Two years ago, our very own Mark Tyler wrote an interesting article suggesting that Antonio Gandy-Golden, then having just finished his rookie season, should move to tight end. He made some compelling arguments:
During the pre-draft process, Gandy-Golden weighed upwards of 225 pounds, and at 6’4”, he has the frame to carry even more. His 40(4.6) and three cone(7.33) show a jumbo receiver who may have problems creating separation on the outside, however his strength(22 reps at 225), vertical(36”), 32 inch arms and ability to bully smaller defenders may profile nicely to a joker tight end working out of the slot.
Some of [AGG’s weaknesses as a receiver] can be masked as a Joker or Move tight end. First, the 4.6 40 is ideal for the position, and the 7.33 3-cone is not nearly as concerning when running a tight end route tree versus that of a wide receiver. Second, his lack of suddenness and crisp breaks at the top of his stem can be maximized against linebackers and safeties, rather than outside corners.
[F]or this to work, it would be prudent for Gandy-Golden to bulk up to at least 235-240 pounds. That would require at least 12-15 pounds of additional weight. It’s not easy asking any player to add good weight without losing some of their athleticism, but this may help him to make a bigger impact in an area of great need for the team. Let it also be noted that he was a very good blocker in college, who would often bully smaller defenders. It will not come as easy in the NFL, especially against safeties and linebackers, but the willingness and desire are there.
It seems that Mark was prescient, or that the Commanders coaches keep a close eye on Hogs Haven, because, on his podcast recorded on 19 May, ESPN’s John Keim reported that Gandy-Golden will be changing position to tight end.
In his report, Keim mentioned that starting TE Logan Thomas is likely to miss the start of the season, and that the other tight end candidates on the roster indicate that the team is looking for an option at the position that offers more potential as a receiving threat.
Keim also talked at length about the fact that the coaches didn’t want to force the change on AGG, but instead wanted him to buy in to the change. On the podcast, Keim said that after some preliminary work at tight end both on and off the field, Gandy-Golden has done exactly that, and that he will now work with the Commanders new tight end coach, Juan Castillo, to develop the on-field skills he will need. Keim also said that AGG had bulked up recently in anticipation of the change, and that the physical change is noticeable, but he didn’t say how much weight the young player has put on.
With AGG moving to TE as @john_keim said on his podcast, the back half of that depth chart has athletic projects (Gandy-Golden, Sammis) to go along with the huge Cole Turner, hard nosed John Bates and top dog Logan Thomas. New position coach too. Will be a spot to watch at OTAs— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) May 20, 2022
Kelvin Harmon report
Another player that got mentioned in the report is Kelvin Harmon, a 6th round pick in the 2019 draft who got off to a slow start as a receiver in his rookie year, but who finished his rookie year with 7 good games in which he compiled 22 catches for 290 yards, indicating real promise going forward. Unfortunately, Harmon tore his ACL in an offseason workout before the 2020 season, and spent fewer than 17 games under contract in 2021, and then, only as a practice squad player.
Keim compared AGG’s agreement to a position switch with Kelvin Harmon, who balked at the same opportunity last year and remained at the WR position. Keim reports that Harmon has impressed observers so far at team workouts this Spring, cautioning that it’s early, but implying that Harmon could potentially be laying the groundwork for a career resurrection in Washington.
With former Tulsa OL coach Zach Hanson on Commanders took Chris Paul. A hidden gem? Insight. (Also on Cowboys LT Tyler Smith). And: a new position for Antonio Gandy-Golden. Another WR making noise this spring. More notes on training camp. @ESPNRichmond https://t.co/XrvmHP57Em— John Keim (@john_keim) May 20, 2022
Keim, who is a reporter known to be plugged into the team, and who chooses his words carefully, said twice on his podcast that Percy Butler, Washington’s 4th round pick in April’s draft, may not be ready to be the team’s 3rd safety right away, but added, “I do think he’ll get there.” Keim said that, in talking to people who know Butler, the reports were that the rookie is a hard working player who doesn’t feel as if he’s “made it” just because he was drafted. Keim went on to compare him to Redskin’s great, Brian Mitchell, who is from the same part of Louisiana. and who always worked relentlessly to improve. On the podcast, the reporter talked about the fact that Butler’s girlfriend and newborn baby have stayed behind for the moment so that Butler can devote himself to football entirely, adding that the family would join him soon, but that the situation speaks to the young DB’s serious approach to football and life.
Other roster news
There was one other piece of roster news this week. Offensive Tackle Drew Himmelman, a 2nd-year player who was claimed off of waivers on Monday, was released on Wednesday with a failed physical designation. I checked Thursday’s NFL transactions, but his name did not appear, indicating that he cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
Washington does not appear to have signed another player to fill Himmelman’s roster spot, though the team officially signed two of its draft picks, Jahan Dotson and Brian Robinson, on Wednesday.
Keim said that nothing is yet official, but that “as of now” he expects the team to practice in Ashburn this offseason. He said that if the team chooses to go away for training camp again in the future, it would be to a facility where the team did not have to rely on buses for transport between the accommodations and the practice facilities.
The numbers that appear beside some players’ names are 2022 cap hits per Over the Cap.