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Roster battle: Assessing the competition among Redskins wide receivers thru two preseason games

Robert Davis is lost to injury, leaving a heated battle for the final roster spots among the receiving corps

NFL: Washington Redskins at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Although many people might not have predicted it in late April, the battle at the wide receiver position is turning out to be perhaps the most competitive in Redskins Training Camp and preseason this year.

Over the weekend, we posted articles on Hogs Haven that looked at the competition among young players for punt & kick returner and running back.

Today, we’ll look at the competition among some promising receivers, most of them young, who are fighting for the backup positions behind Doctson, Richardson and Crowder, whom most fans would agree are locks to make the Redskins 53 man roster. With the Redskins expected to keep six wide receivers on the roster, there are probably three other spots up for grabs, though that number could increase or decrease by one on cutdown day when coaches and front office staff try to balance all the team needs.

Robert Davis was looking like a favorite to win one of those spots, but he will now spend the season on injured reserve. What have the other receivers done in the first two preseason games to distinguish themselves and earn a roster spot?

Today, we’re going to look at five receivers who are competing for what appears to be 3 roster spots: Maurice Harris, Trey Quinn, Cam Sims, Simmie Cobbs, and Brian Quick.

There are at other receivers on the roster; Shay Fields and Darvin Kidsy have been with the team most of the summer; Daniel Williams and Alanzae Staggers are recent additions. With apologies to these four players and their families, we are ignoring them on the assumption that none of the four has a realistic chance of getting on the roster, while being perfectly happy for any of them to prove us wrong.

Harris, Quinn, Sims, Cobbs and Quick each played in one or both games against the Patriots and Jets in the first two weeks of preseason; we will be analyzing their targets from those games to see if we can sort out the shape of the wide receiver battle as we head into the final two preseason games, which will be played on the 24th and 30th of August against the Broncos and Ravens.

The evaluator

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I am not the kind of guy who can break down film one play at a time. Knowing my limitations, I turn to others for help when I need it.

Gibbs4potus (@westcoast_skins) did an outstanding job breaking down film on every undrafted rookie free agent in Redskin training camp in May, and he was the brains and the brawn behind the fine article looking at the competition at the returner positions among Redskin rookies that was published on Saturday, and the other article which took a detailed look at the young running backs on the Redskins roster published on Sunday.

The rating system

As Kirk Cousins was always so fond of saying, “Every play is its own entity”. Comparing all the elements of a single passing play with those of another is very much an apples-to-oranges comparison. There are just so many elements involved: the blocking, the play of the defense, the receiver’s route running and hands, and the quarterback’s throw. In a deep-dive-breakdown where we compare two plays side-by-side, all those elements can be discussed and analyzed.

This article, however, is supposed to be more of a broad-brush overview of several players across dozens of plays. In the end, we decided to rank each play as if it were a hotel or restaurant — with a 5 star system. It’s simple, intuitive, and allows for easy comparison.

5=excellent, 4=above average, 3=average, 2=below average, 1=poor.

The structure of the article

The article will be presented in three parts:

Part 1 - I will list all the 4-star and 5-star plays in a summary format

Part 2 - Each receiver under review will be listed one-by-one, and every target that player has had in the preseason to date will be ranked from best to worst

Part 3 - The players under review will be ranked from best to worst, with a short commentary on what expectations are for that player based on performance in the two preseason games.

Let’s get to it.

Part 1 - The full list of four-star and five-star receptions

  • 5 STARS - Cam Sims, (Patriots 6:02 2Q)
  • 4.5 STARS - Cam Sims, (Jets 0:15 4Q)
  • 4 STARS - Cam Sims, (Patriots 10:55 2Q)
  • 4 STARS - Cam Sims, (Jets 3:03 2Q)
  • 4 STARS - Maurice Harris, (Patriots 13:15 1Q)
  • 4 STARS - Maurice Harris, (Patriots 4:36 2Q)
  • 4 STARS - Trey Quinn, (Jets 10:28 2Q)
  • 4 STARS - Trey Quinn, (Jets 11:29 3Q)
  • 4 STARS - Brian Quick, (Jets 0:47 2Q)

Part 2 - The rating of every target by every receiver

Maurice Harris

Harris only played in the first preseason game vs the Patriots. He played well and may have already cemented a spot on the roster, leading Gruden to rest him against the Jets in the second game.

