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Redskins draft pick Saahdiq Charles opens up about his past struggles

Redskins draft pick Saahdiq Charles opens up about his past struggles

The Redskins filled a much-needed hole on Day 3 of the NFL Draft when they invested a fourth-round pick in LSU's Saahdiq Charles, a talented three-year starter at left tackle.

But part of the reason Charles was still available at the beginning of the third day was because of the question marks that surrounded the 20-year-old. Charles' tenure at LSU was far from a smooth ride, as he was suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season due to what he described as a "coach's decision."

Charles did not shy away from admitting he made a mistake, and believes going what he went through at LSU has turned him into a better player and person as a whole.

"I was suspended for a coach's decision. I made a mistake," Charles told local media in a Zoom call on Thursday. "The problems that I had in college aren't a problem anymore."

While Charles admitted that being suspended was difficult, going through adversity was nothing new for the tackle. When he was just five years old, his family was displaced from his home in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina.

Going through both obstacles was tough for Charles, but he believes the experiences of each help mold him into the person he is today.

"Each one of those moments, it wasn't necessarily a lesson, but it's something that put something into me," Charles said. "It's something that you couldn't be born with. I think it's definitely helped me, for sure."

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After missing the first six games of the season, Charles regained his starting spot. LSU went on to win the next nine games, which culminated in the school's first championship since 2007. Shortly after, the tackle decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft.

Throughout the draft process, questions about his suspension were frequent. Despite that, the Redskins had interest in Charles and individually met with him during February's Scouting Combine. Washington continued to do their research, and Malcolm Blacken, the team's Senior Director of Player Development, reached out to the tackle a week before the draft.

"[Blacken] was calling me and telling me like 'We need to find out who you are. The guys have done a lot of research about you and they love you,'" Charles said. "We talked for about 30, 45 minutes and I think the conversation went well. I never necessarily convinced him, I was just being who I am."

While Charles understands that his off the field issues may have caused him to slide in April's draft, he's not bitter about it. Rather, he's thankful the Redskins picked him and gave him an opportunity.

"There are a lot of guys that went undrafted," he said. "So to say that I went in the fourth round, pick 108, second pick of the fourth round, it's a blessing."

Yes, Charles is grateful for the opportunity to play in Washington. But he still feels like he still has plenty to prove.

"I feel like I do have something to prove, just because that's the type of person I am, football player I am," he said. "I play with a chip on my shoulder."

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Morgan Moses most impressed with Dwayne Haskins 'knowing that he's going to be the No. 1 QB'

Morgan Moses most impressed with Dwayne Haskins 'knowing that he's going to be the No. 1 QB'

Ron Rivera might be hesitant to name Dwayne Haskins the Washington starting quarterback but right tackle Morgan Moses did not hold back with his praise of the second-year QB.

"Seeing his change, knowing that he's going to be the No. 1 QB has probably been the most impressive thing from a rookie guy that some had written off," Moses said on Friday. 

Speaking on a Zoom call with local reporters, Moses explained that Haskins' growth and improved confidence stand out compared to his rookie season. Last year it was understandable that at times Haskins would struggle with play calls or specific offensive concepts, but this year, he's taken command.

"You can hear every word he says in the huddle. Those are the things he might have struggled with the year before," Moses said. "He's developed that mental aspect of his game."

RELATED: SHEEHAN: 'MAJOR INDICTEMENT IF HASKINS CAN'T WIN STARTING QB JOB

Haskins struggled mightily early on as a rookie in a messy situation. As the year progressed and he got some understanding of life in the NFL, he improved. By the end of the season Haskins played his best football, and this offseason, it seems he's used that momentum to prepare for a big 2020 year.

"He did a great job of turning himself around this offseason," Moses said. 

While the team was unable to practice or run through organized football activities, Haskins did work out with some of the Washington wide receivers in the offseason. He also shed weight and added muscle and impressed the new coaching staff with his command of the playbook. Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner talked earlier this offseason about quizzing Haskins, and that the former Ohio State star nailed the questions. 

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In the end, however, winning the offseason won't matter. It's about what Haskins can do on the field this fall that will determine his future in Washington.

Moses said that every player in the locker room has plenty to prove this fall, to themselves and to the new coaching staff, and that includes Haskins. The biggest takeaway though is that Haskins has done his best to put himself in a position to succeed. Coaches noticed, and now players are too. 

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Current Jets and former Washington WR Josh Doctson opts out of 2020 NFL season

Current Jets and former Washington WR Josh Doctson opts out of 2020 NFL season

Current New York Jets and former Washington Football Team wide receiver Josh Doctson has opted out of the 2020 NFL season amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the team announced on Thursday.

Doctson was one of 67 players around the league including Washington's Caleb Brantley and Josh Harvey-Clemons, as many have decided to sit out the season in order to lower their risk of contracting the virus. 

Doctson was placed in the " unspecified'" grouping for the opt out, while "voluntary'" and "higher risk" were the other two options. Players had until Thursday at 4 p.m. to make the decision.

The pass catcher was Washington's first round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he never quite lived up to expectations. Injuries, drops and an inability to ever get comfortable in the offense led to Doctson only compelling 1,110 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons in Washington.

Just before the start of the 2019 regular season, Doctson was released by Washington and later signed with the Minnesota Vikings. He appeared in just one game and had no receptions. He signed with the Jets in February.

Now, the wide receiver will wait until 2021 to see if he can change the fortune of his NFL career. 

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