The Redskins' secondary received a boost late in training camp, as rookies Fabian Moreau and Montae Nicholson became full practice participants as they return from injuries.
For the first time since both defensive backs were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, Washington Redskins cornerback Fabian Moreau and safety Montae Nicholson were full participants in practice Saturday afternoon.
Moreau (pectoral) and Nicholson (labrum) had strictly been rehabbing during the offseason months before being eased into individual work and special teams drills during Washington’s first two weeks at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., for training camp.
“It was a lot of fun,” Nicholson told Redskins.com of returning to the field. “Good to get back out there, not only for me but for the guys, I’ve just been there in spirit so to speak on the field, so it is nice to have my physical presence out there. Now it’s time to get to work.”
Moreau echoed his teammate’s excitement, noting he had been a long time between suffering a torn pectoral at UCLA’s pro day to his first full practice with the Redskins.
"I haven't been on the field in a while, but no excuses,” Moreau said. “Got to get back and get my footwork right and start making plays."
The two defensive backs were part of an early overhaul of rookie talent the Redskins selected in this year’s draft.
After the Redskins selected Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and linebacker Ryan Anderson in the first and second rounds respectively, Moreau was selected in the third round. Then Nicholson was picked in the fourth round.
Two days after appearing in the NFL Combine, Nicholson underwent surgery for a torn labrum that he played through during his junior season at Michigan State.
On Friday, April 28, 2017, the Washington Redskins selected cornerback Fabian Moreau with the 81st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It was the first time the 21-year-old safety had suffered a major injury.
“This is all brand new to me,” Nicholson said. “I’m giving my trainers a hard time, cracking jokes before I was able to go on the field talking about doing 1-on-1s today or something like that. They would just look at me and walk away. Long process, finally about to be over and I’m grateful for it.”
Nicholson was forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates went through rookie minicamp and weeks of OTA sessions before continuing to be a spectator at training camp.
But he isn’t letting the time missed on the field impact his mentality as he tries to find his niche in a safeties room that includes starters D.J. Swearinger and Su'a Cravens along with veteran DeAngelo Hall.
“When it comes down to it, I’ve been playing football for a long time,” Nicholson said. “We’ve got a great group of guys here that have welcomed me in onto the field and on the sidelines. It’s surreal to work this hard and to get here. To finally get on the field, I’m extremely blessed.”
As for Moreau, the coaching staff has high expectations for him now that he’s returned to the field healthy. While Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman return as the starting cornerbacks, Moreau is eager to take pieces of their game and incorporate them into his own as his continues his transition to the NFL.
"It's an honor,” Moreau said. “It's an honor to be able to play with these guys, an honor to be on the same field as them. Just learning from each one of them, seeing what I can add to my game."