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Need to Know: Redskins rookie to watch–WR Evan Spencer

Jul 21, 2015, 5:36 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 21, 9 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Today’s question comes from Twitter:

The Redskins got an interesting group of players on draft Saturday, picking up wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Evan Spencer, guard Arie Kouandjio, linebacker Martrell Spaight, defensive backs Kyshoen Jarrett and Tevin Mitchel, and center Austin Reiter. They will all warrant close inspection during training camp and the preseason.

But since I was asked to pick just one, I’m going to go with Spencer, a sixth-round pick out of Ohio State. Of course I want to see his development as a receiver. He caught just 15 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games for Ohio State last year so he will need some work running routes and receiving.

Spencer, however, won’t be expected to contribute much catching passes. He’s probably the sixth of six options at wide receiver. Barring injury to other players it would be surprising if he lined up for as many as 100 snaps at wide receiver.

Even if he doesn’t play a single snap as a wide receiver, he could be of great help to the unit that arguably was the worst on the team last year—special teams. One of the many problems the unit has had is a shortage of enthusiastic participants. Too many draft picks have come in and turned their noses up at the thought of playing on the kicking units. That has been a particular issue with wide receivers, who should be core special teams players. The team has not had a wide receiver as a primary special teams player since James Thrash in the middle of the last decade.

Spencer is under no illusions. He can read a depth chart as well as anyone. The rookie is well aware that if he wants to see the field for the next two seasons it will be on special teams.

It is rather difficult to tell much about a special teams player from training camp practice. Even in full pads they don’t go at anything approaching full speed. But I’ll be interested to see where he lines up, how enthusiastically he attacks the drills, and how many units he is involved with. It will take preseason games to get an idea of how quickly he makes the adjustment to playing on special teams in the NFL.

If I’m going to pick a 1-A to watch it’s going to be Crowder. The fourth-round pick also will help out on special teams as a returner. He looked very elusive in minicamp; he knows what to do with the ball in his hands. How will he look when things get more physical with the pads on?


—It’s been 205 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 54 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 9; Preseason opener @ Browns 23; final cuts 46

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In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Jul 21, 2015 at 6:17 AM

    Rich at 6’2″ and 205, does he bring the greatest size in our WR group? I am sure you have those stats. Is this our best option to add size at this position?

    We have been needing to do that for years as the NFL has out grown the Redskins at most key positions. Thank goodness SCOT has vision as to how to grow our team to compete in the NFL.

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 21, 2015 at 7:49 AM

      Again, I don’t see him playing much at WR this year or maybe not next. At some point in the next couple of draft, McCloughan is likely to take a 6-4 receiver with a large catch radius in the first or second round.

      There’s a lot more to the position than height. The 6-3 Marko Mitchell isn’t in line to get his name up in the Redskins Ring of Fame anytime soon.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jul 21, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    Checked roster. Evan is our best chance at getting bigger at WR. We need to get bigger here and we need him. His vertical leap is incredible!

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jul 21, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      New England does just fine with under size WRs and we have a QB that has great potential working a spread offense. I just hope we find a way to implement it more this season.

  3. gonavybeatarmy - Jul 21, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    For so many years a lack of quality back-up depth and pathetically bad special teams has been a staple of this organization under this majority owner. Shanahan began changing this dynamic slightly by bringing in players like Niles Paul, D. Young and Logan Paulsen, but not enough of these types of players to ultimately ameliorate the sad state of both the overall depth and special teams.

    As the great Ken Beatrice used to say- football is a game of attrition, injuries are the only thing you can count on and teams with high quality roster depth will always be competitive. McLoughan is a disciple of this philosophy and players such as Evan Spencer are reflective of this. And to the extent that Spencer is on a league minimum contract, the organization has maximum flexibility with Spencer, Grant and Crowder (all on minimum contracts) on the roster when it decides ultimately to part ways with high priced, arguably overpriced, Jackson and Garçon.

    • mr.moneylover - Jul 21, 2015 at 8:55 AM

      I have question marks about p.garcon yeah he can block but he was struggling to get open at times last year but jay gruden said p.garcon was on the wrong side of the field all year long and he didnt realize it but this year the plan is to get p.garcon alot of touches…I dont see a better option if we move on from p.garcon ..we dont have consistency at the WR postion they are all different type of WR and I think scot m. Wont like what he see from the group and I think he will blow up that postion and start fresh just like the D-line…djax is the best WR on the team I dont see him going anywhere neither scot m. two WRs he drafted but everybody else might be gone next year depending on how they play…I think CB and WR and LB will be scot m. Next off-season priorities

  4. mr.moneylover - Jul 21, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    I like evan spencer I think he will be a great WR for us because his size…I think his spot will move up on the depth chart simply cause I think andre roberts will be in jay gruden dog house when its all said and done and we still dont know if jordan reed gonna stay healthy so they can plug him in at TE thats another area that jay gruden said is a option…the rookie I think ppl should watch this year ill say tevin Mitchell or Jamison Crowder because these are the two players who might be forced to play when its all said and done

  5. mr.moneylover - Jul 21, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    I just hope they dont wait to long to develop him because the talent is there but his body can take a hit playing special teams for many years…some ppl felt niles paul played special teams for two many years instead of developing into a legit TE…but im glad hes a starter now he was a surprise last year lets hope he can build on that this year…

  6. colorofmyskinz - Jul 21, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    I think we could get away with cutting roberts.

  7. skip36 - Jul 21, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    You missed Dyshawn Davis who is an under size linebacker who wasn’t drafted but he fits a position of need which is safety at 6’2″ 227lbs. why not give him a try out their because he did play that position also in college

    • ET - Jul 21, 2015 at 2:40 PM

      Davis is an intriguing prospect, no doubt. Won’t be surprised at all if he makes the practice squad and makes the final 53 somewhere down the road.

      As a hybrid player, though, he’ll need to make some standout hits, special teams play, something. Not sure he can make it as an LB, and safety is a bit of a jogjam right now. If he can stick with the Skins or another team for a year or two, Davis should be able to find a niche.

  8. warpath1 - Jul 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    as a Buckeye and a Redskin fan, hope this kid works out.

  9. kenlinkins - Jul 21, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    As someone who lives in Columbus Ohio I can tell you this kid has a better than even shot of making the 53 man roster this year. He does a lot things well (not great) has NFL size, NFL speed, and comes from an NFL family. He should make his mark in year one on Special Teams if he can show he can tackle covering kicks at the NFL level. IMO his car will be one of the last in the parking lot on most evenings and will do anything he is asked to help the team win. Watch for this kid, he could become a Special teams Ace and then work his way on to the field as a number 3 WR later, Plus the media types will love his demeanor. He will not be joining that small group of players in the Redskins locker who just “do not get it”. It will be fun pulling for this kid to do well in preseason games.

    • ET - Jul 21, 2015 at 4:56 PM

      Hope you’re right! The players who work hard and make the most of their opportunities are always fan favorites, whether or not they become “stars.”

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

      I disagree with the first part of this. He is a near lock to make the 53, not more likely than not.

  10. goback2rfk - Jul 21, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    5 – 11

  11. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jul 22, 2015 at 1:10 AM

    This guy hasn’t done much so far and his Brother is a Scout on the Team. Something about this Pick I don’t like I hope I’m Wrong. The Player I’m most intrigued with is The Gaurd we picked up. He could be one of our Best picks Archives

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