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It’s time to start raiding practice squads: Offense edition

2020 East–West Shrine Game Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

We’re only 5 weeks into the 2020 season, and whether it’s a “re-build” or “win now,” the Washington Football Team looked like hot garbage yesterday. Sure, there are lots of young guys still honing their craft on this team, but there are also positions where, from starter to “depth,” the talent is so depauperate, we really need to start looking for outside help.

One possible option is to poach players from other teams’ practice squads, recognizing we’d have to free up space on the 53-man roster in order to accommodate them. In fact, we just lost former 7th round pick Jordan Brailford (DE) to the Vikings in such a move. This piece is an exercise in how we could potentially improve our roster in such a manner, with a focus on the positions of most dire need on offense.

Here’s an active listing of all 32 teams’ practice squads.

Quarterback

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley enters the NFL after starting 33 games in college, improving each season. As a senior in 2019, Huntley broke the single season record for completion percentage at 73.1 which is very impressive how frequently he dials up the deep ball. Huntley is a dual threat quarterback that is a dynamic runner but also showcases efficiency in the passing game with the ability to hit throws down the field. With that said, Huntley doesn’t throw with much anticipation and he isn’t going to dice secondaries up in traditional ways. Surprisingly, the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine passed on having Huntley as a participant and he’s an underrated prospect. Huntley has a chance to be a backup early in his career and it would not come as a surprise to see him earn a chance to be the guy at some point, especially considering league trends.

I liked Huntley a lot as a potential late round pick in the 2020 draft. I like him a lot more with our current crop of QBs and Dwayne Haskins with one foot out of the door. Give me Huntley over Stephen Montez every day of the week, and with this offensive line, QB mobility is a must. Huntley has it.

Of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen has the best mechanics and is the most natural pocket passer. He throws a tremendous ball and can really spin it. Rosen’s tight spiral helps him to get his passes through tight windows and beat good coverage. There is no throw that Rosen can’t make for the NFL, and instantly next fall, he will be among the stronger arms of the starting quarterbacks in the league. The ball just explodes out of his hand, and you never saw his passes wobble when he went downfield.

For a college quarterback going to the NFL, Rosen has impressive footwork, and that leads to him throwing the ball accurately with good placement. Rosen’s accuracy, timing, precision and arm strength make him deadly to move the ball down the field in a blur. He is good at running the 2-minute drill and is fully capable of carving up prevent zone defenses.

Josh Rosen got a bit of a raw deal in Arizona. Thrust into a dysfunctional situation, he got a one year trial before being unceremoniously dumped before the 2019 draft for Kyler Murray. Ultimately, the guy was a consensus first round pick though, so there must be some ability that can be harnessed there. Roll the dice on Rosen or keep Alex Smith around? Let’s play the odds.

Tight End

“I played a little bit of running back, I would catch passes out of the backfield, I’d play tight end, come across the ball and leak out into the flat. I’d line up at receiver,” Stevens told The Indianapolis Star when reflecting on how he was utilized at Penn State. “I would line up at QB and run, direct snap, run power and zone-sucker-reads. We were very creative.”

Stevens is actually listed as a QB on the Saints’ roster, but he was targeted by Sean Payton specifically as an eventual replacement for Taysom Hill in the 2020 draft. He finished his career at Mississippi State, but before he transferred from Penn State, he was a jack of all trades. At 6’5”, 247 lbs, Stevens has a nearly ideal build for an NFL tight end, with a 40 yard dash faster than Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle.

While playing in the Ivy League over the last two years, big-bodied wide receiver Jesper Horsted set the scoring record at Princeton with 27 touchdown receptions in 20 games. During that time, Horsted averaged 82 receptions and more than 1,100 receiving yards per season. At the East-West Shrine Game, Horsted made plays at practice and secured a deep pass in the game.

Horsted was also recruited by schools to play baseball and looks like it on this one-handed catch. So if he’s athletic at 6’4”, 215 to 225 pounds, perhaps a transition to becoming a “move” tight end is in order. The number Horsted weighs in at for Princeton’s pro day could be very telling as to what direction he’s looking to take in an effort to make it at the next level.

An Ivy League educated, multi-sport tight end? Yes, please. I’d gladly take Stevens or Horsted over the stone-handed Jeremy Sprinkle at this point.

Offensive Tackle

Tega Wanogho is a toolsy prospect that is still new to playing football and that becomes apparent when studying his tape. While he has an ideal frame to develop, long arms and excellent functional athleticism, his technique and application of his physical gifts are very much a work in progress. Tega Wanogho has an exciting ceiling to reach should he develop and his tools make him an intriguing option. With that said, patience could be required and he profiles more as an eventual starter at tackler, ideally in a zone blocking run scheme.

The pickings at offensive tackle on practice squads are thin throughout the league, so it’s a little surprising that Wanogho, taken in the 6th round by the Eagles, and considered a potential steal at that position, is sitting available. A player of Wanogho’s potential could well be worth unseating a journeyman vet like David Sharpe for.

Wide Receiver

Doss had an incredibly productive final two seasons at FCS school UC-Davis with over 230 receptions and 2,800 receiving yards. He has an excellent physical profile for the next level, and will be headed to the Senior Bowl. His projection to the next level will be based on his vertical route running traits and ability in contested spots. The transition to the next level could be an extended one, as few receivers come from the FCS and start in the NFL right away. However, Doss has the traits to suggest a draftable grade and should stick to an NFL roster.

Binjimen Victor brings some developmental upside to the NFL level. Victor is a fairly polished route runner thanks to his work with OSU WRs coach Brian Hartline, but he will still need some time in order to add functional strength and some bulk to his frame in order to build out a more viable perimeter profile as a receiver. Victor has good ball skills, slippery moves after the catch and strong hands — he has a complimentary role in an NFL WRs room. Best in a vertical passing offense.

Victor was teammates with both Haskins and Terry McLaurin at Ohio State, and is a large target with big hands and a great catch radius.

Conclusion

On a team as talent poor as this one is, particularly on offense, it makes sense to look around the rest of the league and see who’s better - virtually everyone - and where. Target those teams’ areas of strength, and looks who’s fallen just to the edge of their roster, and off, and take a chance on one or two of those guys. I think there are several in the list above who would be welcome additions to the WFT. How about you?

Poll

If you could add one of these players, who would it be?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Tyler Huntley (QB)
    (93 votes)
  • 31%
    Josh Rosen (QB)
    (338 votes)
  • 16%
    Tommy Stevens (QB/TE)
    (178 votes)
  • 5%
    Jesper Horsted (TE)
    (60 votes)
  • 28%
    Prince Tega Wanogho (OT)
    (302 votes)
  • 4%
    Keelan Doss (WR)
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    Binjimen Victor (WR)
    (47 votes)
1068 votes total Vote Now