It's not easy making an impact as a rookie wide receiver in the NFL. Many times, the initial campaign is filled with difficulties adjusting to the speed, size and power of NFL defenses. Route running is a skill that takes time to develop, and knowing how to set defensive backs up on double moves and options is a learned skill. Apparently, someone forgot to tell that to Terry McLaurin, who had himself a game on Sunday.
In the Washington Redskins' season-opening 32-27 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, they seem to have found themselves a true No. 1 receiver. The Ohio State product, drafted in the third round this past April, looked the part of a player who should've been considered for pick No. 26, not pick No. 76. He hauled in five passes on seven targets for 125 yards and a score, but his debut was so much more than that.
McLaurin showcased his blazing speed, but also his improved hands and ability to win contested catches. When Washington's offense was humming in the first half, he was the key cog, catching three balls for 104 yards.
His day would've been much better with a more accurate Keenum, after missing out on a 70-plus-yard scoring opportunity when McLaurin burned the competition.
That would've been his second big play of the game, after his 69-yard score in the first.
Watch how he separates from the defender here, from various angles. McLaurin his a top speed of 21.2 miles per hour while gaining 3.5 feet of separation. SportRadar's Game Stream function breaks the play down from all viewpoints.
McLaurin also checked in with a beautiful sideline catch that helped Washington put more points on the scoreboard prior to the half.
All in all, while the game didn't turn out the way many hoped, the amount of optimism in DC over McLaurin's debut is more than enough to soften the blow of starting the season 0-1. There will be brighter days on the horizon with him in play.