Steven Sims

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Position Group Rankings: The excitement for the Redskins receivers is real, but so are the questions

Position Group Rankings: The excitement for the Redskins receivers is real, but so are the questions

After each ranking the Redskins' position groups on a list that went from worst to best, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will now spend the rest of the week and weekend delving deeper into every spot on the roster.

Next up is one that has a lot of inexperience but also a lot of intriguing options: Wide receiver.

Currently on the depth chart: Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Cam Sims, Trey Quinn, Cody Latimer, Darvin Kidsy, Isaiah Wright, Johnathon Johnson, Jordan Veasy, Emanuel Hall, Jester Weah

Who's in charge?: Jim Hostler (20 years of NFL experience, was with the Panthers in 2019)

Quick overview

Right now, receiver looks like Terry McLaurin and a host of supporting characters. However, there's a lot to like about some of those supporting characters.

Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon, for example, really came on late in 2019. Then there's Antonio Gandy-Golden, a Day 3 pick that many pundits have been praising. 

Truthfully, this unit may be one year's worth of additions and improvements away from really taking off, but even so, there's some true excitement about what they'll show in 2019. 


JP's notes

*Not sure this is really a note but I'm just going to leave this here. 

*Dwayne Haskins got asked about his young wideouts. I think the answer is worth noting: "Kelvin is in great shape, he’s running like I’ve never seen him before. Steven looks great."

*I think Gandy-Golden can play, but friend of the pod Josh Norris explained things well when he said that AGG faces a steep learning curve adjusting to life in the NFL after playing college ball at Liberty. Coronavirus and the weirdness of 2020 has made transitioning to the NFL hard for all rookies, but especially a guy going from outside the Power Five in college to the NFC East. 

*Considering the situation with Latimer it's not certain the Redskins open the season with a veteran wide receiver on the roster. Don't believe me? Ask offensive coordinator Scott Turner: "I just want the best players possible. I don’t care if they’re rookies or tenth year guys. We want them to compete and then whoever is the best guy and, again, we feel like gives us the best chance to win, we’ll put him out there." Be clear about this Redskins fans -- this staff will not be scared of playing young guys.  

*Yes, Haskins worked out with Antonio Brown. No, that doesn't mean the Redskins will sign the tempermental wideout. Don't believe me? Ask head coach Ron Rivera: "I know who Antonio Brown is. I know he is a great player and an impact guy. He is also a veteran guy and we have some guys that we have to find out about. That is the approach. We want to see what we have." Rivera very politlely explained that the Redskins are in a rebuild, want to see what they've got with young guys, and won't be in any Brown sweepstakes. 

*Third-round rookie Antonio Gibson might be a running back, but he might be a wideout, too. This quote from Turner on Gibson stuck with me: "You can label him as a running back, you can call him whatever you want, but he played 80 percent of his snaps as receiver in Memphis. He’s a little bit of a guy that can give you some versatility offensively." Gibson is a big play waiting to happen and it looks like Washington's play-caller will be creative finding ways to get him the ball. 


Pete's notes

*If there is one area I want to see McLaurin do better in as a second-year target -- and let's be real, there's not much to choose from in terms of places he can improve in -- it's taking over games. McLaurin caught more than five balls just twice as a rookie and he surpassed 100 yards three times in 14 contests. Stars like Michael Thomas and Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins will consistently dominate on a given afternoon, often hauling in 10-plus receptions and showing defenses they won't be stopped no matter how much coverage is sent their way. McLaurin has the talent and the smarts to reach that kind of level in Year 2. Let's see if he's able to crank out a few performances that really make people take notice.

*Hello. Hi. Sup. This is me telling you to get hip to Sims now before it becomes a mainstream movement. He finished last year with 23 catches for 259 yards and four scores in Washington's last six matchups, and he's going to be even more of a problem in 2020 because he should be involved from the opener and will continue to grow alongside Dwayne Haskins. Sims' shiftiness is rare; it just is. So, go tell everyone you know to start paying attention to him immediately.

*I envision Gandy-Golden eventually having a more fruitful career than Harmon in terms of catches, yards and touchdowns, but Harmon may outdo Gandy-Golden in 2020. Harmon and Haskins really understand each other -- they've actually been friends longer than Haskins and McLaurin -- and that's a rapport Gandy-Golden can't match. In addition, the Liberty draftee's transition to the NFL will be even more daunting because he'll have fewer offseason reps to get used to life as a pro. For those reasons, don't be surprised if Harmon's stats are better than Gandy-Golden's by December. That said, Gandy-Golden should find his footing as the schedule moves along and he'll make his mark for the Redskins, too.

*Beyond McLaurin, Sims, Harmon and Gandy-Golden, it's pretty hopeless. I can't overlook that. The two things I'll say to try to make you feel better, though, are 1) There are veteran wideouts still out there the Redskins could sign if they want to and 2) the fifth (and, if Rivera wants to keep this many, sixth) receivers aren't really asked to do much on offense outside of an emergency. Those guys are the ones who pitch in on special teams and see a snap or two in certain packages. So, yes, that part of the roster is unsightly, but it's also a part of the roster that won't be featured prominently at all.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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WATCH: Dwayne Haskins throws a dart to Steven Sims during Friday workout

WATCH: Dwayne Haskins throws a dart to Steven Sims during Friday workout

While coaches and staffs across the NFL were allowed to report to team facilities for the first time in months on Friday, the league has yet to allow players to return just yet.

