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Custom Chase Young Jersey Large

The Washington Redskins selected Young with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night’s first round of the 2020 NFL draft, bringing him back to his home state of Maryland while drafting a Buckeye for the third time in two years.

Young becomes the second straight Ohio State defensive end to be drafted with the No. 2 overall pick, joining Nick Bosa, who was selected in the same slot by the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.

He becomes Ohio State’s third top-five overall pick since 2018, also joining Denzel Ward, as Ohio State becomes the first school to ever have defensive players selected in the top five picks in three consecutive drafts.

Young is the third Ohio State defensive end to be selected in the top three picks since 2016, when the then-San Diego Chargers drafted Joey Bosa with the No. 3 overall pick.

Young becomes Ohio State’s 82nd all-time first-round draft pick, moving the Buckeyes ahead of USC for the most first-round picks ever, and just the sixth Buckeye to ever be selected in the top two overall picks (not including this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow, who finished his career at LSU).

OHIO STATE’S TOP ALL-TIME NFL DRAFT PICKS
PICK YEAR PLAYER TEAM
No. 1 1979 TOM COUSINEAU BUFFALO BILLS
No. 1 1994 DAN WILKINSON CINCINNATI BENGALS
No. 1 1997 ORLANDO PACE ST. LOUIS RAMS
No. 2 1938 JIM MCDONALD PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
No. 2 2019 NICK BOSA SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
No. 2 2020 CHASE YOUNG WASHINGTON REDSKINS
No. 3 1956 HOPALONG CASSADY DETROIT LIONS
No. 3 1974 JOHN HICKS NEW YORK GIANTS
No. 3 1997 SHAWN SPRINGS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
No. 3 2016 JOEY BOSA SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
No. 3 2020 JEFF OKUDAH DETROIT LIONS
The first defensive player selected in this year’s NFL draft, Young’s call to the league comes after a spectacular career at Ohio State in which he recorded 30.5 sacks, the second-most in school history, including a school-record 16.5 sacks – the most in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision in 2019 – last season.

Young enters the league with massive expectations – he’ll be favored to become the fourth Buckeye in five years (Joey Bosa, Marshon Lattimore and Nick Bosa) to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors – and joins 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat, 2018 first-round pick Da’Ron Payne, 2017 first-round pick Jonathan Allen and veteran Ryan Kerrigan to form what should be one of the league’s elite defensive lines in Washington.

RELATED From the Shoe to the Show: A Look Back at the Ohio State Career Highlights of NFL Draft Prospect Chase Young

He also joins former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who the Redskins selected with the No. 15 overall pick last year, and former Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who became their leading receiver after they selected him in the third round last year, as one of the faces of a franchise who will be looking to achieve more success under new head coach Ron Rivera after winning just three games in 2019.

Being drafted by the Redskins was an expected outcome for Young on Thursday night, and one he’s been excited about the prospect of all along.

“Playing in front of my hometown people, it would definitely be a blessing,” Young said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Everybody who’s known me since I was younger could come to a game.”

Young is the sixth Ohio State defensive end to be drafted since 2016, joining the 2018 trio of Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes in addition to the Bosa brothers. He’s the ninth first-round pick to be coached by Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who previously coached six first-round picks at Penn State.

Custom Simeon Thomas Jersey Large

Washington Redskins cornerback Simeon Thomas has been suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Thomas heads to the reserve/suspended list after one of his better games of the season right as the Redskins go into a full-blown youth movement in the secondary.

A sixth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2018, the Redskins had added Thomas in Septemeber but mostly kept him confined to special teams until recent weeks.

The Redskins had already announced a veteran like Josh Norman will remain on the bench, which meant the last handful of games would’ve been a big long-term opportunity for a player like Thomas.

The Redskins made the move official Tuesday amid a flurry of other moves.

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Two Redskins targets are off the board.

Free agent cornerback James Bradberry agreed to sign a three-year, $45 million contract with the New York Giants on Monday, a move that should help bolster a pass defense that ranked 31st in defensive efficiency last season.

Shortly after Bradberry’s deal, the Miami Dolphins reached an agreement with former Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones, reportedly making him the highest-paid corner in the league.

