Since being signed in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama, Cam Sims has been dubbed as the “training camp hero” for the Washington Football Team. Breaking out in the second week of the 2018 preseason against the New York Jets, Sims missed almost all of his rookie season with a high ankle sprain after getting injured on the opening kickoff in Week 1. Then, in 2019, he did not make the 53-man roster, but was signed to the Washington practice squad. He appeared in seven games last season, primarily playing special teams as he caught just two passes for 27 yards. Finally, Sims didn’t make the original 53-man roster this season and signed with the Washington practice squad once again.
With Washington’s thin receiving corps and injuries, Sims is finally getting his moment to be a weapon in this offense after building his way up from an undrafted free agent and a special teamer. Sims caught his first NFL touchdown pass against the New York Giants on October 18th with less than a minute to go to bring Washington within one. Then, last week against the Giants, Sims joined Terry McLaurin, as he posted his first career 100-yard game. It was Sims’ first game over 22 yards in his career. Against the Detroit Lions, Sims came through in clutch moments, catching four balls for 54 yards, including a 23-yard gain on third and five in Washington’s first game-tying drive.
Washington is looking for a playmaker opposite of superstar Terry McLaurin, and while Sims may not be a true number two yet, he can still be a valuable contributor, potentially growing into a larger role.
Cam Sims is Growing Into an Offensive Weapon for the Washington Football Team
Short Yardage Situations and the Red Zone
At 6’5 and 215 pounds, Cam Sims’ frame makes for a tough matchup for smaller corners in the slot and his 4.54 speed can outrun linebackers. With relatively safe hands, Sims is exceptional in tight man coverage, typically in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. This past Sunday, Sims had two critical third-down catches, both contested and in man coverage.
Nice catch by Cam Sims on 3rd down. Smith was buying time and Sims kept crossing the middle to make himself available. Paid off with a big catch to covert pic.twitter.com/HVRZ34ezhZ
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 15, 2020
Sims also made a huge play in the red zone, for his first career touchdown in Week 6.
Cam Sims with his 1st NFL Touchdown of his career 🤩pic.twitter.com/vRWDLHR7Eo
— Alabama Diehards (@AlabamaDieHards) October 18, 2020
Although Washington most likely won’t move Sims to a tight end, due to the steep learning curve and his 215-pound frame, as Frank Ammirante suggested last week, a few plays with Sims as an in-line blocker would be interesting near the goal line, or, at the very least, be an adequate decoy.
Big Play Threat
Despite running a 4.54 40-yard dash, Sims has solid speed for his size with his ability to run away from receivers on crossing routes and make plays on vertical routes down the field. Drag routes have been a staple of Scott Turner’s offense, as evident on Washington’s game-tying driving against the Lions.
On a 3rd and 4, Alex Smith connected with Sims on a crosser for 33 yards. With the traffic created by Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin, Sims creates separation and makes an excellent effort after the catch.
Cam Sims had a career day against the Giants. Had some big plays obviously, but thought this was his best one. Shallow cross from left to right, simple catch and run, but after the catch is all about him. Great strength, balance and elusiveness to turn a short catch into big gain pic.twitter.com/aeCGzbMOzL
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 12, 2020
On another occasion, Smith hits Sims for 45 after the Giants fall for the ball fake on the McKissic bubble screen.
Fake bubble screen here by Washington. Giants DBs bite up on the fake screen, Cam Sims left wide open on his wheel route. Smith finds him down the sideline for a big gain. pic.twitter.com/U7vCOCmvhn
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 8, 2020
Run Blocking and Special Teams Value
Up until Week 7 this season, Sims was primarily a special teams player for Washington. Sims’ ability to play special teams was the reason he remained on the Washington practice, eventually leading to snaps at wide receiver. As Sims continues to grow as a receiver, his special teams role should decrease, but he still provides value if he were needed for depth purposes.
With his excellent frame, Sims also makes for a solid blocker to set the edge on running plays or short passes. This should bode well for Sims’ snaps on early downs and late in games.
Just mentioned Cam Sims doing little things well to earn more reps. Had an important block here to seal the defense inside and let Wright get to the edge on the screen. Nearly resulted in a TD. pic.twitter.com/BddWfHO8aR
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 15, 2020
Cam Sims Has A Bright Future
From his circus preseason catches to his special teams play, Cam Sims is finally starting to blossom into a reliable wide receiver for Washington. His rapport with Alex Smith has been notable, with his big plays and clutch receptions. Opposite of McLaurin, Washington does not have a legitimate second wide receiver, as Dontrelle Inman played that role earlier in the year. While Sims may not be the long-term starter at wide receiver, he has a chance to build upon his impressive stretch of games and be a critical piece of the wide receiver room heading into 2021.
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