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Olamide Zaccheaus searching for more opportunities with Commanders


Signing with the Washington Commanders is not quite a homecoming for wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, but it's close enough. He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, before playing high school football at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia and beginning his college career at the University of Virginia.

He's hoping his first time living in the DMV will come with an opportunity to prove himself.

"I'm confident in what I can do," Zaccheaus told reporters after Washington's June 5 OTA practice. "I just need a chance to showcase it."

Zaccheaus, an undrafted free agent in 2019, is familiar with having to earn his place. He earned a spot on the Atlanta Falcons' 53-man roster, spending the first half of his rookie year inactive or playing special teams. He didn't get his first target until Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. His first catch came a week later, when he took a pass from Matt Ryan 93 yards for a touchdown.

Zaccheaus's usage only increased from there, both in terms of production and snaps on the field. In 2022 -- his last with the Falcons -- he started 13 games, catching 40 passes for 533 yards and three touchdowns. All numbers were career highs.

Zaccheaus spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was a depth piece behind a stacked receiver room that included A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Zaccheaus was still third among Eagles receivers in yards, but his opportunities were limited with just one start and 10 catches for 164 yards on 20 targets.

Now, Zaccheaus is coming to Washington, where there could be a bigger role for him to fill.

Like the Eagles, the top of the Commanders' receiver room is already established with Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Outside of that, however, things are murky. Luke McCaffrey shows promise, but there is no telling what he will be as a rookie. Dyami Brown has yet to make a habit of the flashes he's shown over the years. Other names like Mitchell Tinsley, Damiere Byrd, Davion Davis and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint are either undrafted free agents or still unproven depth pieces.

The point is there's a void where Zaccheaus could prove his worth.

"It's just a chance to come out and showcase what I can do," Zaccheaus said of why he signed with Washington. "That's really all I ask for. I just want to help build a culture here, help this team win, help put points on the board."

The Washington Commanders were back on the field after a week off to continue their OTA practices. Check out the top photos from the afternoon.

Whoever does end up filling out the depth chart at receiver behind McLaurin and Dotson will likely need to prove they can help the team in ways besides catching passes. Players like Jamison Crowder, Dax Milne and Kazmeir Allen have been part of a group catching kicks. Zaccheaus has participated on special teams every year of his career, and if that's what he needs to do to get on the field with the Commanders, "that's the goal."

Zaccheaus is confident that he'll be doing more than fielding punts and kicks for Washington, though. He's a fan of what head coach Dan Quinn has built since being hired in February, and he's comfortable in offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury's scheme, regardless of how different it may be from more traditional NFL offenses at times. Everything is cohesive, he said, and the system has become "second nature" after going through OTAs.

That should help Zaccheaus with what will play a large role in him getting on field: establishing chemistry with first-round pick Jayden Daniels, who he said has shown promise with his habits and a veteran-style approach. Like the rest of the receivers, Zaccheaus wants to make life easier for Daniels and be an available target for him during his rookie year.

The best way to do that: get as many reps as possible.

"It takes time, but the more reps you get, the better it'll be."

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