For the record, his name does not actually rhyme, much to my dismay. His last name is pronounced “Drone.” What a shame.
More importantly, however, for any player that wants to make it in this league–especially undrafted free agents–he must prove to be versatile and willing. We already learned that one of the new offensive tackles once had dreams of sacking quarterbacks, and he’s not the only offensive player that’s seen time on the defensive side of the ball.
Before amassing more than 2,000 yards at North Carolina, Shaun Draughn spent time on the defensive scout team as a safety. He embraced the opportunity at the time, according to North Carolina’s Scout.com site:
“It just goes with learning,” Draughn said. “If you know the defense, you’re going to play faster. You’re not worried about what you’re going to do. If you know what you’re supposed to do, then you’re going to play faster, and your true ability comes out. That allows us to get better as a unit.”
The Tarboro, N.C. native gained notoriety in high school for a dazzling highlight film that showcased his talents not only at safety, but also in the offensive backfield.
“I really wanted to play running back when I first got here,” Draughn said. “I wanted to play running back – I’d like to see what I could do against a college team. But safety’s where it’s at.”
To be sure, Draughn had a solid career with the Tar Heels in the backfield, and was drafted to provide depth at the position for the Redskins. But his time on defense makes him more valuable on special teams, which makes him more likely to stick around. For undrafted free agents, sometimes kick returns and coverage are the best case scenario.
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Despite being a big fan of 90’s hip-hop, I pledge not to force the connection between undrafted free agent offensive tackle Willie Smith and the Fresh Prince. At least not to his face.
At 6-5, 310 pounds, Smith is not your prototypical offensive tackle, which is part of why he went undrafted. He is, however, a good developmental guy with a track record success at ECU. The thing that jumped off the paper to me was that he’s only been playing on the offensive side of the ball for two years, but was still one of the most coveted undrafted linemen.
Coming out of high school, Smith was a highly touted defensive lineman. In 2005, he led his high school team with 107 tackles, 30 for a loss, 14 sacks, and four turnovers. Wow. Four years and 30 pounds later, he’s got a chance to make a pro roster on the other side of the ball.
The best part is that he wrote in his player bio at ECU that his favorite player is NFL is Bears defensive end Julius Peppers. No Bears on the schedule this year, but he may someday be responsible for protecting his quarterback from a Peppers blitz. I don’t think he’ll ask for his autograph after the game.
Like all undrafted free agent signings, this one is a low risk, high reward pick.
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As of 4:30 p.m., football is officially back in Washington, as the Redskins took to the field for the first time as a team. It was just a basic conditioning test at this point: run from one goal line to the other and back. The team ran as a whole and then split into units with about a minute between “sprints.” Strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright led the workout as other coaches looked on.
Check out the full-team footage below:
And the units: Read more »
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Less than 24 hours until the kickoff of Redskins training camp, the fields are just about ready to go. Crews have worked on a compressed, ever-changing schedule to get ready for camp, and it’s starting to look really good.
Check out the panoramic views of the practice field: Read more »
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It’s been a few years, so for those of you who don’t remember him, Derrick Frost was the Redskins punter from 2005-2007. He’s best remembered for thumping the Titans punt returner hard enough to force a fumble during a preseason game in 2007. I don’t really have anything mean to say about the guy, but in the newly released movie “Source Code,” Frost is the villain.
Okay, it’s a different Derrick Frost.
Tags: derek frost, derrick frost
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When OJ Atogwe played for the Rams he wore No. 21, of course the same number as the late Sean Taylor. After joining the Redskins in the offseason, he made it clear via his Twitter that he would honor Taylor’s memory and switch to a different number: Read more »
Tags: oj atogwe, Sean Taylor
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