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Redskins In Richmond — Wide Receivers

Posted Jul 21, 2014

With training camp set to begin later this week, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the current state of the Redskins' roster. Today's focus is on wide receivers.

With training camp set to begin later this week, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the current state of the Redskins' roster. Today's focus is on wide receivers.

The Redskins enter training camp at the Bon Secours Training Center with perhaps the best wide receiver unit in the NFL.

Headlined by Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, the Redskins have a deep, talented corps also featuring the likes of seasoned veteran Santana Moss, two fourth-year players in Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson, an up-and-comer in Andre Roberts and several rookies.

With quarterback Robert Griffin III’s dual-threat capabilities, running back Alfred Morris appearing poised to have another Pro Bowl caliber season and tight end Jordan Reed having a full offseason to get healthy, the wide receiving corps could be the crux on which offense’s success lies.  

ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S):
-- Joshua Morgan (unrestricted free agent; signed with Chicago)
-- Josh Bellamy (unrestricted free agent; signed with Chicago)
-- David Gettis (unrestricted free agent; signed with Tampa Bay)

KEY ADDITION(S):
-- DeSean Jackson (free agent)
-- Andre Roberts (free agent)
-- Ryan Grant (NFL Draft)

CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson enter 2014 coming off career years in 2013.

Fully recovered from several injures that plagued his 2012 season, Garçon was one of the most consistent players in the NFL last season.

Starting with a seven-catch performance in Week 1 vs. Philadelphia, Garçon would record at least five catches in every game en route to a total of 113 — the most ever by a Redskin in a single-season.

Jackson signed with the Redskins on April 2 after spending his first six NFL seasons with the Eagles. An explosive player who can take the top off any defense, the former University of California Bear set career highs in receptions (82), receiving yards (1,332) and touchdowns (9) in 2013.

Known for being a burner, Jackson also has 18 touchdown receptions of 30 yards or longer in his career.

Andre Roberts joined the Redskins this offseason after four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. One of the reasons Washington signed Roberts on the first day of free agency was his effectiveness both outside and in the slot.

During his stint in the desert, Roberts hauled in 182 balls for 2,123 yards and 11 touchdowns. Also, the former Citadel star has previous success against the NFC East, as his first 100-yard game came against Dallas in 2010.

The eldest member of the unit is Santana Moss, who is entering his 10th season with the Redskins and 14th overall.

While many of his 2001 NFL Draft classmates are no longer in the league, Moss continues to impress with his elite route running ability and leadership.

Head coach Jay Gruden said that Moss was commonly the first player on the field and the last to leave during offseason activities.

Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson, 2011 Draft classmates, also enter 2014 as veterans.

Robinson, like Jackson, has the ability to stretch the field. In his first three seasons, the former Southern Methodist star has four touchdown receptions of 40 yards or longer.

Hankerson had early success for the Redskins last season, hauling in two touchdowns in the season opener, and appeared on track for a career year before a torn lateral collateral ligament (LCL), suffered in Week 11 vs. Philadelphia, derailed his season.

He has been very active rehabbing his knee during the offseason, but a timetable for complete return to the field is still unknown.

In the fifth-round of this year’s NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Tulane wideout Ryan Grant.

Grant comes to Washington after a very productive career with the Green Wave, where he had 21 touchdown receptions in 34 games. After one of the rookie minicamp practices in late May, head coach Jay Gruden said that Grant “plays like a 10-year veteran” with his precise route running and high football IQ.

Rounding out the receiving corps is Nick Williams, a second-year player who recorded three receptions after being called up from the practice squad before Week 11, Jerry Rice Jr., Lee Doss, Cody Hoffman, Rashad Lawrence and Rashad Ross.

Rice Jr, the son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, split his time as a college player between UNLV and UCLA.

Doss was integral part of Southern University’s offense from 2011-13, recording 2,285 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.

Hoffman joined the Redskins in the offseason after shattering several receiving records at BYU. In total, the 6-4 receiver recorded 260 receptions for 3,612 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Lawrence had more than 1,000 yards during his career at Northwestern, while Ross finished his career at Arizona St. in 2012 with a three touchdown performance vs. Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.  

WHAT TO WATCH:
While Garçon and Jackson appear locked into the starting lineup, the rest of the depth chart can play out in a variety of ways.

If asked, Roberts and Moss have experience in the slot, while Grant is a player the coaching staff is very high on.

Hankerson and Robinson are two players to keep an eye on as well. While Hankerson may not be ready to go at first, Robinson had a great training camp last season that springboarded him to a career-high in receiving yards.  

During Gruden’s three seasons as offensive coordinator for Cincinnati, the Bengals kept six receivers on the 53-man roster.    

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