Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. Hope you enjoyed the last Q&A with The Team 980’s Scott Jackson. It was great to get insider insight from Jackson, who’s also a life long Redskins fan. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s without a doubt a must read! Today the focus will be on the Redskins Undrafted Free Agents. What are some realistic expectations for the Redskins UDFA’s and can they make the team? We’ll go through all that and more, so let’s get to it!
Matt Flanagan 6’5 260 lbs TE Pitt
His Pro Day Forty Yard Dash was timed as low as 4.76, so we aren’t dealing with slow footed prospect. The field intelligence Flanagan displays and potential to be a very good run blocker, certainly shows up on his tape, although limited.
While at Rutgers, the tight end was the used primarily as a blocker. After arriving to Pitt though, Coaches realized that the Two Time Academic All American had potential. Although given limited opportunities to make plays with the ball in his hands, his strait line speed can’t be understated. There isn’t much wiggle/juke to Flanagan, but Redskins fans remember former Skins TE Logan Paulson? Well the former Pitt TE reminds me a lot of Paulson, especially his ability to run block. Both stood 6’5 and tipped the scales at 260 lbs. Both excel at blocking downfield in the run/pass game.
After watching all of Flanagan’s tape, I witnessed a blocker with a nasty streak. Flanagan always looked to be top of his blocking assignments, he actually seems to thrive on driving defenders down field. On a few occasions, Flanagan even threw defenders to the ground while blocking downfield! If he’s not blocking a defender, he finds one without haste.
In the end, Flanagan is perfect for a developmental Tight End and they could stash him on the Practice Squad for a year. The Redskins avoided drafting a TE and Flanagan was the lone UDFA Tight End to be signed. Vernon Davis is on his last legs, Jordan Reed can’t stay healthy and Jermey Sprinkle looks to take the next step in his maturation process this year. So look for Flanagan to develop and possibly get called up mid season to the active roster, when the inevitable injury occurs and a tight end goes to IR.
Quin Blanding 6’2 207 lbs S Virginia
At the time when the piece was written, many in the scouting community had Blanding rated as a potential 4th-5th round draft prospect. Landing the Virgina native as an UDFA was a score!Early-Mid Round prospects were slipping in the Draft all weekend. After 4th Round safety Troy Apke was selected by Washington, they passed on all the remaining safeties. Signing Blanding showed more commitment to the position, that is anything but solidified.
Blanding was named to the All ACC Team during his final two seasons at Virginia. The four interceptions Blanded registered in 2017, displayed his potential to make the game changing play. What stood out on tape to me was his ability to adjust while in the air, which led to his success in the turnover department.
Blanding’s durability during his time at Virginia was impressive, playing in 98% of the team’s snaps through the duration of his collegiate career. As far as his potential to challenge for a starting position in the Skins defensive backfield in 2018, I’d rate those odds as slim to none.
Although I like this kids potential ceiling, at the moment his burst and speed are a concern. I had high hopes for an eye popping Combine performance, but with a 4.63 forty yard dash time and a vertical leap of only 31.5 inches, many teams viewed him as a limited defensive back. At times his lack of explosion showed up on film. Although I don’t understand how Blanding went undrafted, his limitations as a potential Box Safety are there. What I do see on tape is a defender with an endless motor, who should thrive on speical teams. He has the type of never quit attitude, that the Skins desperately need on ST. Playing special teams will help the former Cavalier refine his tackling and pursuit angles, which are his main deficiencies at this point.
I’m looking for Blanding to compete for the 5th Safety spot, that is if the Redskins decide to keep five. If the former Cavalier safety makes the 53 man roster, I believe he’d be a real difference maker on Special Teams and has the ceiling to be a good strong safety.
Simmie Cobbs Jr 6’3 220 lbs WR Indiana
First let’s go through Cobbs Jr’s negatives; Dropped balls & misses on routine catches, doesn’t get separation vs big DB’s. Per reports, the biggest concern among teams was his 2017 arrest. Cobbs Jr was accused of refusing to identify himself to a police officer at a concert while being questioned, as well as refusing to take a breathalyzer. Per individuals close to the situation, issues arose when Cobb Jr refused to talk about his 2017 charges with NFL teams when questioned. It certainly wasn’t a good look for the former Hoosier.
Now for the positives; The film study reviewed a decent route runner, when running free that is. His 32 inch arms are what help him excel for 50/50 jump balls. He has a knack for making acrobatic one hand catches too. He dominated corners under 5’11. His skill set was truly on display vs former Ohio State and current Cleveland Brown cornerback Denzel Ward. Cobbs Jr repeatedly beat Ward over the top, he even had an acrobatic reach around reception in the end zone over Ward for a score.
After watching more film on Cobbs Jr, the bottom line is he looses focus easily and is an undisciplined route runner, especially when a DB is on his hip/playing press coverage. Well unfortunately for the former Indiana receiver, he’ll see that constantly in the Pro’s. Cobbs Jr will have to clean that up quickly, in order to get a shot on the Skins 53 man roster or more likely the Practice Squad. I envision Cobbs Jr, as a player that could be groomed to be a true Red Zone threat on the PS, but if he improves he should get picked up by another team at some point during the season. Personally I can’t get past some of his limitations as a wide receiver, which makes him an ideal candidate to groom at tight end. His timed speed is slow for a wide receiver, but that kind of speed and some added weight make him an ideal conversion project. So as fans we just have to temper our expectations and act as if 2018 is a red shirt year for the young wide receiver.
Cam Sims 6’5 214 lbs WR Alabama
Yes another receiver, but the Alabama pass catcher is I like no other receiver currently on the Redskins roster. Sims comp would have to be former NY Giant WR Plaxico Burress. Sim’s measurable’s and jersey number certainly aided in that conclusion, but his his speed is what separates him. So why did Sims not get drafted? The answer in my mind is simple, Sims simply didn’t get an opportunity to truly shine with the dearth of talent in Bama’s receiving group.
The knock on Sims is his route running and separation, which per NFL evaluators put him in the UDFA realm and was a Combine snub. Personally I didn’t think Burress did any of the above mentioned knocks on Sims well either. Fact is the former Giant receiver always seemed to get his hands on the ball, especially when it came to end zone 50/50 balls. That’s precisely the role, I envision Sims having in Washington. I view him as a quicker/more athletic version of Burress.
Sims Pro Day numbers were impressive. He ran the forty yard dash in 4.59 and had a 34 inch vertical leap. Some might not drool over those numbers, but keep in mind he’s 6’5 214 with room to put on muscle! After watching more film on Sims, I have to admit I was disappointed at first when observing his separation and lack of strength vs smaller DB’s. These are areas that can be refined in the NFL though, especially with current Skins Receivers Coach Ike Hilliard tutoring him.
As far as the knock on his strait line speed and separation, I guess I’m in the minority that believes his lack of tape didn’t emphasize his true ability. Another avid prospect film watcher/B&G Report Reader P-Nice, expressed is desire to see Sims get a real opportunity in Washington during a recent discussion on Twitter.
Personally I had Sims as a 5th-6th Round developmental prospect before the Draft. Post Draft and a lot more film watching, have dramatically changed my opinion on the former Crimson Tide receiver though. Currently Sims is one of two UDFA’s that I have making this team. I had high hopes for current Skins receiver Mo Harris. Harris has the same knocks on on him compared to Simms, especially when it comes to gaining separation from DB’s. Similar to Harris, Simms is a very good run blocker. The main difference is Simms thrives in the blocking game and admits that he loves doing it.
Former Redskins WR and Gruden choir boy Ryan Grant, carved out a niche as the best blocking WR on the team and that’s exactly the role I envision for Sims down the line. As it stands; Doctson, Richardson, Crowder are locks to make the roster. After that it gets a little hazy though. In my humble opinion, I envision 7th round receiver Trey Quinn and last year’s 6th rounder Robert Davis making the team. That brings the number to five wide receivers. I believe the Redskins will go with six, considering that Quinn & Sims are good special teams contributors. So put it down as a B&G Report Bold Prediction, Sims will make the 53 man roster!
Martez Carter 5’7 193 lbs RB Grambling
Now we come to Martez Carter, who most B&G Report readers know is my Diamond in the Rough prospect and is the second B&G Report Bold Prediction prospect to make the 53 man roster. Martel “Mr.Excitement” Carter was featured in a February ’18 B&G Report Reader Request Draft Prospect Spotlight.
The former Grambling back doesn’t lack motivation and was even homeless for a time growing up. He started as a scout team Punt/Kick Returner for the Tigers, but quickly showed why the nickname giving to him by his teammates “Mr. Excitement” would be fitting for the young running back.
As mentioned in the February B&G Report Prospect Spotlight, Carter compares favorably to current Chicago Bears back Tarik Cohen. Carter has a nearly 20 lbs as well and inch plus size advantage over Cohen, but that’s where the differences end when comparing the two backs. Similar to Cohen, Carter showed his athleticism at the Grambling Pro Day. Carter ran the forty yard dash in 4.49 sec, registered a 9 foot 10 inch broad jump and recorded a 36 inchvertical leap. Saying this kid is explosive, would be an understatement! Just like all young backs working on his pass protection will be key. In the end, they’re really isn’t much more to say that wasn’t said in the previous B&G Report column that featured Carter. (See Below)
The fact that Carter is a dynamic punt/Kick Returner, gives him an edge over other competing backs to make the roster. The question is where does Carter fit in Washington, if they decide to keep 4 running backs that is. As it stands at the moment: 2nd Round back Guice, Perine and Thompson are the leading trio to make the 53 man roster. Other than Chris Thompson, the rest don’t play special teams. If Carter’s given a legit shot in Training Camp to show why he was nicknamed Mr. Excitement, he’ll have an opportunity to make the 53 man roster or the Practice Squad.
Thanks for checking out another B&GReport Draft Speical Edition. With Rookie Camp already in motion and Training Camp weeks away, stay tuned for the next B&G Report as we go through the projected Redskins roster and who’s in & who’s out!
Written By Adam Aniba
The Richardsons Effect https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/the-richardson-effect/
3 Camp Stories to Watch https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/camp-edition-3-camp-stories-to-watch/
Quick Hits Edition: 3 Reasons to Believe Anthony Lanier Will Have https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/quick-hits-edition-3-reasons-to-believe-anthony-lanier-will-have-breakout-season/
Supplemental Draft Edition: Is Adonis https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/supplemental-draft-editon-is-adonis-alex
5 Undrafted Free Agents to Watch https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/5-undrafted-redskins-rookie-free-agents-to-