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2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Wide receiver

2017 Redskins depth chart preview: Wide receiver

The Redskins are part of the way through the process of retooling their 2017 roster. While the major part of free agency is over, they still can add a few veterans all the way through training camp. They have 10 picks in the draft that starts April 27. In this series, we’re going to take a look at what has changed on the Redskins roster since the season ended and what they need to add to remain competitive in the revived NFC East.

This series started on defense and you can see all those posts here. Last week it was the tight ends and today the focus turns to the wide receivers.

2016 final game starters: Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder

This year was as steady and consistent as the wide receiver group has been in quite some time. Crowder and Garçon both played in all 16 games and Jackson missed just one.

Departures: Garçon (UFA, 49ers), Jackson (UFA, Bucs)

I think that the Redskins went with the theory that it is better to let a player go a year too early than to do it a year too late. Garçon will turn 31 early in training camp and Jackson hits 31 on December 1. Neither was going to sign a one-year contract so the reasoning was that while they might have been better off having them around this year, their deals will start to look a lot worse in 2018 and 2019 as the receivers age.

Projected 2017 starters: Crowder, Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor

Doctson and Pryor don’t have the NFL resumes that Garçon and Jackson do but it’s not unreasonable to think that there won’t be a huge drop off at this position.

In his first full season as an NFL receiver after spending three years trying to get a foothold as a quarterback, Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. He did this although the Browns started three different quarterbacks and a total of five attempted 10 passes or more.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 8.0

Doctson was the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and his injury problems are well documented and he played in just two games. His ability to bounce back and live up to his potential is one of the make or break factors in this year’s Redskins offense.

Crowder led the team in touchdown receptions last year and he will be good for 60-70 receptions for 800 yards.

2017 reserves: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Brian Quick

Grant has had his chances to get a foothold on the field in his three seasons but he just hasn’t been able to. In three seasons, he has played almost an thousand snaps and he has 39 receptions for 412 yards and two touchdowns. Grant stays around because he works hard and is willing to do the dirty work like run blocking.

MORE REDSKINS: Team announces preseason opponents

The team will be very interested in seeing what the 6-4 Harris can do. Last year he was in the crowd of undrafted free agents just trying to make the team. This year he will get some prime reps with the first-team offense in OTAs and in training camp.

Quick was a disappointment with the Rams, who took him in the second round in 2012. At 6-4 he fits right in with the Redskins' new look at receiver and perhaps he can keep the momentum going from last year, when he posted career highs in receptions with 41 and receiving yards with 564.  

Where can the wide receivers find improvement?

This year the Redskins became the first team in NFL history to lose two 1,000-yard receivers as free agents in the same offseason. In 2016, the wide receivers gained a combined 3,100 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Improvement will be hard to come by. If they can meet that level of production, or even come close to it, they will be happy.

Much will be expected of Doctson. His ability to use his height and high-point the ball to make impossible catches made him a first-round pick. If he can get 50-60 receptions for 700 yards or so in what essentially will be his rookie season the team should be happy.

Harris should be able to take the next step and get 40-50 targets as the fourth receiver. That would translate into 25-30 receptions, more than they got from him and Grant combined last year.

With 10 draft picks there is a good chance that one of them will be a wide receiver. It seems likely that any receiver taken will be a more of a late-round project so don’t look for immediate impact from the draft.

Locks and bubble players

Pryor, Crowder, and Doctson are locks. Harris land Quick probably are, too. That will leave Grant on the bubble, possibly competing with a draft pick for the final roster spot. 

(Note: An earlier version of this post omitted Quick.)

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

In the weeks since the 2018 season ended, the Redskins have had various levels of contact with Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks and Gregg Williams.

All three men have extensive experience as defensive coordinators and all three men got new jobs already this offseason in that position. 

Now, after Bowles, Wilks and Williams picked up those new jobs, The Washington Post reported that the Redskins will keep Greg Manusky as defensive coorinator. He's already under contract. 

The meetings with all the other guys? A source told the Post that the Redskins wanted to get "different perspectives" on improving the defense for 2019.

Different perspectives. From the three hottest coordinator names on the coaching market. Sure. 

That said, Manusky is not the sole reason the Redskins fell apart in the second half of the 2018 season. In fact, he's probably not in the Top 5 reasons. 

The Washington defense improved in Manusky's second season as defensive coordinator and looked like a fierce unit in the first half of the year. The team made tremendous strides in rush defense and proved to be quite good at forcing turnovers.

Late in the season, verbal spats with safety DJ Swearinger might have undermined Manusky's status with the defense. But the team decided to release Swearinger, cementing the coach's authority. It also helped that emerging leader Jonathan Allen came out and vocally supported Manusky and his defensive schemes. 

At this point, the Redskins have no choice but to say the team was keeping Manusky all along.

If the organization was interested in other candidates at defensive coordinator, and it sure seemed like they were, those guys found other jobs. The marketplace isn't packed with other candidates with brighter resumes to replace Manusky, so the team is smart to bring back the incumbent. 

The process was awkward, regardless of what gets said now. Manusky is a professional, and has been coaching in the NFL for more than a decade. He understands how business gets done. 

Now, Manusky will be back, and there is good young talent on the Redskins defense, especially up front. 

The guess here is Manusky will say he always expected to be back and never stopped working on getting better for 2019. Now he gets the chance to show it. 

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You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

Chris Thompson is an accomplished player in the NFL. Despite being a fifth round pick, Thompson has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

This is a long way of establishing that Chris Thompson is an accomplised football player. Redskins fans know that.

Adrian Peterson didn't. 

Not many people would share that story, so good for Thompson for doing it. Let's add that Peterson joined the Redskins after offseason workouts and training camp, the normal time for new players to get to know each other. Peterson signed up with the Redskins in the middle of August, well after the regular get-to-know-you period had closed. 

Still, that's a tough break for Thompson. 

Peterson is a legend in the NFL, one of the best running backs to ever play the game. When he joined the Redskins, a number of players watched him work in practice with the hint of awe in their eyes. He proved to be a great teammate and a strong presence in the locker room.

By the end of the year, Peterson was obviously a leader for the Redskins. Players looked up to him, even if he didn't know their name when the year started.

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