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Gruden really does prefer taller pass targets

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Gruden really does prefer taller pass targets

We have heard that when he was the offensive coordinator of the Bengals, Jay Gruden liked to employ tall receivers. Almost any discussion of a potential Redskins free agent or draft target starts with “how tall is he”?

Sometimes these “preference” are exaggerated by the presence of one tall player. Someone might look at the 6-4 A. J. Green and say, yeah, Gruden likes big guys. But one website decided to put a measuring stick to the question.

Instead of just looking at who has a “WR” or “TE” or “RB” next to his name and averaging out their heights, Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com took figuring out how tall a receiving corps is at step further. Here’s what he did:
I calculated the average receiving height of each team during the 2013 NFL season by taking a weighted average of the height of each player on each team, weighted by their percentage of team receiving yards. For example, Jeffery caught 31.9% of all Chicago receiving yards, so his 76 inches counts for 31.9% of Chicago’s average height.  Bennett gained 17.1% of the team’s receiving yards, so his 79 inches counts for 17.1% of Chicago’s average height, and so on.
That way, a 6-5 receiver who rarely gets targeted doesn’t skew the picture of the group as a whole.

The tallest receiving group belonged to the Bears at a weighted averaged of 75.9 inches. Two 6-4 receivers, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, accounted for just over 60 percent of the Bears’ receiving yards and 6-6 tight end Martellus Bennett accounted for 17 percent.

What about Gruden’s Bengals? They came in sixth with a weighted average of 74.3 inches. Green had 33 percent of their receiving yards and 6-1 wide receiver Marvin Jones had 16.5 percent. They had to overcome the “handicap” of their third-leading receiver being running back Giovani Bernard, who stands at 5-9.

If Gruden wants his Redskins to mirror the Bengals he has some work to do. The 2013 Redskins were 29th in weighted height of their receivers at 72.4 inches. Pierre Garçon, who accounted for 33.2 percent of the team’s receiving yards, is 6-0. Jordan Reed, at 6-3 with 12.3 percent of the receiving yards, pulls the average up a bit but the 5-10 Santana Moss (11.1 percent) drags it back down.

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NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

On the field, Fabian Moreau makes plays from his cornerback slot that translate to the NFL game. Staying on the field has been a different matter though. 

In five seasons at UCLA, Moreau dealt with his fair share of adversity. He took a medical redshirt year in 2015, suffering a Lisfranc injury three games into the year. More devestating to his draft status, however, was an injury suffered during his Pro Day in late March. Moreau tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.

For many, that injury caused his slip from a possible fringe first rounder to Washington's prize with the 81st pick. It's possible Moreau will be back from injury by the time training camp opens, but it seems likely he begins the summer sessions in Richmond on the PUP list. 

At the combine, Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Serious speed, and it instantly makes the 6-foot, 206 lbs., Moreau the fastest corner on the Redskins.

In his senior season, Moreau grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumble and made 31 tackles. Not scared to get physical and play press coverage, Moreau's mindset should mesh well with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland as he looks to force his way to playing time. 

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Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

Redskins take UCLA cornerback Moreau in the third round

After taking Alabama DL Jonathan Allen in the first round and Crimson Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second, the Redskins drafted UCLA corner back Fabian Moreau in the third.

Moreau may have been drafted earlier but he suffered a torn pectoral lifting weights during his pro day. Although medical evaluations have said he should be ready to participate in training camp, he lasted until the 81st pick.

Moreau has good size at 6-0, 206 and he is a plus athlete. At the combine he ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash. In 2016 he led the Bruins with six pass breakups and also two interceptions. He is also considered to be a good run defender.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.