ASHBURN — As other players walked off the field following Wednesday’s OTAs, Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn made his way to a ball cannon for extra reps, accompanied by tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Maurice Harris.
Quinn, who led the NCAA in receptions last season with SMU, was selected by the Redskins with the 256th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The last pick of the draft, Quinn was nicknamed “Mr. Irrelevant,” a yearly trope for the final selection. He also won a free vacation in Newport Beach, California, as consolation.
But Quinn isn’t letting his pick placement define the start of his career in Washington, and the chip on his shoulder has added an additional drive to his game during optional offseason workouts.
“If they’re going to give me a free vacation out of it, that’s fine,” Quinn said. “Then I’ll go be the best player in the damn draft.”
On Wednesday, Quinn displayed versatility, lining up mostly as a slot receiver but showing a capability to move outside. Following a pass in the flat during 7-on-7 drills, he turned up the field and a burst of speed took him into the second level of the defense.
When coach Jay Gruden lined up opposite Quinn inside the 10-yard line, Quinn broke toward the back pylon in a fade route. Gruden yelled “SMU” once Quinn reeled the ball in, shouting out the school where Quinn caught 114 receptions for 1,236 yards with last year.
Quinn, Gruden said, is a “quarterback-friendly target,” and a “silent assassin.”
Participating in second team drills, the 6-foot receiver feels he won’t be limited to just a role in the slot. Near the goal line during one drill, Quinn began on the outside before backup quarterback Colt McCoy motioned him back to the slot. Then, Quinn feinted inside and broke toward the left pylon, where McCoy found him for a completion.
“I’m happy I’m able to see him in action,” receiver Paul Richardson said. “I watched his film and he’s been able to do that stuff out here. The more he’s getting comfortable in the offense, the more he’s able to show us what he can do at this level. I think he’s catching the ball well, he’s running great routes.”
After the departures of receivers Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant, Quinn senses an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the team. Gruden said he could feature as a punt returner in addition to receiving duties.
“If they have a spot open, I think I can do it all,” Quinn said. “Where there’s a void, I’ll try to fill it.”
As other players talked in groups once the field goal unit entered, knowing practice was about to conclude, Quinn took a knee by himself and watched each kick. The seclusion wasn’t out of the ordinary. Gruden said he hasn’t heard Quinn talk much since joining, but the Lake Charles, Louisiana, native has impressed.
“He’s a quiet assassin and he just goes out there and is very detailed in his routes,” Gruden said. “When the ball’s in the area, he’s got strong hands. Very quarterback-friendly target.”
When Quinn joined Davis and Harris at the ball cannon following practice as other players signed autographs, the 22-year-old receiver made sure he was the last player off the field. Quinn said Davis has already established himself in the NFL, so Quinn feels obligated to put in more time than the 13-year veteran.
He helped feed the machine for the other two before taking his turn catching passes. After waiting 255 selections until he was chosen by the Redskins, Quinn’s extra work could make him a larger part of the offense than his “Mr. Irrelevant” moniker would suggest.
“He has a great mentality,” Davis said. “That’s the recipe. When you want to be great, you have to work on it.”