Gabe Ward: So it’s no secret how I feel about McLaurin, I thought he was OSU’s best and most complete receiver. What is your take on him as a player and how he might have success in the NFL with his college QB at the helm?
Geoff Hammersley: McLaurin definitely was one of the bright spots on the receiving unit. Between him, Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and K.J. Hill, those four helped Dwayne Haskins in smashing school and conference records.
Specifically, I liked his ability to be a consistent catching threat. He had huge games against Maryland (118 yards on four catches) and Northwestern (78 yards on three catches), and was the difference maker on the receiving end in those games. Also, he can block—which is a huge plus.
Having Haskins as his QB will do wonders. Making the transition to the NFL is hard, but having his college QB with him will definitely help him get acclimated.
Gabe Ward: WR is typically known as a Diva position where players could be preoccupied with padding their own stats and success and who can become unhappy when the ball doesn’t come their way. McLaurin strikes me as completely selfless in this area. He does the stuff that no one appreciates from his route running, his return ability, his blocking ability etc. Do you think a guy like this makes other guys at the position better? How so?
Geoff Hammersley: I think so. When a receiver can do it all, everyone else gets better—they have something to strive for. If they don’t have that fire to get better, then they probably won’t be on the team for very long.
McLaurin was a team captain last season, so he knows how to lead. Being selfless comes with the territory, and if I were a team in the NFL, McLaurin’s leadership qualities is something I’d want to have.
Washington doesn’t have the superstars on the receiving end, and that could be a blessing in disguise. If McLaurin shines, he’ll definitely see ample playing time this season, while helping elevate the guys around him.
Gabe Ward: I know that McLaurin can line up virtually anywhere on the field but he may likely get most of his looks in the slot at least in his first year. Do you think this is a role he can excel in? Projecting his career how do you think he’ll do in the pros? Do you think he can ever be that consistent playmaking receiver with big-play ability?
Geoff Hammersley: Parris Campell was the slot guy for Ohio State last season. But McLaurin also has the speed to break free from defenders. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up on special teams because he can charge down the field.
With Haskins, this could be a very dynamic duo in the NFC East. And if they both increase their ability year over year, then it wouldn’t be too far fetched to think that McLaurin could be the big-play receiver for Washington in a couple seasons.
Gabe Ward: Chemistry and trust are so very important between a QB and his WRs I think its played a huge part in the struggles with the Redskins passing game the past year. Do you think it would be wise for the Redskins coaching staff to design a few plays that feature McLaurin at the ‘go-to’ guy to help out Haskins or do you think he’s better used in a more supplemental roll?
Geoff Hammersley: You’ve got two former college teammates on the same team. It makes sense to have a couple plays designed specifically for a Haskins-McLaurin connection. I wouldn’t lean too heavily on it, but this is an advantage the Redskins coaching staff has. Mesh routes were bread and butter plays for OSU last season. Incorporating those into Gruden’s offensive game plan could pay huge dividends.
Developmentally, it’ll probably help both players; and for a team looking to get back into the playoff picture, any advantage that comes your way to help increase late January football chances, you take them.
Gabe Ward: What are the area’s you think McLaurin can grow most in?
Geoff Hammersley: With his speed, I think he can improve even more in one-on-one coverage. That’s already one of his strengths, but because he has the athleticism, quickness, and ability to catch the ball from Haskins, he could become the best receiver in the NFC East in a few years.
Gabe Ward: Would you mind sharing one of your favorite plays or other moment from McLaurin’s career at OSU and tell us why it stood out to you?
Geoff Hammersley: This play didn’t come last season, but the year before. In the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game, McLaurin got the first score of the game with an 84-yard touchdown. With J.T. Barrett throwing the ball, he reached out to haul in the throw, and then used his speed to flat out run away from the defender.
That showcased his speed, pass catching ability, and big-game/game-changing ability. When Haskins took over the following season, it was more of the same—but this is where I think we truly found out what McLaurin was capable of doing.
Gabe Ward: If you could use a few words to describe the type of player the Redskins are getting in McLaurin what would they be?
Geoff Hammersley: They are getting a leader, and guy who will put the team above himself.
I want to thank Geoff again for his time spent answering my questions about Terry McLaurin. McLaurin was one of my favorite receivers in college football as well as the draft and I think with his college QB at the helm he has the potential to be a real contributor to the passing offense. He may never be a star but he could be a solid contributor day in and out for years to come. As a formatting note, I would have liked to include Geoff in the main byline, as I have done with other authors from other blogs in years past, but the new editor restricts permissions to do that in a new way. This is, at minimum, a 50/50 endeavor, with the bulk of the thinking and writing coming from the people gracious enough to answer questions, and I want to make sure they get their credit. I’ll likely be including this note for the rest of the series.