But not being able to work out at Redskins Park has not stopped second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins and some of his receivers from getting some work together during this pandemic-ridden offseason. Just last week, the QB posted a picture of him with three of his fellow second-year veterans, wideouts Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims Jr. and Kelvin Harmon.

On Friday, Haskins was seen throwing deep passes to Sims, and popular burgundy and gold fan page Redskins Today reposted the footage on Twitter.


On this route, Haskins hits Sims perfectly in stride on a vertical route down the seam, and the second-year receiver caught the pass perfectly in stride. Sims had a fantastic end to the 2019 season and the undrafted wideout could play a much bigger role for Washington next season.

Haskins, too, is expected to make a significant jump in his second season. New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera has stated he intends to enter training camp with Haskins as the starter, and the quarterback has used this offseason to get into, in his words, "the best shape of [his] life."


Videos from the workout were documented on filmmaker Joey White's (@officialjoeyw) Instagram story.

Redskins fans hope the extra work Haskins and his receivers are putting in this offseason will translate to success on the field, as Washington finished 31st in total offense and dead last in points per game last season.


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Steven Sims is an under-the-radar name in the NFL. Here's why that'll change in 2020

Steven Sims is an under-the-radar name in the NFL. Here's why that'll change in 2020

Some people — like most Redskins fans, the most desperate fantasy football players and, well, his family — are well aware of who Steven Sims is. 

Once this season comes and goes, however, far more folks will know of, and appreciate, Washington's receiver. That's because he's going to build off a quietly impressive rookie campaign and have a really nice 2020 for the Burgundy and Gold.

And as that's happening — like, for example, when he has six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown in, say, Week 3 against the Browns, and you're at your buddy's house and he says something like, "Damn, who is this Sims dude?" with a surprised look on his face while you, on the other hand, aren't surprised at all because you read this story, so you just sit there smugly and eat his mediocre dip  — just remember who tipped you off.

OK, now that that's been established, let's explain why this much optimism exists about the 23-year-old's future. 

In 2019, it took Sims a while to crack the lineup. His first head coach, Jay Gruden, had a job to worry about, so even though Gruden made the call for Sims to make the roster coming out of the preseason, giving him real playing time was an entirely different conversation. In Gruden's five games in charge, Sims saw just 52 offensive snaps, and 31 of those came in Week 5 against New England (where he scored his first TD and hinted at his unique explosiveness).

After Gruden was fired, Bill Callahan assumed command and actually showed even less interest in trusting the Kansas product. In the team's next five contests, Sims trotted out with the offense for just 24 plays. Of course, it's not like the Redskins needed another threat during that stretch because they were just rolling their opponents (they scored 17, 0, 9, 9 and 17 points in this span, so the unit was obviously clicking).

Finally, thankfully, fortunately, from Week 12 on, Sims was given a chance to contribute outside of returning kicks and he largely delivered. In the Redskins' last six matchups, Sims caught 23 balls (he had 11 in Weeks 1-11) for 259 yards (compared to the 51 yards he had totaled in the two and a half months before) and four touchdowns.


If you extrapolate those numbers out to a full schedule, that adds up to a 61-grab, 690-yard effort with a whole bunch of scores. Not bad for an undrafted guy from a basketball school, huh?

It goes beyond the fact that Sims simply produced, too. It was how he produced. Honestly, describing some of the patterns he ran as "lightning quick" would be an insult to the wideout, not the weather phenomenon:

Per Pro Football Focus, Sims was targeted on almost 25-percent of his routes last year, which was the seventh-best output at his position. For those who don't necessarily pay attention to PFF's metrics, that essentially says that Sims was getting open on a regular basis, and Dwayne Haskins rewarded him for that work by going in his direction a ton.

So, there is Sims' first go-round in the NFL summed up in a handful of paragraphs. His overall stats — 34 catches, 310 yards and four scores — don't suggest much, but if you evaluate only when he was truly relied upon, you'll see that's when he peaked and that's when he showed his rare quickness, shiftiness and craftiness.

Those things on their own are reason to expect more out of Sims in 2020. What's even more encouraging is that his skill set is now in the hands of new offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

Turner has already stated that he'll use the best weapons he has on offense regardless of age and experience, so Sims should have plenty of opportunities to thrive beginning in Week 1. That'll be a huge difference from 2019, when he had to bide his time on the sidelines until late November.

Turner's also coming from an offense in Carolina that made a point to quickly get the ball to pass-catchers like Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel and then let them do damage in space. That should also benefit Sims.

To be fair, there are still facets of Sims' game that need to be improved on. He made some very difficult catches as a first-year pro, but as a whole, he needs to be more consistent with his hands. He's always going to be one of the smaller players on the field, meanwhile, so he'll have to continue to refine the ways in which he creatively finds space since he'll never really do so with his physicality.  

As long as Sims sharpens those aspects and adapts well to Turner's scheme, though, he's going to keep shining. He just is.

His rookie rise coincided with the part of the Redskins' season where nearly everyone had tuned out, so most people aren't fully aware of what he can do yet. But that will change, and soon. 

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