The burden on Terry McLaurin’s shoulders has been a cause for concern the last couple of seasons in Washington. With limited talent on the boundary, teams have found it easy to lock in on No. 17, limiting the prowess of the passing game coming out of the nation’s capital. While the fleet of foot McLaurin has still found a way to get his, Ron Rivera and Co. didn’t waste any time bolstering Washington’s arsenal of weapons this offseason.
A dynamic, fundamentally elite pass-catcher out of the University of North Carolina, rookie Dyami Brown has been the source of many training camp highlights and inherent optimism inside the burgundy and gold’s Ashburn, Va. facility this summer.
Similar to McLaurin’s first campaign in 2019, Brown has taken camp by storm due to his elite footwork, consistent hands, and knack for the spectacular when presented the opportunity to embarrass a defender.
"You guys have seen the practices,” Rivera said. "Catching those quick slants or darts and then sticking his foot in the ground to get vertical is pretty impressive... [He's] a guy that's got an opportunity to really kind of step into the forefront for us and be a big part of what we want to do offensively… Just adding some more speed is going to be huge. He's a guy that I think can really help offset some of the things that Terry [McLaurin's] had to deal with."
However, Washington will need more than just a few flashes in the pan during the heat of the summer from Brown, who enters the fold as one of Washington’s premier offensive targets this fall alongside McLaurin and free-agent addition Curtis Samuel. A 20-yards-per-reception wideout during his sophomore and junior seasons as a Tar Heel, Brown’s explosiveness has already caught the eye of gun-slinger Ryan Fitzpatrick, who looks primed to captain the offense in a year in which Washington looks to repeat as division victors.
"When I got drafted, he [Fitzpatrick] was actually the first one to hit my phone and start talking about deep balls," Brown said.
An offense littered with unique concepts via motion, screens, and a focus on getting vertical early and often, Scott Turner’s analytically-tailored approach should find Brown working in favorable matchups from the onset of his career. A once depleted room for talent just a few short seasons ago has now become one overflowing with speed, depth, and most importantly, potential output.
Brown’s path to success in his first season as a pro isn’t one of many obstacles. The snaps should be there, and in turn, production. Until he earns respect, eyes will be drawn elsewhere to the talent of McLaurin, Samuel, running back Antonio Gibson, and in-line pass-catcher Logan Thomas. Brown proved he thrives in man coverage, dismantling corners weekly in the ACC, and granted, the NFL is an entirely different beast. But football is football, and work against stout veteran corners in Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III could assist dramatically in eliminating Brown’s grace period to success as he enters his first preseason slate of games.
For many, Brown’s skill set entering the NFL has reminded the masses of Stefon Diggs out of Maryland. A wiry talent with the ability to change direction on a whim, Diggs amassed 720 yards on 52 catches in his first season in Minnesota. Numbers aside, it’s hard to ignore the mold and hard to slide Brown’s stud potential under the rug, even with McLaurin and Samuel in town.
With expectation aplenty mastheaded by Rivera’s newly installed culture in Washington, Brown could be called to the front of the line as one of the next burgundy and gold’s youth-infused stars.
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