Al Galdi is asking if J.D. McKissic can be what the Redskins have had very infrequently during the Dan Snyder Era – a big-time pass-catching running back.
On Wednesday, the first day of the NFL’s new league year, we had multiple reports that the Redskins and unrestricted free-agent running back J.D. McKissic had agreed on a two-year contract. Yesterday the Redskins officially announced the signing.
The 2020 season will be McKissic’s age-27 season.
McKissic entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State with the Atlanta Falcons in May 2016. He spent most of the 2016 season on the Falcons’ practice squad, was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Seahawks in Dec. 2016 and played in 19 games with the Seahawks over the final two weeks of the 2016 season and the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He spent a good chunk of the 2018 season on the Seahawks’ reserve/injured list with a foot injury. The Seahawks waived McKissic in the cutdown to 53 going into the 2019 season, he was quickly claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions and he played in all 16 games for the Lions in 2019.
In 2019 for the Lions over 16 games he played on just 23.82 percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps and had 38 carries for 205 yards (5.39 yards per carry) and 34 receptions for 233 yards (6.85 yards per reception) and a touchdown on 42 targets. Among non-qualified running backs (those with between 20-99 carries) in the 2019 season, McKissic ranked No. 14 among 47 such running backs in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric in terms of rushing at 6.0 percent.
McKissic at Arkansas State was actually a receiver. He over four seasons for the Red Wolves had 289 career receptions as compared to just 47 career carries. He in 2012 had 103 receptions and in 2013 had 82 receptions.
Yesterday, McKissic on a conference call with reporters said the following regarding what offensive coordinator Scott Turner expects from running back.
“The running back position is very important to him. The running back position is evolving, guys have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, when you’ve got a lot of weapons on the field you want to be able to use everything that this guy can give you. He also coached Christian McCaffrey and you can see, he mentioned Christian McCaffrey had 100 catches. He told me I’d get a couple but I won’t get that many. I mean I think the running back position is very important. It’s evolving. Guys catching the ball out of the backfield is becoming a mix and match for defenses, you’ve got safeties, you’ve got linebackers who usually have got to cover those guys. Sometimes the corner may stay out there just because he’s got to respect the position, I mean outnumbered. You’ve got plenty of DBs on the field then you can pound the ball. I mean just how you look at it, man the running back position is evolving, very fast before our eyes.”
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