In normal circumstances the Redskins rookie class would be gathered in Ashburn, preparing for a three-day rookie minicamp to start May 8th.
These aren’t normal circumstances.
This week the Redskins rookies are scattered across the country, trying to learn the complexities and speed of life in the NFL via digital playbooks and Zoom meetings. No matter how hard they try, it won’t accurately portray life in the NFL. It just won’t.
That means fans don’t get their first look at Chase Young in a Redskins helmet or in that 99 practice jersey that would eventually become a major collector’s item.
Young could prove to be the star of the Redskins 2020 season, but he absolutely would be the star of rookie minicamp.
Alas, he’s not there. The coaches aren’t there. The scouts aren’t there. The media isn’t there. Fans aren’t able to watch videos. And on and on.
But - that doesn’t mean we can’t look at what would be the biggest questions going into rookie minicamp. Even though it’s not happening.
- Route runner - Third-round pick Antonio Gibson out of Memphis is a wildly exciting athlete and offensive playmaker. His stats from last season show that, with seven touchdowns of 40 yards or more. Still, that pesky question about where he plays at the next level remains. It seems very clear Gibson will be a running back - very, very clear - but if the organization wants to use him on the outside as a wideout in some sets, the rookie needs to prove his route running ability. He doesn’t need to be Jerry Rice in and out of breaks, but Gibson needs to show enough knowledge of the route tree and decisive feet to make defensive backs second guess his direction.
- Real deal - Liberty University is known for many things, but being a football powerhouse isn’t one of them. The Redskins need fourth-round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden to change that narrative. AGG produced at a high level for the last two seasons at Liberty, and proved he was capable of doing so against Power Five competition too. Still, Washington wants to see a lot out of AGG and rookie camp would have been his first opportunity.
- Looking ahead - Saahdiq Charles can play football and has tremendous upside. At 6-foot-4 and 295 lbs., Charles has all the physical tools to play left tackle at a high level. He's also experienced tough times growing up, relocating as a kid due to Hurricane Katrina, and then a suspension in college at LSU. Is Charles ready? Can he be ready this fall? There's a big hole in Washington at left tackle, and Charles seems the most likely to fill that role. Redskins head coach Ron Rivera has mentioned often that he won't just play rookies, he will start rookies.
- Lost chances - Undrafted free agent rookies have a very tough time making NFL rosters, yet, it happens every season. And sometimes with great results. All of those undrafted rookies will face a much tougher time making a roster this year simply because those guys won't get the chance to make plays in front of Redskins coaches. As much as people can try hard to pay attention in a Zoom meeting, it's not the same thing as a linebacker flying to the ball or an offensive lineman knocking somebody over in drills. It's hard to open eyes when the doors aren't even open.
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