Anthony Mix has caught just three NFL passes, but he might end up as the Redskins’ No. 3 receiver.
With Brandon Lloyd cut, Reche Caldwell gone as a free agent and Keenan McCardell unlikely to return at age 38, Mix is the most experienced receiver other than James Thrash to back up starters Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.
And unlike Moss, Randle El and Thrash, who are all under 6 feet, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Mix could be the big receiver the Redskins have lacked since Darnerien McCants was cut in 2005.
“I want to take a hard look at Anthony because of his size,” said new coach Jim Zorn, whose West Coast offense functions best with at least one big target. “He didn’t get to do a lot last year. Maybe he didn’t get an opportunity because he was young. I want to take a hard look at who [all] these guys are and how they fit into our system.”
That kind of comment from his boss excites the 25-year-old Mix, who signed Nov. 20 after a year and a half on the New York Giants’ practice squad. Mix has been waiting a long time for a chance to show what he can do after starting just 11 games in college and being stuck behind the likes of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer in New York.
“It makes me feel good to hear that Coach Zorn is depending on me,” said Mix, who played three years at Auburn with Redskins starting quarterback Jason Campbell. “I’ve always worked hard because I came in pretty much at the bottom as a rookie free agent, but it motivates you to work even harder. I just want to play, whatever my role is. I like Coach Zorn’s offense. It’s pretty similar to what we ran at Auburn.”
Mix is no speedster like Moss, but he did average 13.3 yards a catch at Auburn and gained 39 yards on his three catches with New York.
“I learned so much from Amani and Plaxico,” Mix said. “Amani taught me about route running and how to keep your feet in bounds. He’s still in the league after all these years because he’s so smart. Plaxico and I have the same body type. He showed me how to get in position to catch the ball, and he kept telling me to just keep doing what I was doing and it would pay off.”
But not in the glory of a Super Bowl triumph, which his former teammates celebrated less than three months after his departure.
“I’ve had so many people tell me that I left the Giants at the wrong time, but I think it was just my time to make a change,” Mix said. “I was happy for those guys when they won.”
And after watching the Giants draft receiver Steve Smith in the second round last year, a move that helped cost him a roster spot, Mix won’t stay away from the television on draft day this month.
“I’ll watch but not because I’m nervous about them taking a receiver early,” Mix said. “I’ve never let competition worry me.”