Although wide receiver might not be the top priority for the Redskins, it's essential that they solve the problem during this draft. Here you’ll find 7 prospects that will fit in Washington.
The Redskins receiving corp consists of 1st round bust, Josh Doctson, often injured, Paul Richardson, and a slew of late round/UDFA receivers who have yet to make a significant contribution. Of course, injuries and the instability at quarterback play a big role in the lack of receiver development.
This years’ draft class is viewed as deep, but limited when it comes to Top 20 play-makers. Although Ole Miss DK Metcalf ran a blazing combine forty time and has been viewed as a can't miss play-maker, his film tells a different story. Most college receivers require route running polish, but Metcalf's 7.38 sec 3 cone drill and 4.5 sec short shuttle are concerning. Having straight line speed is valuable in a vertical offense, but more is required for a Top 15 selection. The Redskins need speed at receiver, but more importantly, they need players who can do more than run go-routes.
Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry is another receiver who is projected in the 1st round, but his skill set is similar to Josh Doctson. His route running is limited and the film shows a player who doesn't always give maximum effort.
The real talent in this draft lies in the latter part of Rounds 1-3. The Redskins could consider a wide receiver in Round 1. However, based on the depth and talent in this year’s class, a wiser choice might be to wait.
Day 1 Options
#1 Marquise "Hollywood" Brown 5-9 166 lbs Oklahoma U (1st Round Projection)
Brown is the most explosive pass catcher in this year’s draft. If not for a Lisfranc foot injury, the Oklahoma receiver would be viewed as a Top 10 prospect. Brown missed the combine and OU's Pro Day after his January 2019 surgery, but reports are he'll be ready for training camp. Brown's size is also is a concern to some and another question is how he'd hold up on the next level against elite defensive backs.
Even with the aforementioned concerns, Brown is a game changer and his size has never held him back. In fact, Brown had 18 broken tackles in 2018, which often times led to long touchdown runs. Brown is dynamic when used on bubble screens and excels in space. His two-year production speaks for itself (2,413 rec yards and 17 touchdowns between 2017-2018). It's possible Brown could slip to Washington in Round 2, but unlikely. The OU receiver would give the Redskins the most dynamic receiver they've had since Desean Jackson.
#2 AJ Brown 6-0 226 lbs Ole Miss (1st Round Projection)
Brown might be one of the most underrated prospects in the entire draft. The Ole Miss receiver has been overshadowed by his former teammate DK Metcalf, but Brown offers a more diverse skill set. Brown is a prospect that can play all over the field as an X, Z and even line up in the slot. Brown was twice named to the All ACC First Team registering 2,572 rec yards total yards and 17 touchdowns in his last 23 games.
The Ole Miss receiver is the best route runner in the draft and is fearless with the ball in his hands. Brown's ability to line up all over the field make him a day one plug & play prospect and an ideal replacement for the under-performing Josh Doctson.
#3 Hakeem Butler 6-5 227 lbs Iowa State (Late 1st Round Projection)
Butler's play took the nation by storm in 2018, registering 1,318 rec yards and 9 touchdowns, which nearly doubled his freshman & sophomore statistics. Butler plays the position like a power forward and uses strength & violence to dominate defensive backs.
Drops were an issue at times for Butler, but the Iowa State receiver showed strong hands, routinely making acrobatic catches over defenders. Butler's ability as a deep threat, but also as a feared run blocker, make him an ideal fit in Washington's offense. Having a receiver of this caliber will only help their run game, which features Peterson, Guice and Thompson.
Day 2 Options
#4 Debo Samuel South Carolina 5-11 214 lbs (2nd Round Projection)
Samuel's four year receiving production while at South Carolina left a lot to be desired, which is why many evaluators have him ranked as a Day 2 prospect (2,076 rec yards 16 rec TD's). In saying that Samuel offers an all around game which should translate well to the NFL.
Samuel brings versatility as a special teams returner and willing return coverage gunner. He had one of the best KR averages in the SEC in '17 with 26.9 yards per return. On the opening kickoff of the 2017 season versus NC State, Debo returned the game's opening kickoff 97 yards for the touchdown. He may not be one of the fastest wide receivers in the class, but he's one of the shiftiest.
The Redskins are in need of a play-making receiver and one that also offers blue chip return ability. This should make Samuel a viable option early on Day 2.
#5 Terry McLaurin 6-0 208 lbs OSU (Round 2-3 Projection)
McLaurin has been one of the fastest risers in the draft after his impressive combine performance. The OSU receiver's 4.35 forty-yard dash left many teams and scouts enamored. McLaurin went on to run 7.01 sec in the 3-cone drill and 4.15 short shuttle, which displayed just how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.
The receiver's four-year production isn't impressive (1,251 rec yards 19 TD's), but he showed that he could have a Ted Ginn-like impact at the next level as a home run threat. McLaurin could be a dangerous kick/punt returner on the next level, which only adds to his value. Some evaluators have the OSU receiver as a Day 1 prospect, but that might be a bit too optimistic. McLaurin catches far too many balls with his body as opposed to extending with his hands, which will lead to a lot of batted balls on the next level. If McLaurin somehow makes it to Round 3 the Redskins would get a steal.
#6 Parris Campbell 6-0 205 lbs OSU (Round 2-3 Projection)
Cambell is the second receiver from OSU on this list and led his team with 1,063 rec yards and 12 touchdowns. Although some have Campbell rated higher than his teammate McLaurin, Campbell is more of a one trick pony when it comes to route running. His ability as a home run threat is undeniable and he backed it up at the combine by running a 4.31 sec forty. Finding a role for Cambell in the screen game would surely add more value to his rising stock. The former Ohio HS track star's ability as a deep threat and special team’s returner will surely earn an opportunity for a team looking for downfield speed.
Day 3 Developmental Prospect
#7 Emanuel Hall 6-2 201 lbs Missouri (Round 3-4 Projection)
Hall was Drew Lock's go-to pass catcher in the Tigers offense, averaging over 23.0 yards per catch during his final two seasons at Mizz. The offense struggled when Hall wasn't available. At 6-2 Hall ran an eye opening 4.39 sec combine and displayed impressive vertical ability by jumping 43.5 inches at the combine.
So why isn't Hall in the Day 1-2 discussion with such impressive size/speed and explosive traits? Hall is raw and needs a lot of work with his route running and doesn't excel at contested catches, which is surprising considering his athletic ability.
Hall could be a steal if he does make it to the middle portion of the draft. Every year a prospect is drafted earlier than projected and this year Hall definitely checks the height/speed boxes.
The Redskins will have plenty of options at wide receiver and forcing an early round receiver isn't necessary. The draft boasts a deep class of receivers with speed & athleticism.
Washington would be wise to invest in the position, but clearly, a Round 1 commitment isn't the only option.
By Adam Aniba