The Redskins were wowed with Duke receiver and return man Jamison Crowder's big-play ability, and hope to see it translate on the field at the professional level.*
There's speed, and then there's quickness.
Jamison Crowder is plenty fast, but it's his quickness that has the Washington Redskins plenty intrigued.
Check out these photos of Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the Redskins' 105th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Redskins on Saturday picked up the Duke wide receiver and return man in the fourth round (105th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, giving the organization a versatile weapon that can be used all over the field.
"I feel like that's a way I can get on the field and be able to display my talents and ability in the open field. That's one of the main areas that I always loved to play," Crowder said of his skills as a return man. "And at wide receiver, I feel like I'm one of the top receivers in this draft, and I can go in and make an impact on the offense."
Crowder, a Monroe, N.C., native, certainly has experience on his side as he enters the professional ranks. A four-year contributor for the Blue Devils, he appeared in 52 games in college, recording 283 catches for 3,641 yards (12.9 yards per catch) with 23 receiving touchdowns.
He said he really wasn't expecting the Redskins in particular to come calling on Saturday, but "just knew a team was going to take a chance and give me an opportunity."
"So, right now I'm just overjoyed," Crowder said in a conference call with the media after his selection. "It's kind of hard to talk, but I'm just happy man, that I'm going to be playing for the Redskins and that I get an opportunity at the next level."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said it was Crowder's "big-play ability" that led to his selection by the team.
"Very productive college football player, very tough, and he's going to be an instant playmaker for us," Gruden said. "So that's going to be a good one."
Gruden said Crowder immediately enters the picture to compete as the team's punt returner, a job secured last season by veteran wide receiver Andre Roberts.
But the second-year head coach said they need to get an up-close-and-personal look at Crowder's skills in rookie minicamp, in training camp and in the preseason before making any decisions about the 2015 depth chart.
"He's been productive (as a punt returner) when he's had the opportunity," Gruden said. "He's such a good receiver at Duke that they probably didn't use him as much they would liked to have because he was such a key weapon for them on offense. But he's the type of guy did a lot for them and he's got the great, quick first step and he is a natural at punt returner."
Crowder could face a tougher challenge finding the way onto the field as a receiver early on in his Redskins career. The team is loaded at the position, with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts as the top three guys, and second-year Tulane product Ryan Grant just behind them.
Then there's the possibility that the Redskins bring back veteran wide receiver Santana Moss – who is currently an unrestricted free agent – for a chance at a roster spot.
Like Moss, Crowder makes up for a lack of size with elite quickness. He officially stands just 5-foot-8 and weighs 185 pounds, but once he catches the ball in the open field, it usually takes a disciplined tackler to bring him to the ground.
Crowder said his diminutive size has always motivated him to prove something on the field.
"I've never been the biggest, but when I step out on the field, I've always (been) one of the top as far as talent. So I always went out on the field and played with that chip on my shoulder," he said. "Whether I had the football or whether I was blocking a guy, I always wanted to go out there and feel like I'm the best person on the field."
Crowder will get that very chance early on with the Redskins, as he tries to bring the crowd to its feet every time he sees the field.
"I just wanted an opportunity to get in the league, and I wouldn't want to play for a team other than the Redskins, so I'm excited," he said. "This right here is a stepping stone for my career, just to get in, and I'm ready to start winning some ball games."