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Anthony Lanier Ready To Prove He Deserved His Spot On Roster

Posted Sep 7, 2016

Undrafted rookie Anthony Lanier is looking to make a big splash this season after working hard to make the regular season roster and surprising many by his preseason performance.

Undrafted rookie Anthony Lanier is looking to make a big splash this season after working hard to make the regular season roster and surprising many by his preseason performance.

There are now 53 players on the Redskins roster, including a defensive end that seemingly defied all odds to make the active.

Defensive end Anthony Lanier -- an undrafted college free agent out of Alabama A&M -- played his way onto the roster after a strong training camp and preseason showing. Among those Lanier beat out included veteran Cullen Jenkins and Matt Ioannidis, a fifth-round draft pick from the 2016 NFL Draft, who was recently added to the practice squad.

 For Lanier, getting this opportunity after going undrafted is quite a feeling.

“I feel pretty good, honored, put in a lot of hard work, but it’s not over yet,” Lanier told Redskins.com. “I realize I’ve still got a long way to go and still (need to) learn, be ready for game one.”

Using his skills to take advantage of every opportunity in the preseason, Lanier showed the coaches enough to prove he deserved a spot on the roster when the final cuts were made.

But being a player who had been on the bubble of making the team meant that receiving the phone call that he had in fact succeeded, was that much more special.

“I was numb, I didn’t know how to think about it at all, because I was so happy,” Lanier said. “First thing I did was call my mom and she was already celebrating.”

The celebration was certainly well deserved. Lanier is one of 481 undrafted free agents that made NFL rosters after Saturday’s cuts, while 480 first and second-round draft picks made teams, according to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.

While there are certainly more undrafted free agents signed to teams in the offseason than players selected in the first two rounds, it is still a big accomplishment when a rookie player like Lanier can work his way onto the team.

“(Undrafted players) often get overlooked,” Lanier said. “But I’m seeing now that everybody is starting to notice, because we do put in a lot of work, because we are more hungry and more humble than a lot of people.”

And that extra effort really did pay off.

The 6-foot-6, 282-pound Lanier had four tackles this preseason, two solo and two assists. His big breakout came in the second preseason game against the New York Jets, finishing with a sack, two quarterback hits and a fumble. The sack and fumble came on the last play of the game as he took down New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty, who fumbled the ball out of bounds.

Going forward, his goal for the regular season is to continue to do exactly the same things which won him his spot on the Redskins.

“Basically shock the world and show everybody that just because I’m on the team doesn’t mean that I was just given this, Lanier said. “I worked for it.”

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