The Camp Battles series rolls on with a look at the Tight End group. If you missed the earlier posts, they are below:
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Running Backs
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Defensive Backs
- Redskins Training Camp Battles: Defensive Line
The Redskins first two tight ends on the depth chart aren’t changing this season if Fred Davis is healthy. The IF, comes into play because Davis is still on the mend from a ruptured Achilles tendon, but signs point to him being ready to resume football activity by June. Fred Davis is the obvious No. 1 on the depth chart and should compete to be the primary ball receiver in the Skins offense. The next man up would be Logan Paulsen, who is the teams best blocking tight end and is needed on the end of our line for the stretch zone running plays.
As for the competition between rookie Jordan Reed and Niles Paul for playing time in the offense, it all depends on Niles Paul’s development in his third year (second year as a tight end) and how Jordan Reed looks against NFL talent. Right now there is no way of knowing the answer to each question. Paul does have a year as a tight end and a year in our system so that should help him. Paul has great straight-line speed, but often times quickness and athletic ability matter more for getting open in the middle of the field, something that Reed already has the ability to excel at. But regardless of any improvements Niles Paul makes, the Shanahan’s will find a role for the versatile Reed in their offense.
It is widely known that Reed is a terrific athletic, he might be the best athlete on the Redskins roster day one. He has also shown a great running-back-like ability in open field after the catch. At this point, there is question as to if Reed can be a viable replacement for Fred Davis if Davis goes unsigned after this season. His role in the receiving game will have to outdo his lack of blocking if he is going to see a lot of time on the field this season. He has a looooong way to go as a blocker. A long way! Davis keeps improving as a blocker every year, but it even took him several seasons to become efficient enough as a blocker where coaches felt he was an every down tight end. Just look back to Davis’ first 3 seasons in the NFL where Cooley continuously beat him out mostly because of his blocking. Reed is entering the NFL even further behind Davis in terms of blocking. Currently, Reed would have major issues if he’s asked to block along the line of scrimmage right now. That will certainly be one of the things coaches will be working on with him. One thing that Reed can do well is block on the move if he asked to, so he could see field time in a role similar to how Washington used Niles Paul last season. Reed is a mismatch for LBs with his athleticism and for DBs with his size as a tight end. So again, it is going to come down to whether or not Reed can make improvements up front and whether or not his impact in the passing game will override his limitations as a blocker.
There is definitely a spot for Reed in this offense because of his versatility and that alone is why people believe in time he could have Aaron Hernandez type production at some point. Jordan Reed will definitely be one to watch during training camp.
NEXT UP: Offensive Line