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Scout's Eye: Scouting Norman, TE Mismatch & A Rookie Worth Watching

FRISCO, Texas – NFL teams typically have a 24-hour rule. We on the outside tend to hold on to games for a little bit longer, but by Wednesday it is certainly time to move on.

The Cowboys travel to face what looks like a really talented Washington roster this weekend. This is a team that just had a rough showing on Monday night, but don't let that fool you. The Redskins have a loaded offense, and they've made some additions on defense – which we'll get to in a minute.

Here's my usual look at three big names I think you should be familiar with heading into the matchup:

Weapon: Josh Norman, CB

Such a super productive player. Norman has a great feel for the game and displays an outstanding ability to make plays on the ball. In zone coverage, he reads and reacts quickly and decisively with a natural burst. His hips are loose and fluid in his drop and when he turns to run downfield. He doesn't struggle to run, but he doesn't have great timed speed – he will surprise you in his ability to run.

In press coverage, he really shines. He shows a great physicality and mixes it up well to re-route the runner. He also knows how to stay in position and maintain his leverage on the outside. At times, he can be overly aggressive, whether it is leaning forward in his press or taking an early jump on the ball. But he makes fearless plays, and he is super confident when he is going after the ball. He plays it well in the air and has soft hands.

One of his best traits is the lack of space that he allows a receiver to work in. There are small windows when he is in coverage. When you study his game, you don't see him give up big plays. He's a solid tackler and breaks down well to finish the play. He's also not afraid to mix it up.

Known for being brash, Norman has the ability to back up his cocky attitude. He shows the ability to get in the head of his opponents and affect the way they play.

He will generally line up on the left side of the defense. Took two snaps against Pittsburgh on the opposite side when there was no receiver to his side.

Nemesis: Jordan Reed, TE

Big body player that is a combination of speed and quickness with receiver-like hands. As a route runner he is able to separate at all levels down the field. Reed is an outstanding route runner -- knows how to get open. He finds space right off the snap. There is some separation to his game but when covered he can make the contested catch.

This is a player that's not afraid to take his route across the field or play in traffic. He will extend his hands to catch the ball, and he will make the defender have to go through him to try and defend him. It might not be his favorite thing, but he can be used as an "H" back and is asked to block inside. He's better when he can work along the line trying to tie his man up.

Reed is athletic enough to stay on his feet and take the defender whichever direction he'd like to go. He's not going to get a ton of movement at the point of attack – more pass receiver than run blocker. If he's not managed correctly, he has the ability to make those plays that keep the chains moving. 

Bottom line: this is a versatile alignment player that coaches can use as a matchup advantage. You have to game plan for him each week due to his ability to line up at so many different spots. Reed will likely draw the attention of Byron Jones in this game. Jones will have to treat him as a receiver -- Pittsburgh didn't have a good answer for him in Week 1.

Under the Radar: Josh Doctson, WR

The rookie receiver is just now coming back from a strained Achilles tendon he suffered during OTAs.
Doctson had one catch against the Steelers on Monday night on his only target.

He hasn't been talked about much, but he is one of the many talented receivers on this squad. As a college player, you saw the start-stop quickness. And he has an understanding of how to come back for ball. Doctson will sit down in coverage and present himself as a target, and he knows how to escape from tacklers with moves.

This is a guy that can sell a route – you see such ease of movement. He will lay out for ball, and he's willing to adjust to the low ball. He can also find the ball in the air, and he's willing to go up and get it. Doctson's footwork is not always sound, but you can tell he worked on it during the draft process this spring.

I had him as my second-highest receiver in the draft behind Laquon Treadwell -- who was also selected in the first round. It will only be a matter of time before he really gets going as a player with the Redskins. He has too many quality traits not to be a successful player in this league for a long time.   


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