Anthony Armstrong was indeed a pleasant surprise 27yr old rookie coming out of the -whatever- Football League, showing a great spark for catching the deep ball and putting up notable numbers in the process.
Santana Moss is now a free agent, coming off of one of his best seasons to date, and nobody has any real idea as to what his future holds between he and the Washington Redskins. One thing is for sure here, Moss has been a staple on this team, and a rare bright spot on the offense since the Mark Brunell days. Many fans (including myself) would love to see #89 back in the burgundy and gold putting up the slot receiver numbers we saw last season.
Roydell Williams last season was quite possibly the most unimpressive player I have ever seen suit up at the wide receiver position (and making this claim position-specific is generous).
He won't be back.
Terrance Austin is a guy everyone would love to see have a breakout year in Washington. He has a skill set and body type similar to Santana Moss and could eventually play a big role in the offense's slot position. His future success remains a big-time "if," but one that at least offers promise.
Brandon Banks will be mentioned here, but I'm yet to see much from him as an actual value at receiver.
He could eventually gain a skill set appropriate for the position, but he's a return man, through and through (and a darned good one when rookies aren't blocking in the back to negate his scores.. But that's water under the bridge and evaporated into the sky).
Malcolm Kelly may be the X-factor of this group. He has the size and skill to be the excellent receiver Jim Zorn envisioned him being. There's a reason he is still on the team and Devin Thomas is not.
Kelly has the work ethic to do well buying into the Shanahan offense. The only thing that will determine this is Kelly's health.
IF (again, another major "if") Malcolm Kelly stays healthy through the season, he could actually be an excellent weapon for the Shanahans to take advantage of.
And then the draft happened!
It seems that the front office in Washington has been stricken with the same realization of just how desperately thin the Redskins are at wide-out, and three receiver selections later, it seems that there is plenty of depth to be found in this position come training camp (assuming training camp happens, of course).
Leonard Hankerson was the first offensive weapon added to the team in the draft. The trend of late is to not draft wide receivers high in the draft, short of a super-star. Hankerson was projected by many to be a possible first round talent, and because he appears to be a step below the A.J. Green and Julio Jones, teams were not interested in risking a first or second choice on him. In Miami, Hankerson displayed the ability to use his great size to block off defensive backs. He also has great hands and is not afraid to go over the top, taking a hit by a safety for the catch. His size and athletic ability makes him an assumed red zone threat and has the opportunity to start day one.
The fifth round produced Niles Paul, a smaller possession receiver. What I think Mike Shanahan also liked about this guy is his willingness to sacrifice his body to set a block. Much of the reason for his lack of college production: Nebraska's offense was built around the running game, and Paul was coached to place high emphasis on blocking for his good friend and the team's premier back (4th round selection Roy Helu, but we'll get to him later).
And finally, the sixth round produced Aldrick Robinson, the big-play threat of of Southern Methodist. His size and athleticism are indeed reminiscent of Brandon Banks, but it appears that Robinson will be more of a receiving threat, stretching the field for whoever the quarterback ends up being.
If the coaching staff looks at this unit and still wants to add more depth in the team's pass-catching, this year's free agency class is chock-full of options for Washington to take advantage of this off-season.
-Santonio Holmes is said to be a chief target of Mike Shanahan this once free agency commences. Holmes has proven to be a difference maker wherever he has been. With the Steelers and most recently with the Jets, the prolific receiver has helped Ben Rothlisberger and Mark Sanchez look brilliant with he as a primary target. There are a few "character" issues, but he showed last season that he is nothing like the prima dona attitudes of other well-noted receivers across the league.
-James Jones is a big receiver who helped get GB a Superbowl championship this last season. He will want to get paid like a #1 receiver, but he should perform very well for the team that picks him up. If his hands improve over the next few seasons, he has the potential be a star receiver in this league.
-Mike Sims-Walker is a name that has been associated with Washington in free agent speculation all off-season. He is a large, underrated talent who may come to his new franchise at a bargain price and will give good quality possessions the franchise.
-Jacoby Jones worked with Kyle Shanahan in Houston and is a dangerous speed threat.
-Fresh out of a two year, gun-related prison sentence Plaxico Burress is ready to re-enter the league. Teams will be much more apt to sign Burress after the great success of the Michael Vick experiment, but I wouldn't expect a bidding war by any stretch. Expect the red zone threat to put up good numbers in the last few years of his career.
-Sidney Rice will be pursued heavily by Minnesota, so he will inevitably be overpaid next season wherever he is. He has the ability to be one of the most prolific receivers in the game, but since Washington is clearly without a star QB, I don't see Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan going all-out to sign this guy.