Trey Quinn hears his title almost every day. After becoming the last pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the rookie wide receiver earned the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant,” traditionally given to the final draft choice.
With the first week of training camp under his belt, Quinn is being noticed thanks to his playmaking abilities. The fact that he hears his nickname -- one that tells him he won’t make his mark in the NFL -- fuels him to prove everyone wrong.
“You hear it 100 times in a day, unlike any of the other guys,” Quinn said. “It’s not that I don’t like the name. I love it. I love the title of being, ‘oh you’re irrelevant. Get the hell out of here.’ I like it. I want people to doubt me. That’s what drives me. It’s one of those things you can’t eat the same meal your whole life...They can say all they want. I’m not telling them to stop. I don’t want to just make it a name. I want to make it a brand almost. I want to make it a brand from the point of, ‘oh that’s Mr. Irrelevant, leading the league in receiving yards.’ Something like that would be cool to do something with it.”
Quinn is already proving that he can hold his own in professional football, showcasing his abilities when the team is going through the playbook. The former SMU receiving leader has been the primary touchdown target during the Redskins’ red zone segments, often mixing in with the second team. When he got his upgrade, he managed to make a couple of diving catches on Day 7 of training camp.
When Quinn got his chance with the first team on Thursday, he didn't let the opportunity go to waste. The Lake Charles, La., native capped off the first round of the team segment by coming down with a 15-yard reception for a first down, earning a high five and praise from quarterback Alex Smith afterwards.
"Yeah he is fun to watch, he is very smart,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “You don’t catch 115 balls in college unless you don’t have an idea how to get open in zones and they weren’t all bubble screens. He caught option routes, seam balls, double moves from the outside, from the inside, he did a lot of great things at SMU. He has shown his ability to move around, grasp the system, see coverage, adjust, break in and out of cuts pretty effortlessly and really, he has really, really, strong, good hands.
“As good of hands that I’ve seen out of that position," Gruden added. "Big strong hands so really big upside for him right now, we're teaching him mostly slot behind Jamison [Crowder] in case something happens to Jamison, so it's great to have that depth there. He also can return punts but also has the ability to play outside."
The Washington Redskins conducted their seventh day of training camp practice Thursday, August 2, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Not only is Quinn showing Gruden and the rest of the coaches that he belongs in the offense, but he’s also presenting how valuable he can be on special teams. With Crowder taking most of last Friday off, the nation’s leader in receptions per game with 8.8 last year shared reps at returning punts along with wide receiver Maurice Harris. He has also been a regular contributor when the team practices kickoff coverages.
Expecting most of his action on the field with special teams, Quinn is using his time in Richmond to perfect the craft of returning a punt or kickoff.
“It’s all about the reps, man,” Quinn said. “You get out there, we’re out there trying to catch as many balls as possible to where it’s second nature to us. It’s like dribbling a basketball, man. The more you dribble a basketball, the more you feel like it’s an extension of your body. It’s about the reps right now and as it goes along, being able to feel comfortable back there, being able to look up [and] down.
“It’s one of those deals that technique that isn’t perfected by many. Watching like Jamison Crowder do one of those deals, just know where you are in space on punt, it’s pretty cool to watch and something that I need to learn before I get that opportunity.”
Getting in the end zone with ease and making catches like a seasoned veteran, his teammates have been forced to take notice of the seventh-round pick. Running back Kapri Bibbs said that Quinn has similarities to NFL veterans that helped the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl in 2016.
“Trey is a smart kid,” Bibbs said. “He knows leverages He reminds me of Wes Welker. I played with Wes Welker when I was in Denver and he reminds me of him a lot. He knows where to find the holes in defenses. He runs great routes. He’s a great man [coverage] beater. He has great ball skills and a very good possession receiver. He’s up there with the Brandon Stokleys and the Wes Welkers and I’m excited to see what he brings to the team.”