The Washington Redskins have been searching for the real deal at wide receiver for years. Since Daniel Snyder bought the team, the team has struggled to draft and develop a stud wide receiver. Coming into the 2019 draft, the team had drafted eight receivers in the top four rounds since 2001. Rod Gardner (2001: first round, 15th overall) had only one 1,000-yard season before flaming out after four years. Cliff Russell (2002: third round, 87th overall) barely saw the field. Taylor Jacobs (2003: second round, 44th overall) never reached 200 receiving yards. Devin Thomas (2008: second round, 34th overall) and Malcolm Kelly (2008: second round, 51st overall) both looked like draft-day steals but each of them busted due to injuries and poor work ethic. Leonard Hankerson (2011: third round, 79th overall) showed some promise but never lived up to his potential. Jamison Crowder (2015: fourth round, 105th overall) is a solid slot receiver who has moved on to the New York Jets after four seasons in Washington. Josh Doctson (2016: first round, 22nd overall) was a total bust who has just been released. The team simply could not draft a good receiver. Enter 2019 rookie third rounder out of Ohio State, Terry McLaurin.
Terry McLaurin Looks Like a Steal for the Washington Redskins
McLaurin was a natural fit for the Skins because he played with quarterback Dwayne Haskins in college, the team’s first-round selection in this past draft. In his senior year at Ohio State, McLaurin showed his ability to stretch the field, catching 35 balls for 701 yards and 11 touchdowns. At 6’0″, 210 pounds with 4.35 speed, McLaurin is a burner with decent size. As a prospect, McLaurin was described as a polished route runner with strong speed who dominated at the Senior Bowl. His weaknesses were identified as his tendency to catch with his body and lack of yard-after-catch ability. McLaurin was viewed as a decent pick due to his established rapport with Haskins and potential to eventually become an NFL starter.
Coming into training camp, the rookie out of Ohio State had an opportunity to ascend up the depth chart due to a lack of top receiving options on the team. He quickly made a big impression on the team’s coaching staff. Wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard described him as a smart, strong and fast receiver with a strong work ethic (Washington Post). McLaurin consistently put on a show throughout training camp, most notably burning veteran cornerback Josh Norman on a double move. The rookie receiver was barely used in the preseason, which showed that the team already viewed him as a starter. His impressive showing resulted in the release of Doctson. Expectations began to rise for McLaurin heading into Week One.
McLaurin burst onto the scene with a dominant performance in his career debut vs. the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, catching five balls for 125 yards and one touchdown on seven targets, including a 69-yard touchdown. His day would have been even bigger if quarterback Case Keenum did not miss him on a pass that would have been another long touchdown. McLaurin played 93 percent of the team’s snaps, so it’s clear that he’s going to have a major role in this offense. This was a dominant debut for a rookie receiver. The last three similar debuts all came from players who have become strong pass-catchers: Will Fuller (five receptions, 107 Yards, one touchdown), DeSean Jackson (six receptions, 106 Yards), and Demaryius Thomas (eight receptions, 97 Yards, one touchdown). It looks like the Skins have finally found a gem at the wide receiver position.