Redskins

Redskins

The Redskins lost a lot in the offseason at the receiver position.

DeSean Jackson took his vertical speed and 1,000 yards receiving to Tampa Bay via free agency. Pierre Garçon took his toughness, play making and his 1,000 receiving yards to San Francisco

It became clear the Redskins were moving on from both players early in free agency, and neither exit was a surprise.

To offset the loss the Redskins brass signed Terrelle Pryor away from Cleveland. Pryor, playing with a collection of bad passers in 2016, still put up 1,000 receiving yards last season and could have a breakout in 2017 playing with Kirk Cousins.

All of this leads to a series of rankings published by Bleacher Report. Including tight ends, every NFL team's pass-catching group was ranked, and the Redskins landed quite low on the list. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

How low? 26th out of 32 teams. The author Doug Farrar explained:

Losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency? Those were two major hits to a Washington offense that came together well in 2016, including quarterback Kirk Cousins’ best season by far. But contractual drama with Cousins left little on the table for his best offensive weapons, and with those two top targets out the door, Cousins—who relies on his receivers to make plays—could be severely impacted.​

 

Farrar went on to explain that Pryor should help the offense, as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Reed, however, is too injury prone for Farrar, as well as 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson. 

Here's the thing: Farrar isn't wrong about much specifically, except he's wrong about the overall ranking. 

Jamison Crowder is an established slot man that could very well post 1,000 yards this season. Barring injury, Pryor seems certain to go over 1,000. The tight end position, between Reed and Davis, will go for another 1,000, just like it did last year.

Jay Gruden has made clear the Redskins offense runs through Reed, so with better health in 2017, he could again approach his 2015 totals of 87 catches, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Doctson remains a question, certainly. Missing the team portion of OTAs last week will do little to calm Redskins' fans fears about the second-year pro out of TCU. Still, he has a ton of talent if he can get on the field, something he and Gruden are confident will happen this fall.

Further down the Washington roster at wideout, while there is potential, there is hardly any production. The staff likes Mo Harris and Ryan Grant, and took a flier on 2012 second-round pick Brian Quick in free agency and drafted Robert Davis in the 6th round. But those options won't make defensive coordinators lose any sleep, and might even lay the groundwork for the team to check out recently released free agent Jeremy Maclin.

But, regardless of the Redskins inexperience in their fourth and fifth WR spots, this ranking is still too low. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Reed is arguably the best tight end in football, and is certainly no worse than third at the position. Pryor could be great this fall, and will very likely be good. Crowder's receiving totals improved by nearly 250 yards from his rookie season in 2016 to last year. Another similar improvement would land him with more than 1,000 yards and double digit TDs. 

Just based on those three players, the Redskins probably belong in the Top 20. And that's before Doctson's unique situation even gets considered. 

It's cherry picking, yes, but Farrar ranked the Buffalo Bills receiving group five spots ahead of the Redskins. The Bills top three pass catchers, per Farrar, are Sammy Watkins, rookie Zay Jones and tight end Charles Clay.

Watkins, despite spending his whole career at WR and being a Top 10 pick, has the same amount of 1,000 yard seasons as Pryor. One. Jones (ed. note: a rookie I really like) and Clay have done nothing close to the production of Crowder and Reed. 

 

Want another example?

The Vikings receiving group ranked 18th on this list, eight spots ahead of Washington. 

Their top three pass catchers, not necessarily in order, would likely be Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. Show me the personnel man that would take that group over Pryor, Reed and Crowder. 

These rankings are a hypothetical list, done for speculation and ultimately a fun way to compare things for fans. The Redskins seem far too low, but that doesn't mean the group belongs in the Top 10 either.

Beyond Pryor and Crowder, there is no established player in the Redskins receiving group. Gruden and company seem quite confident in their young pass catchers. This season they will get the chance to prove if they're right. 

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