Tight ends could help Redskins compensate for lack of size at wide receiver

Washington Redskins officials entered the NFL draft hoping to add a big-target wide receiver, but ultimately decided not to pull the trigger on any of the players that both fit that description and remained available at the time of their selections.

The team took 6-foot wide receiver Ryan Grant out of Tulane, as coaches were impressed with his versatility and ball skills, and they rated him as a better player than some of the larger receivers left on the board.

Washington currently has only two receivers taller than 6 feet, but Leonard Hankerson is coming off of an injury, and David Gettis remains unproven.

However, Coach Jay Gruden believes that size and versatility at tight end could help the Redskins compensate for a lack of height at wide receiver.

The team already had Jordan Reed (6-3, 243), who had an impressive rookie season and has lined up all over the field. Washington on Saturday selected Indiana tight end Ted Bolser, who has impressive size at 6-6, 248 pounds.

Ted Bolser, Donovan Bonner, Kony Ealy
Missouri’s Kony Ealy, right, leaps to tackle Indiana’s Ted Bolser following a catch last September. (Darron Cummings/Associated Press)

Gruden believes that Bolser, like Reed, has the ability to be used at multiple spots on the field.

Asked about Bolser’s strengths, Gruden said, “Pass catcher, probably. He is split out a lot, I think he is probably known for his pass-catching skills. Talking to their coaches, they feel like he could be an in-line blocker, they just didn’t do it a whole lot, but they did it. He has done it. He’s got good size. … So he has got the frame to do it. We just have to coach him up to do it.”

Together, Reed and Bolser can give the Redskins the big-target threats they need, Gruden said.

“The way Jordan can move around outside, inside, it creates mismatches for you against corners, safeties and linebackers,” he said. “There [are] different ways to get bigger guys matched up on smaller guys, and with Jordan’s flexibility and Teddy’s flexibility, it will help.”

Veteran Logan Paulsen also remains in the mix and measures in at 6-5, 261 pounds. But he fits the mold of the traditional blocking tight end. Niles Paul also remains on the roster. But the 6-1, 233-pound Paul is used primarily on special teams.

The Redskins are counting on Reed to build on last season when he set a franchise record for catches by a rookie tight end.

Last season ended prematurely for Reed as he battled concussions and missed the tail end of the season. He also dealt with a variety of other nicks over the course of the year.

Gruden said Reed is now fully healthy, but that he that he would like for Reed, a former quarterback in college, to bulk up a little to help him better hold up over the course of the year.

“He has been great. He’s had a great OTA session,” the coach said. “He is working out. He is in great shape, probably needs to gain a little weight. I think he’s thinking he is a wide receiver now. We’ve got to remind him he is a tight end, but he has done some great things and his health is excellent and he had a great three days of the little minicamp.”

Have a question about the Redskins? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More draft coverage from The Post:

D.C. Sports Bog: Griffin was texting Gruden about Seastrunk

Mark Maske’s NFC draft grades | Redskins draft for depth

Rams pick Michael Sam in seventh round | Sam’s reaction

Early Lead: Networks saw no issue showing Sam kiss

NFL coverage: Redskins home | Fancy Stats | The Early Lead | D.C. Sports Bog

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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