INDIANAPOLIS — Among the many problems the Washington Redskins faced last offseason, receiver was at the top of the list. Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner wanted out and the team acquiesced by trading both players.
In return for Coles, the Redskins hit paydirt with Santana Moss, who had 84 catches and made the Pro Bowl. In return for Gardner, they got Carolina’s seventh-round draft pick this year.
But as the NFL Scouting Combine continues today at RCA Dome, the Redskins — at least in the eyes of many — still need help at receiver. David Patten battled a knee injury and was limited to 22 catches, James Thrash is more of a special teams player/No. 4 receiver and the warranty on Taylor Jacobs should be expired.
Limited cap space and a thin free agent class leave it unlikely the Redskins will acquire a receiver next weekend. That leaves the draft for the Redskins to find a player who will bring size to the team. Moss and Patten are both 5-foot-10.
The Redskins don’t have a first-round pick, because of the Jason Campbell transaction last year. By the time they select at No. 54, Ohio State’s Santonio Holmes and Florida’s Chad Jackson will be gone.
That leaves maybe not the most ballyhooed receivers, but a solid group nonetheless; players who could be capable of providing the Redskins with another weapon alongside Moss and Patten. Here are five receivers that could emerge this weekend:
1. Derek Hagan, Arizona State
Hagan (6-2, 208) ended his Sun Devil career the school’s all-time leader in catches (258) and yards (3,939), passing current Redskins director of player development John Jefferson in both categories. He had 77 catches for 1,210 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
But a lackluster Senior Bowl week has some projecting Hagan has a second-round pick.
“They know I can catch the ball,” he said. “I had four great years at Arizona State and one week of practice definitely shouldn’t define me as a player. I felt like I could have done it but it comes down to concentrating better.”
Hagan has trained with Olympic champion Michael Johnson to run a solid 40 time. He would provide the Redskins with a red zone threat who is big enough to catch the fade.
2. Martin Nance, Miami (Ohio)
Nance (6-4, 213) would automatically become the Redskins’ biggest receiver. He caught passes from Ben Roethlisberger for two seasons at Miami and produced without him as well. Nance had 81 catches for 1,107 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall.