With the NFL Draft completed, Redskins.com is breaking down the team's roster as it prepares for the 2020 campaign. Here are the positions that have been covered so far:
Next up are the wide receivers. Terry McLaurin comes into his second season as the clear-cut No.1 receiver after having one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history. The team also has former undrafted free agent Steven Sims Jr. and 2019 sixth-round pick Kelvin Harmon, both of whom had solid seasons after injuries ravaged the position.
The Redskins needed more depth and leadership at the position, so they brought in veteran Cody Latimer in free agency and drafted Antonio Gandy-Golden with a fourth-round pick. Trey Quinn, who ended last season on Injured Reserve, is also making a return, while Cam Sims is entering his third season. They also brought in a pair of receivers -- Johnathon Johnson and Isaiah Wright -- as undrafted free agents.
- Paul Richardson
- Cody Latimer
- Antonio Gandy-Golden
- Johnathon Johnson
- Isaiah Wright
One of Ron Rivera's first actions as head coach was to determine who on the Redskins' roster could be considered "core players," and, unsurprisingly, McLaurin was among them.
"I get excited about a young man that was a rookie who played as much as he did, had as much success as he did," Rivera said during Super Bowl week in Miami. "Now you go, 'OK, it's not too big for him.'"
None of McLaurin, Sims or Harmon were signed to be the top receiver threats in 2019, but that's exactly what they all became by the end of the season by combining for 1,594 yards and 11 touchdowns. What's more, PFF recently listed McLaurin as one of its top 25 players under 25 years old.
Still, the Redskins needed to address two issues with its receiving corps heading into the offseason: veteran leadership and a legitimate No. 2 receiver. The checked off the first one by bringing in the 27-year-old Latimer from the New York Giants. Latimer has had limited action in six seasons, but he is coming off a career-high 300 yards and two touchdowns.
As for picking up a player to compliment McLaurin, the Redskins waited until Day 3 of the NFL Draft to take Liberty's Gandy-Golden. Gandy-Golden is four inches taller and 13 pounds heavier than McLaurin, and he was known for being a reliable target with three 1,000-yard seasons with the Flames.
Despite the extra size, Gandy-Golden has plenty of athleticism. He averaged 17.7 yards per catch in 2019 and knows how to win battles with defensive backs for contested passes.
"Even coming out of high school, that was my thing," Gandy-Golden said on a Zoom conference with local media. "So, transitioning into college, I just got better at it. During the game not every ball I get is going to be wide open, so just for the quarterback to be confident enough to throw it to me I feel like I have to come down with it."
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Of all the position groups on offense, the receiving corps is arguably the one that brings the most excitement. McLaurin, Sims and Harmon turned out to be pleasant surprises last year, and they could be the foundation of the position for years to come.
The true battle is going to be for the starting spot opposite McLaurin. Gandy-Golden could claim that role immediately, but he is at a disadvantage when it comes to experience and familiarity with Dwayne Haskins Jr. He will likely still be a featured piece even if he doesn't earn the spot, but both Sims and Harmon already have an established relationship with the starting quarterback.
There are also questions as to how Quinn and Latimer will fit into the offense. Latimer might not earn one of the top four spots on the roster, but he will still be an invaluable asset to Washington's young receivers by being a veteran presence in the locker room.
Quinn, on the other hand, has been on and off Injured Reserve throughout his career. He was a solid slot receiver when healthy last year, and at age 24, he's the second-oldest receiver on the roster behind Latimer. He's caught 55% of the passes thrown in his direction, so he's shown flashes over the course of two seasons that he can be a useful weapon.
Rivera wants to cultivate competition at every position, and they have certainly done so with the receivers. That strategy guarantees that whomever become the starters will be the best Washington has to offer among a young and talented group.