ASHBURN, Va. -- The title hasn’t dented his confidence. He’s Mr. Irrelevant to others, but that will never be how he views himself. Washington Redskins rookie receiver Trey Quinn might have been the last pick in the draft, but for him that’s a starting point and not an end game.
And being Mr. Irrelevant just becomes something else to overcome, pushing him to where he believes he’ll go.
“I love it,” he said last weekend during the rookie minicamp. “Call me Mr. Irrelevant all you want. I’ll prove that I’m relevant. If I’m going to talk, I better back it up and that’s why I’m out here working. I’m capable of being a playmaker in this league.”
He has no doubt he’ll make the 53-man roster: “Absolutely.”
He has no doubt about his ability: “I think I was the best receiver in the damn draft.”
Quinn's confidence stems in part from his production. He caught 22 passes in two years at LSU before transferring after the 2015 season. At SMU last season, Quinn led the nation with 114 receptions for 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“You’d think it would help, leading the nation in receptions,” he said. “It means you’re getting open and catching the ball. It’s all perception for a lot of people. People can get fooled by perception and they buy into it too much.”
After the draft, Redskins coach Jay Gruden called Quinn an “exciting prospect. He’s a great option-route runner, great feel in zones, strong hands, good physical blocker, good after the catch.”
During the rookie minicamp, Quinn worked mostly from the slot -- and that's likely his future spot, too. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he has good size inside. Last weekend, he showed that he can create openings with how he plants on his fakes and sinks his hips at the top of his route -- something that attracted the Redskins' attention. The team also likes his confidence and toughness. Quinn says he can play outside, too, but he’ll have to learn to defeat press coverage.
“I can do it all,” he said. “I can come out of the backfield. I’m a utility receiver. If you need me to run a fade, I can do my best. I know I’m 6-foot, but I can get up there, too."
The hard part for Quinn is that the Redskins already have an excellent slot receiver in Jamison Crowder, who is entering the final year of his contract. But they didn’t have depth behind Crowder. With quarterback Alex Smith and a bolstered group of receivers after signing Paul Richardson -- they also hope to have Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson healthy -- Crowder could find more openings underneath.
That means Quinn also will have to impress the Redskins on special teams. He might help as a punt returner, though he didn’t stand out there in college. He returned a combined six punts for 20 yards and had five kickoff returns for 113 yards.
But this is where desire enters.
“Anywhere there’s an open spot, I’ll take it,” Quinn said. “I’ve never played deep before, but I’ll go back there in the backfield and light up a running back or something. Anything like that -- and work out on special teams. That’s how they say you make an impact as a rookie. Anything they’ve got for me, I’m willing to do.”
Escaping the title of Mr. Irrelevant will be tough. Even his buddies back home in Louisiana ribbed him about that moniker. But Quinn will be able laugh about it while vacationing in Newport Beach, California, next month -- one perk of being Mr. Irrelevant. He'll get more attention from being the last pick in the draft rather than, say, a sixth-rounder -- which is when Washington first debated taking him. The Redskins went with linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton instead; in the seventh round, picking Quinn was a no-brainer.
“I was pissed off at it at first,” Quinn said. “Now I love it. I want a reason to prove people wrong. Any title you want to give me like that, I’m open for it. It’s exciting to prove people wrong. If you’re going to label me like that, go ahead. I’ll get a tattoo of it one day.”