The Redskins had been linked to Bradberry given the 26-year-old spent the first four years of his career under Ron Rivera with the Carolina Panthers. The Athletic, though, reported last week Washington was perhaps not as interested in the corner as many believed.

Jones was also seen to be an option, ESPN reported.

Washington, though, needs cornerback help after releasing Josh Norman earlier this offseason. Its other starter, cornerback Quinton Dunbar, has also demanded a trade or release after failing to receive a contract extension.

Last month, Rivera told reporters the Redskins could also look to fill that position by relying on some of its younger players. Fabian Moreau, Greg Stroman and Jimmy Moreland are all under 26 years old.

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Hours after acquiring quarterback Kyle Allen, the Washington Redskins made a second trade Monday — sending cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Dunbar had requested a trade last month once talks for a contract extension stalled. Over the weekend, it was reported that the Redskins were actively listening to offers from other teams about the cornerback.

The Redskins ultimately decided to move on from Dunbar rather than give him an extension, but it creates a large hole in their secondary. The 27-year-old was Washington’s best cornerback last year, grabbing a career-high four interceptions. He was also ranked as the second-best cornerback in the league, according to the advanced analytics website Pro Football Focus.

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But Dunbar’s contract was set to expire after the 2020 season, and the receiver-turned-cornerback had dealt with injuries in each of the last two seasons. In 2018, he missed nine games with a nerve injury in his leg and missed the final three games of 2019 with a hamstring injury.

Dunbar joins a Seattle defense that ranked 18th in defensive DVOA (efficiency) last year. At 6-foot-2, he fits the profile of the kinds of taller cornerbacks that have thrived in Seattle’s system. The Seahawks, of course, famously built the “Legion of Boom” — spearheaded by safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, two players who are no longer in Seattle.

The Redskins, meanwhile, will need to find a starter on the outside. The team signed cornerback Kendall Fuller last week, but the 25-year-old plays mostly in the slot. Washington also has Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland and Greg Stroman as options to start on the outside. The team also released cornerback Josh Norman earlier this offseason.

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Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon’s All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here’s his review of episode four, “Look Good Play, Good.”

After he was fired by the Panthers and before he decided to take over the Redskins, Ron Rivera studied a handful of Washington games to evaluate the team’s roster. While doing so, one aspect jumped out at him in particular.

“For the most part, the way they play, the way they fought, some of these young guys didn’t know any better,” the coach explained during his first presser back in January. “They showed up and they played hard. That was impressive to me.”

Rivera has since reiterated that the Burgundy and Gold’s collection of young and hungry talent was a key reason he chose to land with the Redskins. When you check out their depth chart, it’s easy to see what he means.

Currently, the following players are all between 22 and 26 years old: Dwayne Haskins, Daron Payne, Derrius Guice, Tim Settle, Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, Cole Holcomb, Montez Sweat, Terry McLaurin, Jonathan Allen, Fabian Moreau, Ryan Anderson, Landon Collins, Matt Ioannidis and Chase Roullier.

Every name on that list figures to factor in to whether Rivera is able to right the Redskins. They better be prepared for that effort, too, because he’s likely going to lean on them often, even through their mistakes.

In episode four of Amazon’s 2018 All Or Nothing show, which followed Rivera’s Panthers, DJ Moore has a very forgettable afternoon (ironically, in a game at FedEx Field). The then-rookie fumbles twice, once on a punt and once after a catch, and those turnovers lead to 10 points for the hosts. In the end, Carolina falls to Washington, 23-17.

Afterward, a reporter asked Rivera how he balances showing a struggling, unseasoned pro he’s still on his side versus punishing that pro when he continues to slip up.

“This is all about building confidence,” he answered. “DJ is going to be a part of what we do for a long time and we’ll stick with him.”

It was a simple answer and one that hinted at a simple philosophy: If you’re suiting up for Rivera, he’s going to trust you to contribute and also stand by you if those contributions don’t come right away, because he knows that could make the difference in the long-term future.

That should most excite those who want to see Dwayne Haskins succeed. A quarterback with little NFL experience such as Haskins is going to have days where the interceptions stack up and the yards don’t. It sounds like Rivera will ride out those days in order to see the ones where Haskins breaks out.

