The Redskins go into OTAs with competition for jobs and depth chart position at several spots on the field. Over the next week, Redskins insiders Rich Tandler and J.P. Finlay look at how these competitions stand right now and they each make the case for a potential winner.
The contenders... The Redskins lost more than 2,000 receiving yards this offseason with the departure of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. The arrival of Terrelle Pryor should offset at least half of that, but that still leaves a big hole in the offense for Kirk Cousins. Can Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis do more from the tight end spot? Maybe. Will more be expected from Jamison Crowder in the slot? Certainly. And 2016 first-round selection Josh Doctson needs to deliver on his draft position - and stay healthy.
Still, beyond Pryor, Doctson and Crowder the Redskins have more questions than answers at receiver.
After signing Pryor, Washington also signed Brian Quick to a one-year deal this offseason. A five-year veteran with the Rams, Quick has good size and speed but never produced to the level of his draft status, a second-round pick in 2012. While he has never played with a quarterback on par with Cousins, it's hard to know what to expect from Quick. The best season of his career came in 2016 when he grabbed 41 catches for 546 yards. That would have ranked sixth on the 2016 Redskins.
Ryan Grant will return for the 'Skins, but his career stats suggest a marginal NFL player. Jay Gruden likes Grant, respects his work ethic and his play on special teams. But is Grant a roster lock? Hardly. Maurice Harris should also be back. A former practice squad player that coaches always talk up, Harris could potentially push for a roster spot out of camp. The Redskins spent a sixth-round pick on Robert Davis out of Georgia State. A physical specimen at 6-foot-3 and 220 lbs with blazing speed, Davis will be raw and inexperienced but dripping with potential.
And the winner is...
Finlay: It's hard to have a winner when the question is unclear. Assuming Doctson is healthy and can go full speed Week 1, the Redskins receiving group should be solid. Pryor should improve on 2016's stats, where he went for more than 1,000 yards, and this could also be the season Crowder gets over 1,000 yards. If Doctson can get to or around the 800 yard mark, Cousins and the Skins offense should be fine.
Further down the roster, I would guess Harris makes the team. And if Davis can show enough in camp, maybe he has a chance for the practice squad. Quick and Grant will likely round out the roster, and probably also land in that order on the depth chart.
One name to watch this summer: Maryland undrafted free agent Levern Jacobs. At 5-foot-11 and 185 lbs., Jacobs has the size to play in the slot. The Redskins lack a real backup for Crowder, especially as the team made a concerted effort this offseason to get bigger at the wideout spot. It might be a long shot, but between his size, attitude and a few flashes of ability at Redskins rookie camp, Jacobs is firmly on the radar for the Redskins coaching staff.
I liked the little bit I saw out of Jacobs during rookie camp. I think he is more of a practice squad candidate than a threat to make the 53-man roster but he will be interesting to watch.
On to the bigger picture, the numbers indicate that some jobs are in danger. They are likely to carry six receivers; that has been the standard number since Jay Gruden has been here. Pryor, Doctson, and Crowder are locks. That leaves Quick, Grant, Davis, and Harris competing for three jobs.
How do they line up? Down the stretch last year, Harris was the preferred option as the fourth receiver. From Week 13 on he played 73 snaps while Grant played 45, with 30 of those coming in one game. While Harris caught just eight passes, he improved as a run blocker, which is one of Grant’s calling cards. Harris should start off as the first option off the bench; it will be up to him to hold on to the job.
That would leave Grant, Davis, and Quick in the mix for two spots. Quick’s one-year free agent deal had only $80,000 in guaranteed money so it would be relatively painless to move on from him if he doesn’t earn a spot. At 6-3 Davis fits in the tall receiver mode that the Redskins now prefer. If the Redskins think that he and Quick can be more productive than Grant, who caught just nine passes in 16 games last year, Grant could be the odd man out.
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