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Can Steven Sims be the next Tyreek Hill?

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NFL: DEC 15 Eagles at Redskins Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This offseason, Redskins’ wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. has been working out with famed WR trainer David Robinson to hone his craft. Robinson is one of the foremost wide receiver coaches out there, serving players such as Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Reed, and Chris Godwin. Robinson himself was a WR at the University of Oklahoma from 2002-2006 and has been a trainer since 2008.

In late May, John Keim interviewed Robinson on his John Keim Report podcast about Sims’ performance and potential. One of Keim’s first questions for Robinson was what he saw in Sims:

“He has all the intangibles. Especially the way the game is played right now, using the slot receiver. Using a lot of mismatches. Getting guys open in space. He has that short area quickness about him. A lot of people don’t know he’s a 4.5 guy. He plays 4.5 every single route. That’s tough to find in any receivers, especially the guys that run the 4.3-4.4s. So his short area quickness is just as good as Antonio Brown, Sterling Shepherd. The guys that are getting paid big money that are playing slot receiver in the NFL.

Keim asked Robinson what it was about Sims that made him think so highly of the young WR’s future development:

Just going over different scenarios with him. Just listening to him talk, you can just definitely tell he understands leverage. When guys are playing outside shade of him if he has a particular route, or their head up or inside. So he already has his mind made up on the move he’s making based on the DB’s leverage. You can tell his understanding of the game. His IQ is very high...He understands how to set a defender up to get himself open.

Robinson also suggested that Sims’ talent level merited him being drafted in the mid-rounds, even though the Redskins were able to pick him up as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

I was definitely surprised he went undrafted...I definitely believe he was a steal.

Robinson ultimately chalked Sims going undrafted up to his diminutive size (he’s 5’10”), asserting that, in conventional terms, receivers that small often have to be blazing fast in order to get drafted. Sims is reliably quick, however.

Keim also asked Robinson to rank Sims’ desire to succeed as compared with some of the other WRs he had coached:

It’s up there with Emmanuel Sanders, the Antonio Browns of the world. He wants to be a Pro Bowl-type WR. And you can just tell, before the workout, he has someone who comes down with him, his own personal trainer, that he flies down with him, that stretches him out. And he watches Steve work out with me. So the things that I harp on Steve about, his trainer works on with his balance so that he can get better....So you can tell he’s serious about it.

Asked what he saw in Sims in the last few games, Robinson responded:

One thing that came to my mind was man this joker looks like a little pistol starter, like a little firecracker. It’s tough. When I first saw him, especially against the Cowboys, how they utilized him. I was like, oh yeah man, he’s going to be the next Tyreek Hill in the Redskins offense. He’s the next guy, the way the game is changing, that’s the type of WRs teams are looking for. The Tyreek Hills, the Mecole Hardmans.

It’s exciting to see the young Redskins’ players getting so much practice time in with expert trainers this offseason, even with the disruption of the global pandemic cutting into some of their time to practice as a team. It’s going to be fascinating to see if it pays off.