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Jerome Mathis

Jerome Mathis

The Washington Redskins' signing of kick returner and wide receiver Jerome Mathis made a bit of a ripple over the weekend. The former Houston Texan has a Pro Bowl, multiple appearances on injured reserve and a rap sheet on his resume.

The invitation to Hawaii came after the 2005 season when he averaged 28.6 yards per kickoff return and scored two touchdowns. He spent most of the 2006 and 2007 seasons on injured reserve with various foot and leg injuries.

The Texans had the right to retain Mathis but they chose not to offer him a restricted free agent tender. This was due to a pair of arrests in addition to the IR stints. Last December he was charged with neglect when he allowed some pit bulls to escape his property in Houston. That may have been overlooked but in February he was jailed for assault after being accused of attacking his pregnant girlfriend.

She later dropped the charges but, as we know, that doesn't mean that nothing happened.

One area reporter told ProFootballTalk.com that someone like Mathis never would have been allowed in the building, much less signed, if Joe Gibbs was still around.

That's all well and good, but taking the occasional chance on a guy who had a rocky couple of months in his 25-year life isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm all for high character guys, but Gibbs was 30-34 in his second stint back so maybe a hard and fast policy against giving guys a second chance—like he did occasionally in his first, more successful run—isn't such a good idea.

Mathis got a minimum contract with no guaranteed money, so there is little risk involved. Rock Cartwright is a good kickoff returner, but he's not exactly a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball. Mathis is, or at least he is when he can stay on the field.

At 5-11, he certainly isn't the big wide receiver that the team is looking for. In fact, he hasn't played much receiver at all, with only six career catches.

At this point, Mathis appears to be a moderately long shot to make the roster. His best shot will come if Jim Zorn decides to designate a roster spot for a kick returner. That could cost someone who plays a lot of special teams but not much at a regular position a job, someone like Khary Campbell.

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

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All or nothing? Redskins roll dice on 7th-round safety with lots of talent

All or nothing? Redskins roll dice on 7th-round safety with lots of talent

With two picks in the seventh round, the Redskins rolled the dice and selected Josh Harvey-Clemons. A safety from Louisville that started his career at Georgia, Harvey-Clemons was a five star recruit out of high school that eventually left Georgia due to multiple positive drug tests.

His junior year at Louisville, however, was a breakout season for Harvey-Clemons. Here are three things to know:

  1. Testing - At Georgia, Harvey-Clemons dealt with multiple suspensions for marijuana. That had a major impact on his draft status, and will have the eyes of the NFL watching him on the next level.
  2. Size - Harvey-Clemons has the size to play safety in the NFL, or maybe even more of a hybrid role like Su'a Cravens as a rookie. He's listed at 6-foot-4 and 217 lbs. NFL.com describes him with an "alpha mentality."
  3. Keep it together - After sitting out a transfer year, Harvey-Clemons played well at Lousville for two seasons. He logged more than 140 tackles and took ACC conference honors in 2015 and 2016. Whatever problems he had early in his college career (cough pot cough) he controlled at Louisville. If that continues, Harvey Clemons could have a chance at making the Redskins roster.

Simply put? The Redskins rolled the dice on a kid with good size and tackling ability who had problems with marijuana early in his college career. A lot of college students have problems smoking marijuana early in their college career. In the 7th round, this seems like a good gamble.

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