The last pick in the NFL Draft is known as “Mr. Irrelevant,” as the player selected in that position has rarely, if ever, amounted to much of a contributor in the NFL. But yesterday, on Thanksgiving, we saw some production out of 2018's Mr. Irrelevant, Washington wide receiver Trey Quinn.
Quinn produced 5 receptions and a receiving touchdown, as well as punt returns of 30 and 10 yards, respectively, in a losing effort at the Cowboys.
As a prospect, Quinn fit the mold of wide receiver that I generally fall in love with. At SMU, he produced 114 receptions, 1,236 yards, and 13 touchdowns in his redshirt junior season. Despite heralded counterpart Courtland Sutton’s presence on SMU’s offense, Quinn was their main target when the offense needed to move the chains. Sutton was the superior athlete, and was taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft as a result, but Quinn proved to be a reliable player in his own right.
A fact about Quinn that I always came back to was that he is high school football’s all-time leader in receiving yards, and Louisiana’s all-time leader in receptions. This was a guy who produced at a high rate regardless of level.
Quinn’s route running initially caught my eye when scouting him, but it was actually his body control and soft hands that solidified him as a prospect. Quinn had the best hands in the class, with no drops shown on the film that I scouted. Additionally, he was making catches from all different hand placements and regardless of the position of defensive backs.
It was seemingly as if Quinn had a GPS tracker in the football and his hands were always naturally extended to pluck the ball out of the air. A player who could immediately separate with reliable hands? I was sold. I had him ranked 9th at the wide receiver position, and in my Top 70 overall players.
The NFL valued his game a little less. Despite a solid enough showing at the NFL Combine, realistically the NFL saw only an average sized and average athlete for the next level. He fell all the way to the last pick, number 256 to the Washington Redskins. Quite the bargain for a player I had graded as a third round pick.
Luckily, Quinn was given a fair shake in the preseason by the Redskins and made the team out of training camp. An injury in Week 1 threatened his rookie season, but he returned to game action last week against the Cardinals.
Finally, in the national spotlight on Thanksgiving, Quinn looked comfortable and healthy. His route running and hands are rapidly translating to the next level, and he was able to separate away from man coverage in the red zone for a touchdown. Catching everything within reach, he has 9 receptions in his last two games.
An area where Quinn was utilized some in college was as a return man, and his 30 yard punt return yesterday was a nice display of his elusiveness. In the college game, his lateral shiftiness could put some defenders on skates, and that ability can be used as a return man or as a receiver in space.
Moving forward Quinn fits in nicely with both quarterback Colt McCoy and Alex Smith’s brand of football. Whether as a slot receiver who can separate with his route breaks, a presence on check downs, or a player who gets open when the quarterback extends plays, Quinn will likely continue his production if given targets.
Because of the NFL undervaluing Quinn during the NFL Draft process, we’ve likely stumbled upon potentially the most productive “Mr. Irrelevant” of all-time.