The 2016 season saw Kirk Cousins break his own franchise single season passing record by throwing for 4917 yards, with a 67 percent completion percentage. There were two 1000 yard receivers on the other side of those passes - Pierre Garcon (79 receptions for 1041 yards) and DeSean Jackson (56 receptions for 1005 yards).
The 2017 off-season saw the departure via free agency of those top two receivers. The 6'0" 210 pound, soon-to-be 31 year old Garcon headed out west to San Francisco to be reunited with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now the head man of the 49ers. Jackson, who will be 31 by season's end, took a nice chunk of change to head south to Tampa Bay, where he will form a dangerous duo with incumbent Mike Evans.
Replacing the production of Garcon and Jackson will not be easy, but the Redskins have set themselves up with some very dangerous weapons at the position.
In a rather surprising pull, the Redskins were able to lure Terrelle Pryor away from the Browns on a one year deal. Pryor, who is coming off his first full year as a wide receiver in the NFL, caught 77 balls for 1007 yards and 4 touchdowns on an anemic Cleveland offense last season. At 6'4" 228 pounds, the 28 year old former quarterback boasts 4.3 speed and the body to take a hit across the middle. He is still honing his skills as a wide receiver, so the sky is the limit, especially with a good quarterback throwing him the football.
Opposite Pryor, the Redskins will see 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson manning the post left by Jackson. The 6'2" 206 pound Doctson has fluid speed, a large catch radius, amazing body control in the air, and exceptional leaping ability. He was widely considered the top receiver in the 2016 draft, and after missing his rookie year with a lower leg injury, he will be eager to prove himself to the organization.
In the slot, the Redskins have one of the league's best young receivers in Jamison Crowder. The diminutive third year player led the Redskins receivers in touchdowns last season with 7, while catching 67 passes for 847 yards. His numbers are expected to rise this season as head coach Jay Gruden says he plans to line Crowder up all over the field. It would not be surprising in the least to see Crowder eclipse the 1000 yard mark in 2017.
Aside from the top three, the Redskins will return another key contributor in second year receiver Maurice Harris. The 6'3" 200 pound former Cal Bear showed very nicely down the stretch in 2016, recording 8 receptions for 66 yards; many coming at key times in games. He is also a willing and effective down-field blocker.
Overall, the Redskins receiving corps got younger, cheaper, much bigger and more physical. Red Zone fades, a favorite of coach Gruden's, may actually work with this group!
I feel with the upside of the four previously mentioned, and the additions of newcomers such as veteran Brian Quick, and rookie Robert Davis, will propel this group to new heights, and make this offense even more dangerous than it was last year. The redzone woes that plagued the team, could become a thing of the past.
Will the new additions, plus the maturation of some younger veterans, make the 2017 receiving corps better than last year's group...only time will tell.