3 Pre-Training Camp Battles To Keep An Eye On
Welcome back to The B&G Report! Training Camp begins July 28th, with Rookie Camp and OTA’s set to begin next week the roster will start to take shape. With Vetran minicamp set to begin June 13th, the competition will be stiff and extremely competitive. Although it’s early in the offseason, it’s never too early to go through some intriguing position battles that will inevitably take place. Three battles in particular have my attention. So without further ado, here we go!
JHC vs Shaun Dion Hamilton
Let’s start off with a competition that involves the team’s depth at ILB. Josh Harvey Clemons aka JHC, will be coming into his second year with the Redskins. JHC was a tweener S/ILB hybrid while at Louisville. The idea was to use JHC as a Dime Linebacker, as well as a backup ILB. At 6’4 226 lbs he looks the part, although he’s lanky an lean. Zach Vigil was another ILB signed in season, due to the rash of injuries they experienced last year. I’ve read multiple reports that the Skins really like Vigil’s potential. Fellow Utah State alum and former Redskin tight end Chris Cooley, agrees the futures bright for Vigil. In saying that, I believe Vigil ends up as the third ILB behind starters Zach Brown & Mason Foster. It would be a surprise to see the Redskins carry 5 ILB’s on the 53 man roster, so JHC could be fighting for his job against another unheralded Alabama rookie.
The Redskins traded up in this year’s Draft to select Shaun Dion Hamilton in the 6th round. The former Crimson Tide Linebacker is viewed by former teammates and coaches, as an extremely cerebral individual with a high football IQ. So why did the the Alabama ILB slip to the 6th Round? Hamilton fell due knee injuries during his final two seasons at Alabama. He tore his ACL 12 games into his 2016 season and missed the final 5 games in 2017, due to a knee cap injury. Hamilton was labeled an injury risk by many draft evaluators. So fast forward to the 2018 Draft. Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden and VP Doug Williams continually stated that they have high hopes for Hamilton. Clemons was a late round selection as well and coaches haven’t had much to say about him, that’s not saying they don’t like his skill set though. Unless Hamilton deals with another significant set back, look for him to beat out Clemons. JHC looks destined for Practice Squad, if in fact they only carry 4 ILB’s this year. It should be interesting battle to keep an eye one in Camp.
Fabian Moreau vs Quinton Dunbar
The departure of Bashaud Breeland left a hole at the #2 spot opposite Josh Norman. Many fans were disappointed that Breeland wasn’t resigned, after failing his physical with Carolina. I understand at a potential one year $1.5 million price tag is unheard of for a young starting caliber corner, but their decision had long term implications. Many believe his attitude and up & down play, was just not worth the headache. It’s not as if Breeland was head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the cornerbacks, although he had some good performances through the years. The Redskins dedicated a 3rd round and 7th round picks in the 2017 Draft, in order to add depth to the cornerback group. Seventh rounder Joshua Holsey showed a lot of grit & toughness last year, he’ll be competing with this year’s 7th round pick CB Greg Stroman. The Va Tech CB looks to have the upper hand on Holsey though, considering his contributions in the return game/Special Teams department.
As for 2017 3rd rounder Fabian Morea, he looks to make a big jump in year two. Draft experts ranked Moreau as a fringe 1st-2nd round prospect, prior to his 2017 Pro Day injury. His draft day slide was the Redskins gain. The former Bruin’s 4.35 forty speed and 38 inch vertical put him in the realm of a prototypical modern day NFL corner. His speed was certainly on display in 2017, unfortunately his time was mostly spent on Special Teams. He had some big hits and always seemed to be the first Redskin down field. Coming out of UCLA, he was viewed as a DB with strong press coverage ability, but was a running back until his freshman year with the Bruins. Many believe he was drafted to replace Breeland. I actually wrote a Dec. ’17 breakdown on him. (Link Below)
His primary competition will be 4th year corner Quinton Dunbar. The former Florida Receiver was converted to cornerback his first year in Washington, after coaches realized his speed and length could be an asset on defense. Dunbar has flashed over his first couple of seasons, including snagging a one handed interception on the Goal Line vs the Giants and Eli Manning. That Goal Line interception ended up being the game saving play. In saying that, Dunbar’s play has been a bit up and down as well. The former Gator is battle tested and his experience gives him the upper hand for the number two cornerback position on the team. In the modern NFL, most teams walk out 3 cornerbacks considering teams are going to more spread/3-4 receiver sets. As it stands now, former Cowboy cornerback Orlando Scandrick seems to have the inside track to replace slot corner Kendall Fuller’s role. I’m not convinced of that though, especially considering Scandrick’s age and I injury history. In my opinion, Dunbar will start the season as the #2 cornerback on the Redskins depth chart, but Moreau will be following closely behind in Quinton’s rear view mirror.
Trey Quinn vs Robert Davis
Now we arrive at one of my favorite camp battles! 2017 5th round selection Robert Davis has gone under the radar and didn’t get a real opportunity to showcase his talent in 2017. Davis was the subject of a B&G Report Rookie Spotlight last year. (Link Below)
Davis has the measurables (6’3 217 lbs) to play either the X or Y receiver positions. Although Davis looks the part, his route running is still raw. What’s hard to deny is Davis’s upside as a superb athlete with phenomenal strength. The Redskins will keep at least 5-6 receivers on the 53 man roster. The current depth chart looks like; Doctson, Richardson and Crowder. The 4th & 5th positions are up for grabs and mainstay WR’s Mo Harris and Brian Quick look to add a veteran dimension to the squad. I believe this is the year of the rookie. Rookies receivers Cam Sims, Simmie Cobbs Jr and most notably Trey Quinn will push the veterans. I’m putting my bets on Quinn to grab the 4th receiver position and possibly replace Crowder in 2019, if he isn’t resigned that is. What Quinn brings to the table is a pass catcher that snatches the ball out of the air with violence, who relies on his instincts to beat coverage. His recent quote showed he’s a player who knows his limitations and how to improve, but makes no excuses.
“I need to work on beating press coverage to be an effective NFL receiver”-Trey Quinn
Quinn has the label as “Mr. Irrelevant“, given to the final selection of the NFL Draft. As previous other mainstream articles stated, Quinn is anything but irrelevant. We are talking about a unheralded prospect who led the nation in receptions. Quinn isn’t a blazer (4.55 Combine forty), but seems to know the route tree needed to succeed. After watching more film and listening to scouts who evaluated Quinn while he played for LSU & SMU, I’ve concluded that Quinn has the potential to be a very good NFL receiver. Redskins coaches are apparently enamored with Quinn’s upside and the potential he flashed during Rookie Minicamp. So I believe Quinn locks down the 4th receiver spot, with Davis battling the rest for a roster spot. Personally I think Quinn will end up being one of Washington’s most productive and reliable targets this year and beyond.
Thanks for checking out another Sunday Edition of The B&G Report. Stay Tuned For more Pre-Training Camp player evaluations, depth chart projections and much more.