It’s a mindset that’ll apply everywhere else, too. Whatever draft picks the Redskins end up with in April, some of the free agents he’s already acquired and the rest of the 26-and-under group outlined above should be in line for lots of snaps and lots of chances to grow. The goal is that the majority of them will improve in that action and form the core Rivera so badly wants.

Of course, even a leader with as much time as Rivera has to correct a franchise will run out of patience. Plus, he’s made a point to keep veterans like Adrian Peterson and bring in others like Thomas Davis to ensure there’s a crew of established options to call on in 2020 — a season he’d no doubt like to end with a trip to the playoffs.

But realistically, the Redskins will enter 2020 coming off of a 3-13 campaign, meaning expectations should be modest at best. One thing fans can expect, though? Seeing young Redskins on the field in main roles every weekend.

Look for Rivera to prioritize building their confidence immediately in hopes of building a winner eventually. Year 1 could be a slog because of that, but the years that follow could very much be worth it.

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With free agency entering its second full week, Redskins Nation has plenty of questions about the moves that have already been made and those that are yet to come. Here are what fans wanted to know:

After going 3-13, why are the Redskins reluctant to spend money to go after better players in free agency? They are just signing backups. — Pat C.

This is a fair question. Of the eight official signings the Redskins have made as of Thursday, none were at the top of the free agent market at their respective positions. And while some of them will likely be starters — namely cornerback Kendall Fuller, free safety Sean Davis and linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. — their additions were not awe-inspiring.

But just because the Redskins have a lot of cap space big does not mean they should spend it. Head coach Ron Rivera and Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith want “tough, hungry players” with positional versatility, and a lot of these signings fit that mold. Some are backups, sure, but others can develop into significant contributors.

The new coaching staff also wants to know what it has in the players currently on the roster, and what better way to find out than to bring in loads of competition at key positions? That way, they’ll know exactly how each player fits into the team’s future plans.

Free agency is about making splashy moves; I get that. But there are a multitude of ways to build a roster, and free agency is just a piece of it.

Why don’t you spend your money on receivers instead on running backs? We’ve got Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice? — Anonymous

The signings of running backs Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic, which were officially announced Thursday, centered around depth and competition.

Entering free agency, the Redskins had four running backs on their roster: Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Bryce Love and Josh Ferguson. Peterson just turned 35 years old, and while he’s been the Redskins’ workhorse over the past two seasons, the team needs other options. Guice is the ideal every-down back, but he’s played in five games since being drafted in 2018, while Love missed all of his rookie campaign recovering from a knee injury.

As for Ferguson, who was signed in October, he’s amassed 34 yards over three seasons.

In a perfect world, Peterson and Guice would handle most of the rushing duties while Love flashes his potential in spurts. That could still be the case once the 2020 campaign begins.

But the Redskins also need reserves to step in when necessary and to push the proposed starters. Barber and McKissic will do exactly that.

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Why did the Redskins sign Peyton Barber? — Daniel L.

Speaking on Barber specifically, this is a player who has been the focal point of an NFL rushing offense before.

In 2018, he started all 16 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and carried the ball 234 times for 871 yards. This past season, his 154 attempts totaled 470 yards.

Barber is an experienced rusher who’s mere presence will motivate Guice and Love to work even harder. That’s because if either struggles or suffers an injury, the Redskins have a replacement who has shouldered the rushing load before.

After Quinton Dunbar got traded and the several defensive backs got released, do you guys have a plan to address the secondary in free agency or the draft? — Danny K.

With Quinton Dunbar traded and Josh Norman and Montae Nicholson released, the Redskins will return one starter from their 2019 secondary: strong safety Landon Collins.

Rivera said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he expects an in-house cornerback to replace Norman, which figures to be fourth-year pro Fabian Moreau. The Redskins have also Davis, who started 32 games at free safety for the Steelers over his first four seasons, and Fuller, who excels in the slot but can play outside as well. That leaves one starting position open for the following players: Jimmy Moreland, Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson.

If the Redskins pursue another corner in free agency, they could go after a former standout (Ronald Darby), a proven slot corner (Logan Ryan) or cheaper alternatives with ties to Rivera (Daryl Worley and Ross Cockrell). If they want another safety, Damarious Randall, Reshad Jones and Eric Reid are still available.

In terms of the draft, the Redskins could trade down and snag Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, select a defensive back with their No. 66 overall pick or wait until Day 3.