4 STARS (Patriots 13:15 1Q) Harris presses hard on the Go pattern and makes a good break on a comeback for 10 yards and a first down.

4 STARS (Patriots 4:36 2Q) Harris makes a nice blocking fake on a bootleg by McCoy and turns to the out and catches the touchdown with a toe drag.

3 STARS (Patriots 14:22 1Q) Harris runs an out and catches the ball on his turn, but runs out of bounds short of the first down.

2.5 STARS (Patriots 0:50 1Q) Harris runs a stop route but he is held (uncalled) and the back shoulder throw is too short so he can’t pull it in.

2 STARS (Patriots 8:52 2Q) Harris gets no separation on an out route run from the slot. The defender knocks the pass away.

Trey Quinn

Quinn dropped his first target vs the Patriots, and missed the rest of that game after a brutal but legal hit from the defensive back that left Quinn spitting up blood. He was able to rebound with a very good performance vs the Jets and looked like a future starter as a slot wide receiver.

4 STARS (Jets 10:28 2Q) Quinn makes a nice catch on a 15 yard comeback.

4 STARS (Jets 11:29 3Q) Quinn goes to the ground to make a good catch for 18 yards.

2 STARS (Jets 2:39 2Q) Quinn runs a quick out for 5 yards.

1 STAR (Jets 10:18 1Q) Quinn fails to catch a pass in the end zone from Alex Smith.

1 STAR (Patriots 0:47 1Q) Quinn drops his first target when he takes a huge hit in the midsection. Welcome to the NFL, Trey.

Cam Sims

NFL: New York Jets at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sims made a few spectacular plays at Alabama, but was not used much in that run heavy offense. In two preseason games with the Redskins, Sims has shown great playmaking ability along with raw, rookie mistakes. He has been... inconsistent, but has flashed on a few occasions with both his intimidating physical size and his raw talent.

5 STARS (Patriots 6:02 2Q) Sims catches a great throw in the hole between the corner and safety and takes the 57 yard catch inside the 5 yard line. Sims ran for 33 yards after the catch, showing good athletic ability.

4.5 STARS (Jets 0:15 4Q) Sims comes down with a clutch back shoulder 20 yard catch to set up the game winning field goal.

4 STARS (Patriots 10:55 2Q) Sims runs a nice post route for 17 yards showing good hands and body control.

4 STARS (Jets 3:03 2Q) Sims gains 27 yards coming down with the catch while being hit by a defender.

3.5 STARS (Jets 12:25 2Q) Sims with a 10 yard catch and run.

3 STARS (Jets 0:22 2Q) Sims makes a great leaping catch for a touchdown but it was called back because he wasn’t quite on the line of scrimmage. This would have been a 5 Star catch if the penalty hadn’t have been Sims’ fault.

1.5 STARS (Jets 0:08 2Q) Sims drops a pass in the end zone.

1 STAR (Jets 7:55 2Q) On this 15 yard crosser, Sims lets the ball get into his chest and it bounces off for an interception. This was a terrible play, but Sims bounced back and made some fine plays later in the game.

Simmie Cobbs

Cobbs’ best play of the preseason was running down a Patriots defender before he could score a touchdown. Cobbs hasn’t gotten the same opportunities that Sims has; he also hasn’t shown the incredible athletic ability that Sims has. Cobbs has, however, been a very good blocker in both the run and pass game.

