RICHMOND, Va. -- No one would have blamed Trey Quinn for dropping a back-shoulder liner from Case Keenum during a training camp practice Thursday morning. With the pass sailing towards the sideline, Quinn had yet to get out of his break. Right on his hip was rookie corner Jimmy Moreland.
Yet in one swift motion, Quinn made a twisting, one-handed reception, controlling the catch and getting both feet in bounds before veering off to the raucous crowd nearby. He then posed for a photo with a young fan wearing a No. 14 Redskins jersey, and after that he returned to the field of play. His teammates and his position coach, Ike Hilliard, greeted him with praise.
"He's definitely going to catch everything," undrafted rookie wideout Steven Sims Jr. said of Quinn. "If he drops it, it's shocking."
Much has been said about the sure-handedness of 2018's Mr. Irrelevant, and catches like the one Quinn made Thursday further validate those claims. Quinn already has the slot receiver spot "pretty much locked down," head coach Jay Gruden told reporters Tuesday. Now it's a matter of optimizing his potential within the Redskins offense, regardless of who winds up under center.
"When it's time to catch the ball, he's going to make the play and get separation," Gruden said of Quinn. "I think he has shown that ability the time that we've had him here."
Quinn admits he doesn't like the increased attention. He preferred the underdog role associated with being the 256th player selected in the 2018 NFL Draft and arriving at rookie minicamp without public expectations. Then he dropped his first pass during rookie minicamp, which further fueled him to achieve relevancy in Washington.
"I kind of want everyone to say 'you suck,'" Quinn said, "and let me go play ball."
Quinn cannot be ignored, however. He's shown too much promise, both in a few snippets of action as a rookie and throughout this offseason.
His versatility and knack for hauling in passes earned him offensive snaps in the season opener, but in the third quarter he suffered a high-ankle injury on a punt return. He was subsequently placed on IR, missing the next eight games, and then returned for Week 10 and 11 before re-injuring his ankle and sitting out the rest of the year. He finished the season by catching nine of his 10 targets for 75 yards and a touchdown.
While limited as a contributor, Quinn's stock continued to rise within the organization. Gruden expressed his excitement to watch Quinn "jump in the slot and dominate the position" while speaking during a media session at the NFL Annual Meetings in March. The comments came just a few weeks after the team's previous starting slot receiver, Jamison Crowder, signed with the New York Jets during free agency.
During the Redskins mandatory minicamp in June, Hilliard further bolstered Quinn's public image with phrases such as "it's more than chatter man, the kid can play," and "he's going to walk up there and let everybody know he belongs in the National Football League."
During training camp, Hilliard doubled down on these comments while talking to a scrum of reporters. The veteran wide receiver coach described Quinn as a versatile, smart, savvy player who catches everything in his vicinity (see above).
And with Quinn finally healthy, Hilliard is grateful he'll be suiting up for the burgundy and gold this fall.
"Trey's a good player, man. I've said it for a couple of months now. It's his job in the slot, he's going to dominate it. The world will see."