Kelvin Harmon Done for Year for Redskins, Thinning Receiver Corps
It’s been a rough few seasons for the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. Earlier this month, it was announced that the team would be changing their name from the Redskins, though no new name has been announced as of yet. The team has made the playoffs just twice in the last 12 years while finishing in the basement of the NFC East seven times in that span. They’ve won double-digit games in that 12-year span just once, going 10-6 in 2012, the lone year they won the division crown. Meanwhile, they’ve won four or fewer games four times, including last season’s 3-13 showing.
Now, Washington has to deal with another blow, though this one is more about dealing with an on-field loss. It was announced that wide receiver Kelvin Harmon suffered a torn ACL last month and had surgery last week. He is expected to miss the 2020 campaign in its entirety.
Harmon was a sixth-round pick out of NC State in the 2019 NFL Draft and started to make a name for himself in the second half of last season. Playing on a young team full of rookies, Harmon was fourth on the team with 30 receptions for 365 yards while playing in all 16 games, starting eight. He had size at 6’2, 215 pounds and was a good blocker in the run game as well as being a target in the red zone. That’s something that is critical for the Washington offense, given the fact that they are dealing with a second-year quarterback in Dwayne Haskins along with youth at the receiver positions. No wide receiver on the roster has more than 70 career NFL catches and that number belongs to Cody Latimer, who could find himself cut given the fact that he was arrested in May and is facing five charges.
Harmon was in competition to potentially earn a starting job opposite fellow second-year receiver Terry McLaurin, who led the team in receptions last year. With Harmon out, Steven Sims likely slots back in as the slot receiver. He caught 34 passes for 310 yards and four scores last season. Washington also picked Antonio Golden-Gandy in the fourth round out of Liberty in the NFL Draft this season. He reeled in 79 passes for 1,396 yards and 10 scores in 2019 after catching 71 balls for 1,037 yards and 10 scores the year before. That gave him 150 receptions for 2,433 yards plus 20 scores in his two seasons as a Division I player.
Golden-Gandy could slot right in and step in as the starter opposite McLaurin. He provides a similar size profile at 6’4, 220 pounds, that Harmon had provided last season. Neither guy has breakaway speed like McLaurin does but would provide a solid underneath target that could come in handy for Haskins, who is still learning on the fly. Having a big target should be helpful for the young quarterback, who doesn’t have a viable option at tight end with both Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis Jr. hanging up the cleats after last season.
There clearly is a massive void at the receiver position for Washington this season. Losing Harmon is another blow to an already unproven and thin group. Golden-Gandy has a prime opportunity to step in and make an impact for a young team. We’ll have to see if he can answer the bell and help Haskins develop as a passer this season.