Redskins.com’s Stephen Czarda answers YOUR questions submitted on Twitter about the Redskins' roster and more as free agency continues and the NFL Draft is close.
Big E asks: What are we going to do with the Cornerback and WR position #HailMail
While the Redskins have been methodical in their approach to free agency so far, Washington has added to both the wide receivers and cornerbacks rooms with the signings of Paul Richardson Jr. and Orlando Scandrick.
Additionally, the Redskins also signed cornerback Quinton Dunbar to a multi-year contract extension on Jan. 1.
Dunbar along with Fabian Moreau will likely be the two to replace Bashaud Breeland, who currently remains an unrestricted free agent after the Carolina Panthers announced last week that the 2014 fourth-round pick of the Redskins had failed a physical.
Washington’s coaching staff has spoken highly of both Dunbar and Moreau.
Dunbar, of course, transitioned over to cornerback from wide receiver during his rookie season in 2015. While he spent most of his first three seasons in Washington in a reserve role, the University of Florida product has started eight games in his career. During the 2017 season, he started four games while both Breeland and Josh Norman dealt with injuries.
“I think Quinton Dunbar is an exciting, young prospect,” Gruden said in January. “To only be playing cornerback for a couple years in his life and you see the progression he’s made at such a rapid rate, I think to let him walk in free agency would be a mistake. I think the skill set that he has with his length and his speed is a rare combination and he’s only going to get better.”
Moreau, meanwhile, only played 59 defensive snaps during his rookie season but the 23-year-old has the potential to be an impact player at the cornerback position.
“He’s got a great skill set to do whatever you want him to do,” Gruden said last month. “He’s physical and can run really, really fast, so I’m excited to see him with more opportunity and more reps.”
How Scandrick fits in remains to be seen, but the 5-foot-10, 196 pounder could help fill the nickel corner role with Kendall Fuller leaving in the Alex Smith trade. He played in that spot during his last few seasons with the Cowboys, but will also compete with Dunbar and Moreau to get playing time on the outside.
“I’m just looking forward to coming in and fitting in and doing whatever I need to help the team win,” Scandrick said this week.
As for the wide receivers, the Redskins believe that Richardson will complement Josh Doctson due to his game-changing speed. Last season, Richardson averaged 16 yards per reception.
“That’s a dimension that people say we didn’t have but it’s good to have another guy that can run 4.3, not many people can,” Gruden said of Richardson’s speed. “I remember him coming out of Colorado and he was a blur on the screen. But the thing like he mentioned before is very exciting, he attacks the football, he’s not just a little guy that runs fast. When the ball’s up in the air he goes and gets the ball and attacks it and takes advantage of his opportunities.”
While Richardson is a newcomer for the offense, Gruden also believes that both Maurice Harris and Robert Davis can take steps up after they spent the majority of 2017 on the practice squad.
After being called up to the active roster in November, Harris’ first catch of the year was one of the best any player made throughout the league during the season, a fully-extended, one-handed touchdown from 36 yards out. But the University of California product would catch just three more passes the rest of the year.
Davis received an active roster call-up but suffered a concussion in his debut against the Denver Broncos. While he didn’t record a catch as a rookie, Davis impressed throughout his time on the practice squad.
“He’s worked extremely hard,” Gruden said. “He runs every route like it’s his last route on scout team and he’s been producing big time when he’s asked to do it.”
*Wes Tate asks: Is there any way we still draft a QB this year with Alex Smith coming in? If so who? #HailMail *After the Redskins officially traded for Alex Smith last week, Washington inked a contract extension with the three-time Pro Bowler. That means the soon-to-be 34-year-old will be the Redskins’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
“It’s not easy to find quarterbacks this day and age, there aren’t many in the world and to have a guy that has performed like he has over his career, with the consistency that he has, the last five years I think he’s won 50 games, there’s only two or three other guys who have done that,” Gruden said. “So to have the opportunity to even get a chance at is something we had to take advantage of and we did.”
While Smith will take over as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, the team has noted that they could take another quarterback at some point in this year’s NFL Draft.
Colt McCoy has been Washington’s backup quarterback over the last three seasons and Gruden has continually expressed confidence that the University of Texas product can succeed if in the lineup. But the 31-year-old is entering the final year of a reported three-year deal.
The Redskins also signed Stephen Morris to a Reserve/Future contract in January, but he has never taken a regular season rep.
While Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield have been projected high first round picks in most mock drafts, the Redskins could look to the later rounds to bring in a rookie quarterback. Quarterbacks like Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta and Washington State’s Luke Falk could go in the middle rounds while Western Kentucky’s Mike White and Nebraska’s Tanner Lee could go in the late rounds.
“I think last year, unfortunately, we didn’t have the ability to carry three with all the injuries we had and all of the guys that were inactive that were hurt, we didn’t have the ability to carry three,” Gruden said. “If we have that ability, we can maybe add one later in the draft or a free agent-type guy to come in and compete.”