, which means this is possibly the last year in Burgundy and Gold for the 2016 first-round pick. Maurice Harris is also gone, he signed with the Patriots in free agency.
Perhaps knowing an overhaul was needed at the position, there have been additions to the WR unit.
The Redskins drafted Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin in the third round and NC State WR Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. McLaurin should make an immediate impact on special teams. He has elite speed, toughness and a major willingness to block and tackle that will shine on teams. As a wideout, McLaurin has a lot of potential as well as vertical speed. It also can't hurt he played his college football with new Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the 15th overall pick.
Harmon brings excitement but also more questions. Many mock drafts expected him to go in the first three rounds of the draft, but plenty of actual scouts said his lack of deep speed and route running polish pushed him down draft boards.
Beyond the rookies, there should also be the return of injured WRs in Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn and Cam Sims. Or at least the hope of a healthy return.
Richardson would help the Redskins a lot, right away, if he can play 16 games this fall. He's only done that once in his five-year career, but when he did, the results were strong. When he was healthy early last year, he showed some real skill and big play ability. Pro Football Focus ranked Richardson the 56th best WR in the NFL last year, and while that might not sound too high, it was the best ranking of any 'Skins wideout.
Quinn and Sims are hardly known quantities. As rookies in 2018, both players got hurt Week 1 last season in Arizona and landed on the injured reserve. Sims did not return, but Quinn did. He had a touchdown catch in Dallas on Thanksgiving, but got hurt again, and went on the IR again.
There are other guys as well - Robert Davis is working back from injury, Jehu Chesson was a special teams force last year, and Darvin Kidsy had ample opportunity to learn on the practice squad.
Looking out to September, however, the Redskins receiver group still does not look like a daunting unit. In fact, it looks like the weakest position group on the team.
That could change obviously, but while each player brings reasons for optimism, big questions remain.
Maybe Doctson will finally show the college form that got him drafted 22nd overall in 2016. Or maybe he will continue along the same inconsistent path he's shown for three seasons in the NFL.
Sims and Quinn were exciting rookies, but need to stay healthy. Richardson was the Redskins free agent star of 2018 and proved a big-play threat, but needs to stay on the field.
Both rookies could emerge as real playmakers. McLaurin has speed and leadership; Harmon has moxie and great hands. But can a team really rely on two rookie wideouts and contend for the playoffs?
Outside factors could help the receivers as well. A healthy quarterback would be a big boost, as well as a QB willing to go deep and take chances. That could arrive with Case Keenum or Colt McCoy, or if the rookie Haskins gets the starting job, expect an accurate passer that likes to get his receivers the ball in position to get yards after the catch. A healthy offensive line would help, and a more cohesive play action game would be nice too.
All of these things could make the Redskins receiver group better, but that still might not make them very good. There are reasons to like each wideout on the team, but until the veterans can prove their durability, or the rookies emerge, it's hard to see this glass as half full.
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