Are you looking to the draft to fill the TE position or are you working on an deal with a established veteran? — Ian C.

The tight end position is tricky because while the Redskins have reportedly added two of them, neither of them are looked at as established veterans.

The team officially announced the signing of quarterback-turned-tight end Logan Thomas on March 23. Thomas, 28, played in all 16 games for the Detroit Lions last season but made just 16 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. He’s entering his fourth full season as a tight end, so there’s a chance he could break out in Washington, but he’s not a proven pass-catcher like former Redskins tight ends Jordan Reed (released) and Vernon Davis (retired).

The Redskins reportedly added another 28-year-old tight end in Richard Rodgers, whose father is the Redskins’ assistant defensive backs coach. Rodgers’ best season came in 2015, when he caught 58 passes for 510 yards and found the end zone eight times with the Green Bay Packers. He’s played just eight games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

Aside from 35-year-old Delanie Walker, all of the pass-catching tight ends signed elsewhere, meaning the Redskins will likely target a tight end in April’s draft and could use one with their third-round pick. Adam Trautman (Dayton), Harrison Bryant (Florida Atlantic) and Josiah Deguara (Cincinnati) could all still be on the board at that time.

When are we going to get a veteran receiver?

The Redskins reportedly added experience at wide receiver by agreeing to terms with Cody Latimer.

A second-round pick in 2014, Latimer enjoyed his best season as the professional with the New York Giants. In 15 games (10 starts), Latimer hauled in 24 passes for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In his previous five campaigns, he made 46 catches for 635 yards and four touchdowns.

If the Redskins look to add another veteran wideout, Demaryius Thomas, Taylor Gabriel, Demarcus Robinson and Geronimo Allison are still available.

There has been a recent run of rookie wide receivers who have been productive right away. Are we confident the young up-and-comers will be able to handle the rigors of the NFL? And will you be addressing that need in the draft.

You’re right in that rookie receivers performed very well last season, as nine of them hauled in at least 40 passes and seven of them surpassed 600 yards receiving. Tennessee Titans wideout A.J. Brown topped all rookies with 1,051 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

The rookie class could be even better in 2020. Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said the wide receiver group goes “infinitely deep.” He included seven of them in his latest top 50 prospects list.

The NFL has suspended offseason workouts indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could negatively affect rookie wideouts trying to grasp a new and more complex offensive scheme. But the talent is there, and the Redskins are in good position to take advance of it.

If they select a receiver with their third-round pick, they’ll likely have a choice between USC’s Michael Pittman, Boise State’s John Hightower and Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool, among others.

Are you guys planning to sign more players in free agency, or are you guys planning to rebuild in the draft? — Andreas E.

As of Thursday evening, the Redskins officially signed eight free agents, traded for quarterback Kyle Allen, re-signed three others and franchise tagged guard Brandon Scherff.

Then there are four other players who have reportedly agreed to terms with the team: Rodgers, offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas, linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis and wide receiver Cody Latimer.

That’s 13 newcomers and 17 players overall, so it does not seem like the Redskins will be making too many more additions. If they do, look for them to target another defensive back or a wide receiver.

I’m curious about the process of player evaluation during the COVID-19 pandemic. I understand film study, but do the coaches do video and FaceTime interviews with the prospects and their school coaches? Are there reviews of medical procedures done with the physicians who performed them? Are they sending out questionnaires to prospects? — Chuck M.

The local media has not yet spoken to Rivera or any members of the scouting department, so those specific questions have neither been asked or answered.

However, Rivera went on a Charlotte-based radio station on Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including how the coronavirus will affect the NFL Draft, which is still on for April 23-25 despite apparent pushback. Rivera said that under these circumstances, franchises will have to rely on their scouting departments more than ever.

Rivera doesn’t know when #NFL will return to normal activity.

“The biggest thing we can do is listen to the health care professionals, heed their warnings, heed their directions, follow what they’re telling us. And hopefully things can subside and we can get back to normal.”

Rivera regarding the NFL Draft: “You’re going to have to rely on your scouts and what they’ve been doing on the scouts for at least three years. …Now you’re going to see just how good your scouting departments are.”

