ASHBURN — Football has returned! Sort of.
Saturday marked the second day of Redskins rookie minicamp and the first day in which the media could watch the action in person. And while there were plenty of guys inside of the Redskins' practice bubble whose NFL careers will be over after this weekend, there was also plenty of hype surrounding Dwayne Haskins, Montez Sweat and the rest of Washington's 2019 draft class.
Here are the key takeaways from all that went down...
- The first song blasting over the speakers at practice? "Old Town Road." Strong start for the Burgundy and Gold in that department.
- Haskins, of course, was the main story. There'll be more detailed breakdowns of his performance to come, but if you want one word to describe it right now, it'd be "uneven." Now, that's to be expected: It was only his second session with the 'Skins and he was throwing to targets he has barely worked with, many of whom weren't exactly polished. But there were times Saturday where he made some throws that were fantastic, and others where he forced the issue or clearly wasn't on the same page.
- Here's one thing about the 15th overall pick, though: You will rarely hear about him not having enough arm for a throw. When he's able to set up and drive it, he drives it.
- Haskins' best highlight might've come early in 1-on-1 drills, where he lofted a high 30-ish yarder to Terry McLaurin for a score. McLaurin had broken free on a go-route and Haskins really couldn't have delivered it any better.
- Speaking of McLaurin, you could've taken the numbers off of every wideout and still easily guessed he was the one who played college ball with Haskins. They were cooking in 1-on-1s.
- Another tidbit on the Ohio State WR: In talking with him, you can really tell the pride he takes in doing things other than catching the ball. That's his reputation, and you understand why. "Anytime you step on the field, you should do everything that's expected you to the best of your ability," he said. "That's how you respect the game... I'm the type of guy who's willing to do anything for the team."
- Haskins wasn't the only 2019 first-rounder on the field Saturday. Montez Sweat was there, too, and it looked like he didn't belong — in a good way. He looked like a five-year NFL vet just because of how large and athletic he is. Afterward, Jay Gruden remarked about how Sweat "eats up ground" when he runs and said he sees him as one of the team's fastest players already.
- Rob Ryan was coaching up the linebackers. He's awesome. That's all.
- Gruden spoke highly of many youngsters while at the podium, including Kelvin Harmon. The head coach compared Harmon to Mohamed Sanu, whom he coached while with the Bengals, and thinks he can work inside at some point in addition to his duties as the Z on the outside.
- Harmon met with reporters walking off the field and got the chance to reflect on the NFL.com draft profile that said he plays with a "big-dog swagger." He agrees with the evaluation. "It comes from my competitive nature," he explained. "I'm always trying to bully the guy in front of me, whether I have to block him or win the route... Always trying to win every 1-on-1 battle." That's a good quote.
- There were a few non-rookies in Ashburn participating as well. Josh Woodrum was the other QB along with Haskins, while Darvin Kidsy and JP Holtz were working with the offense, too.
- Not only was it the first time seeing this collection of players, it was also the first opportunity to see some of the new coaches on staff. With Ryan and Ray Horton now also in the mix, everywhere you looked, you saw an assistant with tons of NFL experience and knowledge. It'll be an interesting dynamic to follow all year and will make training camp worth listening to as much as it'll be worth watching.
- This time of year is always where one or two out-of-nowhere prospects make a name for himself. Could that guy this year be Steven Sims? The Kansas receiver popped a few times both in team and individual action and Gruden mentioned him by name in his presser. Last season, Gruden mentioned a different Sims, Cam, as well as Danny Johnson after minicamp and both of those players eventually made the 53-man roster. Not saying this Sims is a lock, but just file that away.
- Lastly, the Redskins have already inked one tryout player, per our Ben Standig. Deion Harris, a North Dakota corner, did enough to secure a spot on the offseason roster. An Achilles injury caused him to go undrafted, but at one point, draft guru Mel Kiper was very high on him.
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