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Wake Up Washington | UDFA Mitchell Tinsley earns his way into spotlight


"For me, I just wanna learn as much and soak up as much knowledge that I can," said UDFA wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley.

Tinsley has left coaches curious about how his skills can round out an already sizable wide receiver room as he makes significant learnings strides during preseason and bonds with the Commander's veteran players. 

Washington's roster is flooded with other consistent wide receivers like Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel, all of whom bring their own unique skill sets to the roster. However, Tinsley's unique background could be what he needs to forge a path onto the team's 53-man roster. 

"It's been good. There's been some ups and downs, but for it being my first game, I think it's going pretty good," Tinsley said. "Honestly, I'm just trying to take it one play at a time, not making anything bigger than it is. I focus on one play at a time, focus on my assignments, and I play a lot better."

The Washington Commanders kicked off the first of two joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens today. Check out the best photos from Tuesday morning.

While most players at camp grew up dreaming of this moment, Tinsley's focus was on basketball until his senior year of high school. Scholarship opportunities were limited for Tinsley, he ended up playing at Hutchinson Community College before transferring to Western Kentucky University and then to Penn State.

On the field, Tinsley is physical, quick and knows how to make difficult catches. But Tinsley's ability to work well with others and focus on learning makes him a growing asset to the Commanders.

Tinsley can play either on the perimeter or in the slot. His skill set allows him to run any route, whether it's near the middle of the field on closer to the sideline.

Not only has Tinsley found his footing with the top WRs, but he's putting in the work with third-string quarterback Jake Fromm.

"We still do stay after practice and catch passes," Tinsley said. "I catch the passes he wants to throw, and I'm just there whenever he needs me."

The Washington Commanders were back on the field in front of fans for a fully-padded practice. Check out the top photos from Monday morning.

Tinsley showed that growth off during the Commanders' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, which resulted in a 17-15 win for the Burgundy & Gold. Tinsley was involved in nine different pass plays and capped off his performance with a 26-yard catch on second-and-24.

Part of Tinsley's growth during camp has come from the veteran leadership on the team, who are open to leading and teaching during this time of the offseason.

"I'm just looking at the vets. Looking at Curtis, Terry, and Jahan. Watching them, seeing how they practice and how they play and certain routes," Tinsley said. "I'm always in there trying to figure out what I can learn."

Tinsley works well with Dotson, as they both went to Penn State, where head coach James Franklin led them. Tinsley also stepped into Dotson's former starting position upon his graduation and draft to the NFL.

"It's been cool. I already had a previous relationship with Jahan, but it's been cool getting to know the other guys. Terry, Curtis, Dyami and all those guys."

The Washington Commanders kicked off Week 4 of training camp in front of thousands of fans at the team facility. Check out the top photos from Sunday morning. (Emilee Fails and Joe Noyes/Washington Commanders)

Despite the inherently competitive relationship between the undrafted receivers, Tinsley says it's beside the point regarding their relationships with one another.

"I think it's just that the other stuff is out of our control," Tinsley said. "All we can do is go out there and play hard, be at our best, and put our best foot forward. But…at the end of the day, we're all teammates and will be friends even off the field."

At the same time, Tinsley and the rest of the undrafted wideouts are in an intense competition with each other. With the top four wide receiver spots already set, that leaves only one or two spots for them to compete for.

There are several factors head coach Ron Rivera is keeping in mind as he evaluates the position.

Check out the top photos from the Washington Commanders' season opener against the Cleveland Browns. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

"You're looking at guys that have first of all position flex that can play just more than whether it's the Z, the X, or the zebra," Rivera said. "They've gotta be able to play all three spots or two of those three spots. Then secondly, you are looking for specific skill sets depending on which we feel is gonna be the one that we'll probably need a little bit more help with.

"Is it a guy that can go vertical, or is it a guy that's very quick and shifty underneath?" Rivera added. "Or is it a guy that physically can come down and block? Those are the three attributes that I know we'll be talking about…when it comes down to who those guys are gonna be for us."

As Tinsley works and learns from the veteran players, he's learning how being physical and focusing on skill by skill can align with the needs of the team and his own goals.

Tinsley intends to carry that momentum forward as the preseason unfolds.

"Continue to do what I'm doing and be consistent, running good routes, catching what they're throwing to me, and being where I'm supposed to be," Tinsley said. "So I feel like that's my goal for the rest of camp and preseason."

A morning roundup of content from the Washington Commanders on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023.

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