ASHBURN – It did not take long for Washington Redskins fans and media members alike to get a chance at witnessing a future starting quarterback in the making when former Bullis School standout Dwayne Haskins graced Redskins Park on May 11 for rookie camp.
The six-foot-three, 231-pound prodigy took a while to loosen up and look comfortable reading his progressions at first, but he slowly seemed to gain confidence during the practice session.
The former Ohio State Buckeye revealed that he has a cannon for an arm going over the top at will, but his accuracy left a lot to be desired. Coming into a west coast offense will be a new adjustment for Haskins, but he threw intermediate routes on time with precision and showed off a quick release off of his drop step.
Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden was impressed with the strides that the young signal caller has made so far.
“It’s been positive,” Gruden said of the experience coaching Haskins so far. “It’s been a good experience so far to get to know him, get some plays and watch him learn and then watch him take it to the field.
Yesterday, he had a great day. Today the defense played a little better, but it’s just a matter of progression right now and installation. We’re at the very bare minimum right now, but I’m very impressed with his skill set for sure. He can really spin it.”
The No. 15 pick of the 2019 NFL Draft appeared to be ready for the hype and pressure heading into seven-on-seven drills and performed admirably under pressure.
However, it will be some time until we see how the rookie will adjust to game speed, and there will still be a quarterback competition between the young star and newly acquired veteran quarterback Case Keenum heading into training camp.
“Yeah, for sure. We have to have that,” Gruden said of the quarterback competition dynamic. “I mean Case (Keenum) coming off of the most experience is great, Colt (McCoy) has the most experience with this terminology in this system and Dwayne (Haskins) was the 15th pick in the draft. We’ll see what happens.”
As for the gunslinger who is affectionately known as “Simba,” Haskins is still learning the ropes coming into a new system and level of competition but wants his community to be satisfied with his production for the hometown team when all is said and done.
“It means a lot to me, a lot of people sold into me to come back into the area where it all started means a lot to me and I’m looking to keep the area proud,” Haskins said. “There is a lot of work and responsibility, but I couldn’t ask for more or ask for a better opportunity for myself, and I’m going to make sure I do it right.”
There is no question that Haskins has all of the tools to be a productive NFL quarterback, but the real test will come further along this offseason when he has to digest all of the information from a massive playbook in an unfamiliar offense.
“Well, you’re going to have to study film whether you’re a rookie or a 20-year guy,” Gruden said. “I’m sure the great ones (Drew) Brees and (Tom) Brady still study film as much as anybody. That’s what makes them great.
“I think we’re going to help him along with that; teach him how to study film, what to look at in that regard. But he’s a guy that wants to work at it, and he has to work at it. At that position of quarterback, you have to study, and you have to work – the fundamentals, film, it is never-ending.”
Time will tell how things will shake out, but the ceiling is high for the young playmaker as he has quickly created a buzz in the area of optimism and excitement reminiscent of another first-round pick in Robert Griffin III back in 2012.