When the Washington Football Team drafted Saahdiq Charles back in April, they did so minutes after trading Trent Williams. At the time, it appeared like the franchise had acquired a possible replacement for the cornerstone left tackle they had just parted with.
That very well could still happen, too, as Charles has his entire career in front of him to grow into that position. Currently, though, it looks like Charles' debut with the Burgundy and Gold could come in the interior of their line instead.
The rookie has been slowly working his way back from health issues that first popped up in training camp, and finally, he's off the daily injury reports and seeing action at practice. What's interesting is that, in Thursday's session in Ashburn, that action was 1) coming at left guard and 2) occurring with the rest of the starting front.
Afterward, Ron Rivera explained what he's doing with Charles at the moment.
"We’re just trying to get him reps and trying to see where he fits," the coach said. "He’s a young football player, he’s a good football player, he’s a physical guy and we’ve got to find out where he can play and where he fits best for us."
Sliding No. 77 one spot over isn't just so he can gain a little experience, however, as Rivera confirmed a handful of questions later in his presser.
"This is a move to see what happens and how he handles it," he said. "Do I think he could play tackle? Yeah, I do. But, right now I think this is a move a little bit out of need."
Through Washington's first five games, Wes Martin has served as the starter in between Chase Roullier and Geron Christian. Unfortunately, Martin's performance hasn't exactly been starting quality.
So, Rivera has a few options when it comes to dealing with that. He can keep letting Martin try to improve, he can bump Martin out of the lineup and put Wes Schweitzer there (which would be contingent upon Brandon Scherff coming off of IR for Sunday's matchup and assuming his usual place on the right side) or he can give Charles an opportunity where a chunk of the scouting community believes he'd be best at anyway.
Judging by the fact that Charles was seen with the other first-stringers on Thursday, it certainly seems like the staff is seriously considering the third choice. At the very least, Rivera sounds quite interested in the qualities that Charles could bring to the unit.
"First of all, just a bigger body and a more physical body at guard for us," he said. "I like what Wes Martin does. Wes is a really good puller. He’s good in space. He’s a physical blocker when he’s in space. Watching Saahdiq, Saahdiq at the point of attack is a little bit more stout."
Charles' time with Washington hasn't begun like most hoped. It hasn't really begun at all, really. But there's momentum building that it could commence at last this weekend, and while it won't be at the position that got him to the NFL, he'd still be a welcome sight.