When an NFL Draft prospect leaves a tremendous impression through his play on the field and through the knowledge he displays in conversations and interviews, a team can only put a star next to his name, cross its fingers and hope he falls to them at an ideal time.
That's exactly what happened with Tulane wide receiver Ryan Grant, who was selected by the Redskins in the fifth round with the 142nd-overall pick Saturday.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said his staff was surprised to see Grant hadn't been picked much earlier when they were put on the clock for their fifth-round selection.
"We were impressed with (Grant) at the combine interview we had with him and his production at Tulane has been excellent," Gruden said. "He knows the position. He knows the passing game concepts. He had a very sophisticated offense at Tulane and we feel like he's going to come in and compete right away."
Both Gruden and Grant on Saturday talked about the receiver's best attribute: his hands.
Gruden said Grant is a "great hands catcher," something Grant said he's worked at his whole football career.
"I think God blessed me with some great hands," he said. "You know, when I was younger I always had pretty big hands. I was always good at catching the ball. I think I was born with that talent but I am a hard worker. I work hard at everything and I try to get better by the day."
Grant said he had just finished a workout when he got the call from Gruden he had been waiting for.
"I'm very ecstatic at the moment to be a part of the organization," he said, "and I'm going to make the most of the opportunity."
NOTES ON THE SELECTION OF RYAN GRANT
- Grant is the fifth selection of the Jay Gruden era and is the 39th selection by the Redskins under Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen.
- Grant is the 436th selection made by the Redskins in the Common Draft era (since 1967) and the 46th fifth-round selection in that time frame. He is the 71st fifth-round selection by the Redskins all-time since the institution of the draft in 1936.
- Grant's selection marks the first time the Redskins have selected a wide receiver since picking three in the 2011 NFL Draft (Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson).
- Grant joins Paul (2011) and Darnerian McCants (2001) as the only receivers drafted by the Redskins in the fifth round all-time.
- Grant is the 48th wide receiver selected by the Redskins in the Common Draft era.
- Grant is the 11th Tulane product selected by the Redskins all-time, joining B Buddy Banker (1940), T Bill Kirchem (1940), T Harley McCollum (1942), B Walt McDonald (1943), T Roman Bentz (1943), E Art Porter (1945), G Don Lockwood (1959), G Bernie Darre (1960), HB Terry Terrebonne (1962) and QB Patrick Ramsey (2002). Grant and Ramsey are the Redskins' only two selections from Tulane in the Common Draft era.
- Grant is only the second player selected by the Redskins all-time with the No. 142 selection, joining UCLA T Gil Moreno (1956).
With the No. 142 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Ryan Grant of Tulane. Here's a gallery of his collegiate career and some NFL Combine still shots.
Prepped in Texas. As a true freshman in 2009, appeared in nine games and recorded nine receptions for 39 yards (4.3-yard average) and a touchdown. Started 6-of-12 games in '10, tallying 33-515-4 (15.6). Started one game in '11, but was granted a medical hardship because of season-ending hernia injury. Returned to start all 12 games in '12, snagging 76-1,149-6 (15.1). Led the team in receiving for the second year in a row in '13 when he started 12-of-13 games (gave way to two tight ends against Syracuse) and produced 77-1,039-9 (13.5).
Good size. Smooth accelerator off the line. Good flexibility to sink his hips. Tracks throws and shows terrific body control to adjust. Impressive hands catcher -- quick, soft mitts. Makes NFL-caliber catches, snatching throws out of the air away from his body. Determined runner with the ball in his hands. Nice upfield quickness to pick up yards after the catch. Good field awareness.
Productive, monotone, unrefined, enigmatic mid-major receiver with one of the best pair of hands in the draft, though he comes with concerning tweener traits he will have to overcome. Lacks ideal speed and physicality to survive outside and lacks ideal suddenness and toughness to thrive inside. Workout numbers will be critical.