As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on rookie center Chase Roullier.
1. He can play multiple positions.
A dynamic player, Roullier can suit up at both guard and center. At Wyoming, he changed positions from guard to center after three years, allowing just 28 total pressures over 1,277 pass-blocking snaps during his entire career.
“I think my switch to center really proved that I was a versatile offensive lineman on the interior,” Roullier said. “If I had stayed at guard throughout my years there, that would be a question mark, whether I was versatile enough at center and whatnot. But by actually doing it my entire senior year, it just proved that I was, and it wasn’t a question mark anymore, it was one of my strengths. I think it helped me a lot, it pushed me up boards.”
Roullier is confident that he will be able to perform well for the Redskins at the new position.
“I think I’ll do very well at center,” he said. “Being up there in front of the rest of the offensive line, being able to see that defense and really play to my strengths of being able to see the defense and read things I think will really help me a lot in the NFL.”
2. He’s the “Tom Brady” pick.
The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to select the team’s first offensive lineman of the 2017 draft. As the 199th-overall selection, Roullier has been associated with Tom Brady, who was chosen at the same number nearly 20 years ago.
“It’s kind of hard to be compared to one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in NFL history, and all I am is a draft pick,” Roullier said. “People already trying to compare me to someone like that is…I don’t think it’s necessarily fair. I’m just going to come in there and do the best that I can. Obviously I’m not going to be thinking about what pick I was in the draft. Hopefully it’s a little bit of luck that can get passed down to me at the very least.”
Roullier’s selection is the first from Wyoming for the Redskins in six decades, and only the third all-time pick from the school for the program overall.
3. Head coach Jay Gruden views him as a valuable player.
Though Gruden does not expect Roullier to be this season’s starter at center, he sees the advantage that he brings to the team.
“I think it’s very important for us to add depth to that position. I need centers,” Gruden said. “That’s my biggest fear as a coach – something happens to Spencer [Long], where do you go? Do you teach a guard to do it again? You’ve got to have a guy who can play center in my opinion and Chase has played center, and if you’re going to dress on game day as a sixth lineman, backup center, you’ve got to play both guards. And he’s played guard in college also, so it’s very important.”
4. He respects the Redskins’ offensive line legacy.
Roullier explains that the Redskins’ legendary offensive line, “The Hogs,” is written in football history, no matter where team loyalty lies.
“Growing up in the Midwest, I wasn’t deeply rooted in the understanding of who the Hogs were in Washington, D.C., but you know their reputation, that they’re a great offensive line, and they’re players who you aspire to be,” he said.
“It’s a name that has been passed down to high school and college offensive lines throughout the country because of guys like Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic and Joe Jacoby,” Roullier added. “Those kinds of guys paved the way for so many offensive linemen throughout the country and made it an exciting position to play."
5. He looks forward to working with assistant head coach and offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
With Roullier’s position flexibility, he will benefit from an experienced coach that facilitates this versatility. He anticipates positive results collaborating with Callahan.
“I had the chance to meet Coach Callahan. I came into Washington for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Coach Callahan seems like he’s a great coach to play under,” Roullier said. “He’s a great guy, obviously has a tremendous amount of knowledge for the game, and I’m very excited to play under him.”
- He majored in engineering at Wyoming.**
Though balancing rigorous academics and athletics in college posed an obstacle for Roullier, he completed both his studies and his training successfully.
“I enjoyed getting a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming,” Roullier said. “It was a tough load, definitely during the season and being a Division I football player and doing a mechanical engineering degree at the exact same time, it’s a difficult task for sure. But, you know, I managed and got a good degree out of it.”
While his degree certifies his intelligence off of the field, Roullier utilizes this asset in the game as well.
“I pride myself on being a pretty intelligent guy coming from an engineering background [and] that really translates well onto the field,” he said. “I’m able to think on my feet pretty quickly. My play stays very consistently throughout the game at that level.”
7. He is excited to contribute to the Redskins’ offensive line.
With the ability to learn from league veterans like Spencer Long, Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, Roullier looks forward to bringing his talent to a successful offensive line in Washington.
“Obviously when you have the opportunity to join an offensive line that’s already a great offensive line, and you’re just in there doing your best to try and make it better, that’s awesome to join that,” he said. “It’s an honor to be in there with those guys.”