Two things were needed to be addressed this offseason for the Washington Football Team: No. 1 quarterback and a No. 2 receiver.
Terry McLaurin took the NFL by storm in 2020 with his first 1,000-yard season, but he needed a true running mate.
There wasn't another wideout with more than 477 yards.
The verdict still is unknown on veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The hope is the 38-year-old can work out the kinks, build off the end of his time with Miami and help WFT finish with a record better than 7-9.
As for wide receiver? The addition of Curtis Samuel not only adds speed, but it also brings star-level promise to an offense that averaged 2.2 touchdowns per game.
Already ahead of the learning curve with coordinator Scott Turner's play design, he believes it will be second nature when the clock is officially running.
"All I can say is we're going to score some touchdowns," Samuel said Wednesday following OTAs.
Washington finished near the bottom of every offensive category last fall. They ranked 30th in total yards, 25th in passing and 26th on the ground. They also finished tied for 25th in average touchdowns per game, tying with Samuel's former team in Carolina.
Samuel is one of several new offensive weapons that will hopefully compliment the success of McLaurin and second-year runner Antonio Gibson. Washington added consistent slot target Adam Humphries and drafted North Carolina vertical threat Dyami Brown. The team also drafted receiving tight end John Bates out of Boise State.
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The difference between Samuel and the rest is a familiarity with Rivera and the coaching staff. That's not the same case with Fitzpatrick, who Samuel is trying to bond with during OTAs before games are underway.
"It's a little bit of a process: the quarterback understanding your mindset, you understanding the quarterback's mindset, understanding where you want the ball placed, where he wants you to be," Samuel said. "It takes a little bit of time. That's why we're here for OTAs, to get our timing down pat. So, by the time the season comes, everything is smooth."
Samuel's role for Tuner and WFT will be to get open and win with speed. During his time with the Panthers, he wasn't just a slot receiver. In the final year under Rivera, the Panthers began to use Samuel efficiently in jet sweeps and motions.
Last season under Carolina coordinator Joe Brady, he recorded a career-high 41 rushing attempts for 200 yards.
"I'm moving around. I'm doing a lot of different things and I'm excited about it," Samuel said of his role. "I don't really pay attention to numbers, I don't really focus on that too much. My job is to make things happen and be explosive for this offense."
Samuel, McLaurin and Gibson all ran sub-4.4 40-times coming out of college. Stamina Brown posted a 4.45 while fellow rookie Dax Milne reportedly posted a 4.56 at BYU's Pro Day.
It's still early, but Samuel can see a connection growing. Fitzpatrick has helped multiple receivers elevate their game. Why wouldn't Samuel be next?
"I'm just looking to take my game to the next level and he's played with a lot of different guys," Samuel said. "I feel like he'll help me with that aspect."