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."
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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