The Washington Redskins bolstered their wide receiver corps with the selection of Antonio Gandy-Golden in the fourth round (142nd overall). Here are five things to know about one of the newest Redskins:
1. Gandy-Golden is one of eight players from Liberty to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Despite entering Paulding County High School in Georgia as a 5-foot-9 freshman, Gandy-Golden grew into a 6-foot-3, 195-pound offensive force by his senior year. He made 65 receptions for over 1,000 yards, earning all-region and team MVP. In the Max Preps National High School All-Star game, he racked up 230 yards receiving. ACC and SEC coaches recruited Gandy-Golden, but because he did not participate in summer camps and did not run the 40-yard dash the spring before his senior year, they questioned his speed and therefore did not offer him. So, he ended up choosing Liberty over Elon and Kennesaw State.
Four years later, he became one of the most accomplished receivers in school history, which made him a surefire NFL prospect. Talent evaluators were not going to pass on him this time around.
When the Redskins selected Gandy-Golden in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, he became the eighth Liberty player ever drafted and the first since defensive back Walt Aikens in 2014. Notable Liberty draft picks include Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green (first-round pick in 1990) and running back Rashad Jennings (seventh-round pick in 2009).
2. He was one of the most productive wide receivers in the country last season.
Following a junior campaign of 1,037 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, Gandy-Golden thought about transferring. Liberty coach Turner Gill had stepped down, and there were an abundance of Power 5 schools that would have welcomed his skillset.
But after the hiring of Hugh Freeze -- who had coached first- and second-round pass-catchers like Laquon Treadwell, Evan Engram, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf at Ole Miss -- Gandy-Golden decided to stay at Liberty. And in his lone season under Freeze, he became one of the most productive wide receivers in the country.
Gandy-Golden racked up 1,396 receiving yards across 13 games -- the fourth-most in Division I FBS. His catches (79), yards per catch (19.3) and receiving touchdowns (10) all ranked in the top 20 nationally. And in three games against Power 5 programs, he combined for 17 receptions, 247 yards and a pair of scores.
Gandy-Golden was just as consistent as he was dominant. He finished his collegiate career as Liberty's all-time leader in catches (240), receiving yards (3,814) and receiving touchdowns (33).
3. He's a man of many, many talents.
We know Gandy-Golden can play wide receiver at a high level; that's why the Redskins used one of their fourth-round picks on him.
But what else does he excel at? Well, a lot.
For one, Gandy-Golden can solve a Rubik's Cube in under a minute. He also bowled a perfect 300 about two months after getting into the sport. Plus, he's a juggler, an acrobat, an artist and a soon-to-be guitarist. Thanks in part to these talents, The Athletic's Andy Staples labeled Gandy-Golden as the most interesting player in the 2020 NFL draft.
Don't believe it? Watch the video below:
4. He was one of the best value picks of the NFL Draft.
So, when the Redskins selected Gandy-Golden with pick No. 142, draft experts saw significant value.
Furthermore, Yahoo Sports polled more than 120 college coaches and assistants to find out the biggest draft steals among Group of 5 conference and independents. Gandy-Golden topped the list.
"Very intriguing height-weight-speed prospect who showed noticeable improvements in a number of important areas in 2019," NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft profile of Gandy-Golden. "While his hands were superior in '19, it's possible that focus drops could return with bigger, better players beating on his routes from snap to whistle. When he does catch it, he has an innate ability to add yardage after the catch with his size and agility. Gandy-Golden's route-running is still a work in progress, but his build-up speed, length and ball skills could allow him to develop into a dangerous third-level threat on the next level."
5. He's an ideal complement to Terry McLaurin.
McLaurin, a third-round pick in 2019, used his elite speed and precise route running to put together one of the best seasons by a rookie receiver in Redskins history.
Gandy-Golden is not nearly as fast -- his 4.6-second 40-yard dash ranked outside the top 25 wideouts at the combine -- but he's a big, physical pass-catcher with "good play speed," according to head coach Ron Rivera. In fact, he's the Redskins' tallest and heaviest receiver at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds.
Add in Gandy-Golden's contested-catch rate and blocking prowess, and he's someone the coaching staff believes can contribute right away.
"He's a guy that can make his presence felt," Rivera said. "We believe in the red zone, certain short yardage -- third and intermediate, third-and-three, third-and-seven -- he's a guy that can work the middle for you. He can block, he's a guy that we feel can be a very physical blocker. He's got special teams value as well. So that's how we think a guy like that is going to develop and grow and be a guy that can help impact and participate in what we're trying to do."