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Redskins Depth Chart Review: Despite new draft picks, wide receiver a major question mark

Redskins Depth Chart Review: Despite new draft picks, wide receiver a major question mark

Redskins Depth Chart Reviews: Quarterback | Tight end

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, 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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Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

Redskins seek to add linebacker depth by signing Gary Johnson

The Redskins added some linebacker depth Saturday afternoon by signing former Texas LB Gary Johnson, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

Johnson, 23, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs back in June following mandatory minicamp.

This signing immediately addresses a position of need as Washington's linebacker room is banged up. Reuben Foster was ruled out of the entire season due to a torn ACL he suffered in May, Josh Harvey-Clemmons is going through concussion protocol while strengthening an ailing knee, and Shaun Dion Hamilton is still questionable with a chest injury. 

In his two seasons at Texas, Johnson tallied 147 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and two pass breakups in 23 games.

Johnson took to Twitter to celebrate his latest opportunity in the nation's capital: 

Johnson's Twitter profile also features the statement "I Hate QB's & RB's."

It's fair to say the Redskins are always on the lookout for defensive guys with that mentality. 


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Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

Stock Up, Stock Down: Montae Nicholson and Samaje Perine going in opposite directions

The Redskins lost to the Bengals Thursday night at FedEx Field, but in the preseason, final results don't really matter. What matters comes in individual and group performances, particularly among first-team units.

In that vein, the Redskins starting defense looked strong against Cincinnati. Outside of some dumb and wacky penalty calls, the starting defense barely gave up any first downs. A number of players impressed on that group, so let's start with the stocks trending in the right direction. 

Stock Up

  • Montae Nicholson - The 96-yard interception return for a touchdown was an impressive display of playmaking ability and speed, but more than that, it was the culmination of a strong offseason and training camp. For the Redskins to be a Top 10 defense, Nicholson needs to be the hard-hitting stud that Washington fans saw glimpses of as a rookie in 2017. Last year was a lost season for Nicholson, who dealt with injuries, getting benched and legal troubles. 2019 is a new start, and so far, it looks quite good. 
  • Adrian Peterson - Not that a first-ballot Hall of Famer really needs preseason validation, but when Peterson ripped off a 26-yard run in the first quarter against the Bengals it became pretty obvious he's ready to go for 2019. And it's important too as second-year back Derrius Guice still isn't cleared for competition. 
  • Robert Davis - Another week, another long touchdown. If there's a handbook to show how to force your way onto a roster, Davis is reading from it. 
  • Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - These dudes are beasts. 

Despite the good news, there was bad news too. Here's that list:

Stock Down

  • Samaje Perine - Five carries for one yard against Cincy. You read that right. That comes after a poor showing in pass protection in the preseason opener. Jay Gruden always sings praises of Perine but hasn't after the last two preseason games. Prior to Shaun Wilson's ankle injury, he seemed like a guy that could really push for Perine's roster spot. Could that be Byron Marshall now?
  • Paul Richardson - The speedster wideout missed the Bengals game, and the word from one Redskins coach was "he's hurt." Many players get held out of preseason action with slight injuries, stuff they would play through in the regular season. That's not the deal with Richardson. He needs to get right. 
  • Cole Holcomb - If you can't make the club in the tub, Holcomb needs to get back on the field. While he's not in actual roster danger because of the growing number of injuries at inside linebacker, Holcomb is dealing with an AC joint issue. Linebackers need their shoulders, and Holcomb missed a valuable opportunity against the Bengals with presumed starter Shaun Dion Hamilton already out for that game. 
  • Nate Kaczor - The Redskins new Special Teams coach is off to a rough start. In two preseason games Washington has already given up two punt return touchdowns, and against the Bengals, kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point and a field goal. Special teams are tricky in the preseason. In the regular season with 53-man rosters, starting players land on special teams. In the preseason with 90-man rosters, it's largely a collection of players that won't make the final roster lining up on special teams. Still, ugly start.