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Redskins Hoping Montae Nicholson Can Fill The Void at Safety

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When Washington drafted Montae Nicholson with the 123rd pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, it’s doubtful that even the most optimistic of Redskins’ staff imagined him playing in week two of his first regular season. Maybe not even Nicholson himself. And yet against the Rams on Sunday, that’s exactly where the rookie out of Michigan State found himself.

Nicholson was likely viewed more as a project when he was drafted. In college, he was a track athlete as well as football player, and he has great athletic ability. The Redskins love the speed he possesses at 6’2″ and 216 pounds; they just probably didn’t envision having to call on it so quickly.

In 2015, Nicholson helped Michigan State make the college playoffs when he led the team with 83 stops and three interceptions. He’s also an intelligent guy having majored in engineering. He definitely possesses a lot of upside.

The Redskins saw the player they drafted in the fourth round as a project that could benefit from playing with the likes of DJ Swearinger and DeAngelo Hall.

The Redskins were looking to put an end to their secondary troubles in 2017, from the safety position in particular. The team made a number of moves in the offseason, including signing Swearinger.

 

Swearinger and Nicholson have quite a bit in common in that they were both track athletes in college. Swearinger was a three sport athlete – competing in sprints, hurdles and high jump at South Carolina. Obviously he played football there too, for former Redskins coach Steve Spurrier. Nicholson competed in the long jump.

The parallels don’t end there. The unexpected departure of Su’a Cravens puts Nicholson on the hot plate. Swearinger experienced something very similar in his rookie season when he was playing for Houston. The Texans drafted Swearinger in the second round, but he was thrust into a starting position in October when Texans safety Danieal Manning broke his leg.

So Swearinger’s presence and similar experiences could definitely help form a bond, and prove to be a huge asset in helping Nicholson contribute so early.

Nicholson saw his playing time go from just three snaps in week one, to 26 snaps in week two. Unfortunately he picked up an injury against the Rams, suffering an AC joint sprain. He is listed as questionable, but the inside track seems to be that he will play against the Raiders.

Unless he is forced to miss significant playing time in the days and weeks to come however, he will get considerable time to show what he can do in his rookie season. Trial by fire, if you will.

If Nicholson does prove to be the answer at the position, it will be good news for those fans that enjoy betting on their beloved Redskins while watching the game. There are a number of sign up bonuses and free bets with UK bookmakers from which to choose. Fans just need to select the bet that most appeals to them.

While expectations may have increased for Nicholson’s performance this season, the team has to also gauge his progress with a longer-term view. The rookie could very well be the future of the team.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be right now.

 

More By Mark Solway

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