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 cornerback Fabian Moreau.
*1. He fits in with the Redskins’ defense. *
With a plan to improve the defense in Washington, the Redskins selected cornerback Fabian Moreau in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, after second-round pick linebacker Ryan Anderson and first-round pick defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.
“I think when you’re looking in the third round and you see Fabian sitting there, you had to take him,” head coach Jay Gruden said.
While many draft picks explain, prior to the draft, that they hadn’t had much contact with the team that selected them, this was not the case for Moreau. The rookie had visited the Redskins’ facilities and spoken with the coaches in Washington before being drafted. He celebrated the team’s selection because he felt that he fit the defense’s style of play.
"I'm a physical press corner,” Moreau said. “I like to get in the receiver's face. I like to challenge them. I like to make plays, and just be that dog out there helping my team win."
Head coach Gruden explained that the Redskins’ interest in Moreau stemmed from the cornerback’s toughness and speed.
“You can never have too many guys that are physical and can run,” Gruden said. “We play obviously a very tough division with Dez Bryant, now we have Alshon Jeffrey and obviously Brandon Marshall and [Odell] Beckham [Jr.], so the more guys that can run, cover and hit, the better.”
With confidence from the head coach and confidence in himself, Moreau looks forward to beginning his first NFL season in Washington.
“I’ve been wanting this my whole life,” Moreau said. “I’m just ready to contribute, ready to win and ready to be a Redskin.”
2. He considered more than just football when choosing a college.
Moreau, a Davie, Fla., native, played collegiately with the Bruins at UCLA. The player explained that he attended the University, nearly 3,000 miles from his home, not only for football, but for personal growth.
“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself, and just go out there and become a man on my own, and I did it,” Moreau said.
A three-star running back recruit out of Western High School, Moreau switched to playing defensive positions during his first season with the Bruins. As a senior in 2016, Moreau started 12 games and logged 31 tackles, along with career-high passes defensed (12) and interceptions (two). He was also named an honorable mention All-Pac-12. For his career, Moreau appeared in 51 games, recording 148 tackles with 26 passes defensed and three interceptions.
Moreau maintained his success through the combine, recording the second-best 40-yard dash (4.35 seconds), fifth-best vertical jump (38.0 inches), and No. 1 broad jump (136.0 inches).
3. He is learning from his Redskins teammates.
Moreau joins eight other cornerbacks in Washington: Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar, Jonathan Allen, Joshua Holsey, Tevin Homer, Josh Norman and Dashaun Phillips. Though competition exists within the cornerback position, the rookie explained that the entire secondary defensive unit has aided his transition into the league.
“I’ve talked to all of them,” Moreau said of the defensive backs. “They’ve all been there in the locker room and the classroom, so it’s been great.”
Specifically, though, Moreau will look to Redskins cornerback Josh Norman for advice on playing the cornerback position professionally.
“[Norman is] one of the best, so I’m just going to go in there and just pick his brain and just learn everything I can and just grow,” Moreau told ESPN 980. “Grow as a person, grow as a leader, grow as a football player, and just be able to help this team win.”
4. An injury contributed to his fall to the third round of the draft.
At UCLA’s pro day, Moreau tore a pectoral muscle while performing his bench press.
“It’s just a setback,” Moreau said of the injury. “Nothing I could control but I’m rehabbing getting healthy as I can. It’s just another opportunity to prove myself…There is nothing I can control about that, it is what it is. I’m enjoying my position. God put me in this position and I am willing to come out of it get healthy and get back on the field.”
Though unable to physically participate in OTAs and minicamp in Washington because of his injury, Moreau still watched practices and worked to familiarize himself with the Redskins’ defensive schemes.
“[I’m] just diving into the playbook and just learning everything I can,” Moreau said.
5. He’s tough.
Before his pectoral injury, Moreau sustained a broken left foot and two torn ligaments in a game against Brigham Young University during the Bruins’ 2015 season. Despite the discomfort and handicap of this injury, Moreau continued to play, proving his dedication to his team.
“I basically broke my foot, [but] didn’t know how severe it was,” Moreau said. “Obviously I was in pain, but I wanted to be out there with my teammates. I wanted to show them that I’m fully committed. I came back in the last half of the game, the game was on the line, BYU was going down to try to score and so I went out there with my teammates…and we just sealed the victory.”
6. He has a strong faith.
Though the pectoral injury affected his standing in the draft, Moreau was not worried about the event’s outcome.
“I knew it was up to God,” Moreau said. “I knew God had me, and wherever He wanted me to go I knew that’s where I was sent to go, and so I wasn’t too concerned about it.”
Now in Washington, Moreau continues to follow this faith as it leads him through recovery and on to the field.
7. He shares a name with his siblings.
Fabian is one of three Moreau children, including sisters Faby and Fabriana. The girls support their brother’s football aspirations and show their sibling bond on social media.