3.5 STARS (Jets 12:07 3Q) Cobbs makes a nice 9 yard catch and run for a first down.

3 STARS (Jets 10:18 4Q) Cobbs catches a 5 yard out.

3 STARS (Jets 0:25 4Q) Cobbs catches a 4 yard crosser. A defensive holding penalty gives the Redskins a key first down.

3 STARS (Patriots 1:34 2Q) Drag route for 3 yards.

Brian Quick

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Quick hasn’t had many opportunities during the preseason, so he will need to have a very good game vs Denver to hold off the younger players for a roster spot.

4 STARS (Jets 0:47 2Q) Quick makes a catch in the flat and runs for 13 yards and a first down.

Part 3 - Overall Rankings

This is how I see the competition for the final three wide receiver spots on the 53 man roster:

#1 Maurice Harris

Harris can play any of the three receiver spots and will also be available for return duties if necessary. He also has a full season of experience with Jay Gruden.

  • Route running 4.0
  • Hands 4.0
  • Run After Catch 3.0
  • Returner 3.0

#2 Trey Quinn

Quinn will be an good slot wide receiver once he develops, which might not take long. Quinn also showed intelligence and poise as a punt returner which helped his stock even more. We know that Jay Gruden was openly lobbying for the franchise to select Quinn on Draft Day. He finally got his wish with the last pick of the draft, and seems unlikely to give up 3Q without a fight.

  • Route running 4.0
  • Hands 4.0
  • Run After Catch 3.0
  • Returner 3.0

#3 Cam Sims

Sims has been a spectacular find for the Redskins. He could be a star in the NFL in a few years because of his poise and dedication along with a team spirit and incredible physical size (6’5”, 214 lbs).

He has a lot of work to do and normally, I would expect the Redskins to try to put him on the practice squad, but I don’t think Sims would make it to the practice squad, and I think the Redskins know that.

His emergence probably means the end of Quick’s Redskins career. As the sixth WR, Sims may be inactive for many games, or he may find a way to get on the field as a rookie special teams star. The ratings for Sims are my conservative outlook on him; I feel that they could increase dramatically over the next few years.

  • Route Running 3.0
  • Hands 3.0
  • Run After Catch 3.0
  • Returner 2.0

#4 Brian Quick

Quick has never been a consistent performer in the NFL, and I don’t think it will be a hard decision for the Redskins to release him. There are still two more preseason games left, though, and if there is an injury, Quick could still find himself on the 53-man roster.

  • Route Running 3.0
  • Hands 3.0
  • Run After Catch 3.0
  • Returner 2.0

#5 Simmie Cobbs

Cobbs probably will be the only wide receiver on the practice squad for the Redskins. I thought a few weeks ago that he and Sims would both be on it. Sims now seems like he’s destined for the regular season roster, and no other receiver has shown enough to warrant a PS spot. Cobbs is likely to develop into an NFL caliber player with some time working with the coaches.

  • Route Running 2.5
  • Hands 3.0
  • Run After Catch 2.5
  • Returner 2.0


Which player is most likely never to play a future regular season game in a Redskin uniform?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Maurice Harris
    (54 votes)
  • 5%
    Cam Sims
    (70 votes)
  • 20%
    Brian Quick
    (284 votes)
  • 19%
    SImmie Cobbs
    (275 votes)
  • 51%
    Martez Carter
    (711 votes)
1394 votes total Vote Now


Which player is likely to have the most receiving yards as a Redskin in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Maurice Harris
    (650 votes)
  • 28%
    Trey Quinn
    (365 votes)
  • 17%
    Cam Sims
    (220 votes)
  • 0%
    Brian Quick
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Simmie Cobbs
    (12 votes)
  • 2%
    Byron Marshall
    (37 votes)
1293 votes total Vote Now


If you could keep only ONE of the players listed below on the Redskins roster, who would you choose to keep?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Maurice Harris
    (316 votes)
  • 19%
    Trey Quinn
    (246 votes)
  • 29%
    Cam Sims
    (385 votes)
  • 3%
    Kapri Bibbs
    (50 votes)
  • 22%
    Geron Christian
    (289 votes)
1286 votes total Vote Now