The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Let’s assume that the top-3 WR spots on the roster are set:
Let’s further assume that the team will enter the season with 5 players in the position group. That means that two roster spots are up for grabs.
Washington has 10 players — 5 undrafted college free agents, and 5 players with NFL experience — competing for those final two spots.
Under contract in the NFL in 2022:
Kemp entered the league as an undrafted college free agent in 2017, and spent nearly his entire career in Kansas CIty. He has been active for 47 NFL games, but has primarily played special teams. Kemp has 866 career special teams snaps, but only 163 offensive snaps. As a wide receiver, he has 8 career targets and 4 receptions for 42 yards and 3 first downs.
At 6’4” and 210 pounds, the 27-year-old is the same age and of similar size as Cam Sims, who left in free agency a few weeks ago. While Kemp was the first free agent signed by the Commanders this offseason, meaning that he joined the team before Eric Bieniemy was officially hired, his acquisition could be part of the EB plan, meaning that he could be close to a roster lock.
Drafted by Washington in the 3rd round of the 2021 draft, Brown has, to date, been something of an under-achiever. He has just 17 receptions for 308 yards (18.1 avg), but got little use under Scott Turner. We’ll see if things change as he is reunited with his college quarterback, Sam Howell, under new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Milne was taken in the 7th round of the same ‘21 draft in which Brown was drafted. His production as a receiver has been minimal (15 rec, 120 yards, 1 TD), but he was the team’s primary punt returner a year ago — a role in which he underwhelmed.
Erickson entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He was active for every game from 2016 to 2021, but accumulated just 158 receptions for 1,278 yards in those 6 seasons. He signed with Washington in 2022, but was active for only 2 games; his primary role seemed to be as the practice squad backup returner behind Milne.
Undrafted a year ago, McGowan spent the ‘22 season on Washington’s practice squad, and was active for just 2 games, but did not play. McGown is 5’11”, 198 pounds.
2023 Undrafted Colllege Free Agents
The 6’1”, 205 pound Tinsley is the only Commanders UDFA on this list to make Brugler’s final 300 prospect rankings (No. 286). A lack of high-end speed played a role in Tinsley going undrafted, and his route-running might not be good enough against NFL corners.
He was a walk on at Hutchinson Community College (Kansas) before transferring to Western Kentucky in 2020. That’s where he grabbed 87 receptions for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Interestingly, he transferred to Penn State for his final season as the replacement for Jahan Dotson; he led the Nittany Lions in receptions (55) and receiving touchdowns (5).
There’s been a lot of early hype around Allen, a track standout who ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day.
That said, he did not produce a great deal on the football field. Allen had only 31 receptions over four seasons before pulling down 49 receptions for 403 yards and a pair of TDs during his final season.
At just 5-foot-8, Allen’s best chance to make a roster may be as a specialist returner in the mold of DeAndre Carter.
He averaged 27.0 yards on 38 kickoff returns during his final two seasons, with one touchdown, but did not return punts; however, as a running back, Allen averaged 8.1 yards on 68 rush attempts.
Kavita Pritchard, Washington’s new QB coach, was Stanford’s offensive coordinator, giving him ties to the Commanders coaching staff.
Tremayne is a big receiver (6’4”, 205 pounds) with 4.57 speed who likely would have to contribute on special teams and beat out Marcus Kemp to earn a spot on the 5-man roster.
Another big receiver, this time just under 6-4, Sample is a small-college player who finished his college career with 114 receptions for 1,898 yards and 14 touchdowns, but was limited to playing just four games during his final season due to injury. He looks like a long shot to earn a roster spot.
Bowens is similar size (5-foot-11) to Washington’s top receivers, but his 4.52 speed is well below the standard set by the Commanders’ starters. Bowen’s best chance seems to be the hope of making Washington’s practice squad, though he did once haul in a 93-yard TD, the second-longest scoring play in program history.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it
In the comments section, I invite you to round out the receiver group by indicating your #4 and #5 receiver, and explaining why you think they are the best options. If you want to make a case for keeping a 6th receiver, feel free to do so, but let’s not even think about going beyond that.
If you can put only ONE of the following onto the 2023 roster, who would it be?
This poll is closed