By Adam Aniba
Washington running back J.D. McKissic was on the cusp of signing a deal with Buffalo, but had a last minute change of heart. The Commanders matched the $7 million dollar deal offered by the Bills and McKissic choose to stay in Washington.
Since arriving in Washington for the '20 season, the former Arkansas State WR has been a consistent playmaker after switching to RB. In fact, over the course two seasons in Washington he's recorded 577 rushing yards for 3 TDs, but his impact in the receiving game is why he was a priority to bring bak. Catching 123 balls for 986 yards and 4 TDs over two seasons made him a free agent running back in demand.
Although he missed 6 games in '21, McKissic ranked as a Top 5 RB in regards to target shares in back-to-back seasons (27 games).
Fans experienced a scary moment when the RB went down in Week 12 against Seattle. In the matchup, the RB took a brutal hit to the helmet, which led to him being carted off the field. He was placed in concussion protocol and suffered a neck stinger. In camp thus far, he's shown no lingering effects and continues to look like one of the most explosive players on the field.
In a rep this week while facing LB Khaleke Hudson in red zone drills, McKissic displayed suddenness and his ability as a route runner. The back ran an outside route, faked back inside, Hudson bit on the fake and McKissic broke it back outside for the easy reception.
The running back sells the double move and head fake, better than most of the WR's on the roster.
Running slants in addition to being an extremely reliable checkdown option, has made McKissic extremely valuable to OC Scott Turner's passing game. Although McKissic has become a valuable receiviong option, his value shouldn't be lost as a reliable runner and passing blocking back.
With over 1,300 all purpose yards and 10 total TDs in '21, Antonio Gibson should get more opportunities in the passing game, with more help added to shoulder the load in the run game. The wear and tear was evident on Gibson last season, who took a pounding.
Adding Brian Robinson with McKissic as a change up, should better preserve Gibson throughout the season. Having a 3-headed monster in the backfield, that all boast different skill sets, should significantly help Washington's offense.
McKissic has the opportunity to make more game changing plays this season, considering they've added Carson Wentz and more weapons on offense. The re-signing could go down as one of the most underrated moves in the NFC East this offseason.
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