Beginning the year with two new starting wide receivers, the Redskins got greater production out of 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson while Ryan Grant posted a career year.
As the Redskins head into the offseason looking to get back to their winning ways, Redskins.com will provide position-by-position reflections from the 2017 squad.
Up next: the wide receivers.
REVIEW OF THE UNIT:
The Redskins knew going into the 2017 season that the passing game was going to look different despite the fact that Kirk Cousins was once again under center.
In 2014, the Philadelphia Eagles shocked the football world when they announced the release of Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson. A prized speedster on the open market, Jackson quickly signed with the Redskins.
For the next three years, Jackson and Pierre Garçon were Washington's primary receiving threats on the outside. But after both hit the 1,000-yard mark during contract years in 2016, they elected to sign elsewhere in the offseason. That left the Redskins seeking new options to take over at the wide receiver position, first with a look at players from the inside.
The Redskins made a somewhat unexpected move in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, selecting TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson with the No. 22-overall pick. Loaded with talent, Doctson was a unanimous All-American selection during his senior season.
But he barely got the chance to show Washington what he was capable of as a rookie, limited to just two games due to a nagging Achilles injury.
His sophomore season was a different story, though, as Doctson led the team in touchdown receptions (six) while recording more than 500 receiving yards. He also showed a penchant for making highlight reel plays look easy, as was the case with his touchdown catches against the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys along with a diving reception against the Seattle Seahawks that set up a game-winning touchdown run by Rob Kelley.
Additionally, 2014 fifth-round pick Ryan Grant had his best season to date, as the Tulane product set personal bests in receptions (45), receiving yards (573) and receiving touchdowns (four). His 11-yard touchdown late against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 ended up being the deciding score, as he found a hole in the defense in the front of the end zone.
As for Jamison Crowder, the diminutive wideout led the Redskins in receiving yards (789) despite experiencing an inconsistent campaign. The Duke product was held under 50 yards in eight different games but also recorded two 100-yard outings including a personal best 141 yards and a touchdown against the New York Giants in Week 12.
The new faces in the equation were free agent signings Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Brian Quick, both of whom signed reported one-year deals.
Pryor flashed the ability to be a game-changing player during training camp, but struggled to translate it over to the regular season as he tallied just 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown before being placed on Injured Reserve. Quick, meanwhile, recorded six receptions for 76 yards in a reserve role.
Maurice Harris and Robert Davis spent good portions of the year on the practice squad before receiving in-season promotions. Harris made one of the best catches of the year against the Minnesota Vikings when he extended for a one-handed, 36-yard touchdown grab.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE GROUP:
With Doctson, the Redskins want to build on his first true season in the fold. The 6-foot-2, 206 pounder showed down the stretch that he can be a more reliable target, but he has yet to topple the 100-yard mark in a single game or score multiple touchdowns.
"Just having this whole experience of a full year under his belt lining up in different positions and running different routes and seeing the game for what it's all about is just going to be a huge, huge lift for him moving into next year," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
Along with Doctson, the Redskins will look for a bounce back campaign from Crowder. While he was just one catch shy of tying his personal best of 67 receptions in a single season and while he nearly logged 800 receiving yards, the 5-foot-9, 177 pounder didn't look himself for much of 2017.
"I think he was dealing with something early in the season," Gruden said. "I think he had some soft tissue injuries here and there that may have slowed him down a little bit, but I think towards the end of the year he started feeling a lot better. Probably didn't get the production we all anticipated we would get and I think a lot of that has trickle-down effect with some of the players that we lost not only at receiver, tight end and running back but also at offensive line from time to time.
"Hopefully we get the whole gang of guys back [and] that he will have a bigger impact, but I have total faith in him as a player that he will come back and have a big year."
Pryor, Grant and Quick are all set to become free agents, with Gruden noting that the Redskins will "try and do everything we can" to get Grant back after his best season yet.
The Redskins also will see if Davis, a 2017 sixth-round pick, can crack the active roster in 2018. While he ended his college career as Georgia State's all-time leading receiver, his rookie season was about learning how to be a professional.
SEASON IN REVIEW