- Today’s challenge: find enough...”stuff”...to pull together to avoid dedicating any pixels to the show that shall not be named where a member of the team I love is shirtlessly vying for a championship.
- As we like to do, we are paying a ton of attention this time of year to players on the lower rungs of the roster. The guy seeming to get a lion’s share of that attention is none other than Mr. Irrelevant himself, wide receiver Trey Quinn. In some ways, he reminds me of that character in every sitcom you ever watched—or teeny-bopper rom-com—where an underdog-type guy believes he is going to get the girl despite all signs pointing to her going with the alpha male character. The confidence Trey exudes in his belief that he will make the final 53-man roster has definitely impacted me at this point. I mean, why wouldn’t we get excited about a player who has never and will never see himself as an afterthought of a draft pick? Why would we allow “seventh-round draft pick” to overshadow “nation’s leading receiver” when talking about Trey Quinn? At SMU last season, his 114 receptions, 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns allowed plenty of tape to be created on a football player who looks like...well...a football player. We spend so much time talking about undrafted free agents after the draft is over, that it gets overlooked why you take a guy late in the seventh round. Teams are undoubtedly weighing whether or not guys would accept an UDFA invitation and then have to prioritize who to use the pick on in the last round to ensure they get a guy they like. I would bet the Redskins thought/knew that Trey was going to have every team calling him at the completion of the draft, and they were probably similarly confident that he wasn’t going to choose Washington as his UDFA destination. Front office folks make their careers by getting returns from the late rounds and the UDFA crop, and it says here that we will be tipping our hat to the burgundy and gold front office in years to come thanks to this Quinn kid.
- It should go without saying that the Washington Redskins receiving corps has had some holes in the past. While there have been top-heavy groups in recent seasons (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, etc.), by the time the Redskins were looking for replacements, many fans were checking their programs to find out who was lining up out wide some days. Honestly, not many pundits are going to look at a Washington receiving corps and call it polished from top-to-bottom if the bottom is represented by a Mr. Irrelevant, but if the above point—that Trey is a bona fide football player—is true, then you might be able to see Jay Gruden have full use of his playbook no matter who is healthy on any given day.
- Speaking of a player that we should be paying attention to as someone who comes into the league facing some considerable odds but “could be a major factor,” I give you Shaun Dion Hamilton. This guy checks all kinds of Redskins boxes that seem to be priorities every draft season. Played for the Crimson Tide? Check. Tore a ligament or muscle? Check (blown ACL in 2016). Injury that causes draft stock to plummet? Check (fractured knee cap in November). Starter potential for backup pricetag? Check. Listen, SDH has a long way to go towards his goal of making this team and then working his way onto the field on Sundays. He isn’t predicted to beat out anyone to take over as the starting middle linebacker making the playcalls on the field in September. He still isn’t 100% healthy and out of rehab (yet another box we check each year), but is closing in on 85-90 percent—according to him, he’ll be fully ready for training camp. While his pedigree suggests his chances of contributing on Sundays are better than average, his body has to stand up to that challenge first. This presents an interesting question to me: between Trey Quinn and Shaun Dion Hamilton, which player has a better chance of having a real impact on the 2018 campaign? I can immediately think of reasons why either of these players could lay claim to that one. I will kick that off by placing a chip on Quinn. I am not sure how ready the defensive coaching staff is to insert a rookie into the middle of their defense, while I believe our offensive coaching staff would have less problem lining Quinn up on the outside, trusting both he and Alex Smith to connect appropriately.
- I feel like people roll their eyes when you want to pump up guys out of the lower rounds and undrafted ranks. Roll if you must, but players like Anthony Lanier, Maurice Harris, Rob Kelley, Tyler Catalina and even a Fish Smithson come from solid college programs and take advantage of holes in the roster created by injury or necessary competition. I know I was looking at two guys in particular to compete hard enough to make coaches take notice: Simmie Cobbs, the wide receiver out of Indiana and Sean Welsh, the guard out of Iowa (who has since retired...I had initially said I thought he could have a strong summer, but not from his current position of retirement...hahaha). While the odds are stacked against these kinds of players, any lineman out of Iowa is going to get a long look from me—seeing as we have, you know, some need there. (Note: I had banked this Sean Welsh thing for a while and then didn’t edit it out AFTER the gentleman retired! I will leave this in as a testament to my Monday hangover...these are the hardest days for the Sixpack! Thanks for picking up on this ridiculous oversight! It would be easy to delete this altogether, but that wouldn’t be fair to those who know that I am not perfect and everyone else who knows Welsh’s chances of making this team are...uhhhh...slim.)
- Last discussion-starter of the day, and our jumping off point for tomorrow night’s podcast: who is still out there that you would be willing to give a one-year contract to this season? This question kind of wraps today’s Sixpack well, because it asks you what veteran would you want to come in right now and take the place of a youngster that will get less reps and development as a result of this signing. For my money, I am still living up front. If there is an offensive or defensive lineman that could slot in and play a healthy share of snaps right away, I am likely to go that route. I am content to let the cream rise to the top this summer in the offensive and defensive backfields.
Which players with long odds this summer will fare best when the coaches decide on the Final 53 Redskins?