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Is Wide Receiver Still a Need?

Posted Apr 4, 2012

The Redskins upgraded their wide receiver corps in free agency with Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. In the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft, the team could look at adding a tall wide receiver to the mix, such as Wisconsin's Nick Toon.

The Redskins upgraded their wide receiver corps in free agency with the signings of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan.

Was it enough to solidify the position?

The Redskins were reported to have interest in Eddie Royal in addition to Garcon and Morgan. Royal eventually signed a free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers.

So it appears the Redskins still would consider adding to the position, or at the very least creating more competition.

That’s worth noting with the NFL Draft a little more than three weeks away.

The Redskins don’t have a second-round pick – it was traded to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 pick in the first round. They have a third-round pick, at No. 69 overall, and two fourth-round selections, and wide receiver could be a consideration with one of those picks.

The Redskins’ tallest receivers on the roster are Jabar Gaffney and Leonard Hankerson, both of whom are 6-2 in height. Newcomers Garcon and Morgan come in at 6-0 and 6-1 in height, respectively.

The Redskins could look at adding another taller receiver, particularly for help in the red zone. Remember, Kyle Shanahan made his mark in the NFL coaching five-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson, who is 6-3 in height.

With the Redskins expected to secure a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft, more playmakers could be needed to help in the passing game.

Similar to how wide receivers were signed quickly on the first day of free agency, most of the top-level wide receiver prospects could be drafted quickly.

That means the Redskins can cross off first-round prospects Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, LSU’s Rueben Randle and Baylor’s Kendall Wright.

The Redskins could keep a close eye on several second-round prospects such as South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey, Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and Rutgers Mohammed Sanu.

Jeffery was thought to be a first-round prospect heading into the 2011 college football season, but he has dropped to questions about his ability to break away from cornerbacks.

Listed at 6-2 and 216 pounds, he was limited to just 49 catches last year after posting 88 as a sophomore.

Hill, 6-5 and 215 pounds, wowed everyone at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.36 in the 40.

He played in a quarterback option offense at Georgia Tech and grabbed just 28 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns last season. Despite his lack of productivity, his size and speed warrant attention.

Sanu, 6-1 and 211 pounds, had a breakout season last year for Rutgers, grabbing 115 passes for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns. Like Jeffrey, he lacks elite speed and his initial NFL readiness is a question mark.

Some other prospects to keep an eye on in the mid-rounds include Appalachian State’s Brian Quick, Iowa’s Marvin McNutt, Wisconsin’s Nick Toon, Arkansas’s Joe Adams and Arizona’s Juron Criner.

Quick could be the first Division I FCS player selected in the draft. He has good size at 6-3 and 215 pounds and he steadily improved at Appalachian State. Last season, he grabbed 71 passes for 2,001 yards – a 15-.4 yards per carry average – and 11 touchdowns. He has solid route-running skills but lacks great speed.

McNutt stands at 6-4 and 215 pound. He does not have breakway speed but thanks to long arms he could be a standout possession receiver especially across the middle. He progressed each year at Iowa, finishing with 82 catches for 1,315 yards – 16.0 yards per reception – and 12 touchdowns.

Toon is the son of former New York Jets great Al Toon. Like his father, Nick Toon has good size at 6-3 and 220 pounds. Playing in a diverse Badgers offense, he grabbed 64 passes for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.

Adams and Criner worked with Redskins coaches at the Senior Bowl in January.

Adams does not have great size at 5-10 and 174 pounds, but he has great speed. He posted six catches for a team-high 116 yards in the Senior Bowl and impressed with run-after-catch ability. In four years at Arkansas, he recorded 164 catches for 2,402 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Criner seemed to catch everything thrown his way at the Senior Bowl. He grabbed six passes for 77 yards in the game, including a 20-yard touchdown. He finished his college career with 209 catches for 2,860 yards and 32 touchdowns.



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