We all know that Trent Williams is more than likely going to play somewhere else next year. The Redskins are asking for a second-round pick for him. With all the teams that are showing interest, it would make more sense for the Redskins to get a lower draft pick and a player of need. Why can’t the Redskins trade Trent Williams to the Browns for a third-round pick and David Njoku? That will give the Redskins a quality starting tight end and a second third-round pick — Calvin M.

This is a quality strategy and one the Redskins could have tried to execute. And in the case of the Cleveland Browns and David Njoku, it makes a lot of sense.

The Browns need a left tackle and just made Austin Hooper the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. They have about $48 million in cap space and brought on renowned offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who coached Williams in Washington from 2015-18.

But even if the Browns are willing to give up their third-round pick (74th overall), they might not want to take on Williams’ steep contract demands after signing right tackle Jack Conklin to a three-year deal worth about $42 million. There are also several top tackle prospects in this year’s draft class; the Browns could take one with the 10th-overall pick.

If and when the Redskins deal Williams, it’s looking less and less likely they’ll be able to do so for a second-round pick. It may be a third-rounder and a player, just a third-rounder or a combination of later selections.

Custom Kendall Fuller Jersey Large

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins announced today that they have signed cornerback Kendall Fuller and guard Wes Schweitzer. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Fuller (5-11, 198) is a four-year NFL veteran who entered the league as a third-round selection (84th overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Fuller has started in 31 of the 55 regular season games he has appeared in with the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. He has recorded 225 tackles (172 solo), six interceptions, 26 passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

As a member of the Chiefs, he appeared in five postseason games with four starts and notched 18 tackles (13 solo), one interception and three passes defensed. He registered four tackles (three solo) with one interception and two passes defensed to help guide the Chiefs to a victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

In Fuller’s last season with Washington in 2017 he appeared in all 16 games with six starts and finished the season with 60 tackles (42 solo), including two for a loss, 10 passes defensed and four interceptions, which is his career-high for a single season. At age 22, he became the youngest member of the Redskins to record at least four interceptions in a single season since Sean Taylor registered four interceptions in 2004 at the age of 21.

Fuller played collegiately at Virginia Tech and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2013 along with earning Second Team All-American honors in 2014.

Fuller, 25, attended Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md. He was born in Baltimore, Md. on February 13, 1995.

Schweitzer (6-4, 300) is entering his fifth NFL season after originally being selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the sixth round (195th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 46 regular season games with 36 starts.

For his 2018 campaign, he made 13 starts blocking for an offense that averaged 389.1 yards and 6.16 yards per play, the sixth-best mark in the NFL.

In 2017, Schweitzer started all 16 games and blocked for an offense that averaged 364.8 yards and 5.93 yards per play, the third-best mark in the NFL.

In postseason play, he has started the two games in which he has appeared.

Schweitzer played collegiately at San Jose State where he appeared in 38 career games. During his senior season, he was named one of four co-captains and was a four-time academic all-conference honoree.

Schweitzer, 26, attended Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was born September 11, 1993.

Custom Deshazor Everett Jersey Large

Before Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, the Washington Redskins made an announcement that flew somewhat under the radar. The team revealed that they had signed backup safety and special teams ace Deshazor Everett to a three-year extension.

Everett has been with the Redskins for most of his NFL tenure after entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2015. Once thought to be a strong cornerback prospect, Everett’s play in his later college seasons dropped off. The ‘Skins signed him after the Bucs parted with him and moved him to the safety position. There, he has played solidly while being an excellent contributor on special teams.

Everett was previously on a contract paying him roughly $1.3 million annually. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Everett’s new deal will be worth $6 million in base value ($2 million per year) and will have extra incentives.

Prior to the game on Saturday, the #Redskins signed S and special teamer Deshazor Everett to a 3-year contract extension worth $6M base, source said. There are additional incentives, as well.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 4, 2019

This seems like a fair price to pay for Everett’s services. The $2 million annually makes him paid roughly equally to Chargers safety Adrian Phillips and Chiefs safety Jordan Lucas. Both are solid backups with good tackling and special teams ability, so Everett having a deal comparable to them certainly makes sense.

This season, Everett has played in just five games due to injury issues, but he has been a great contributor on special teams. He has four tackles in those five games and has played at least 83 percent of the special teams snaps every week. That is his best role at the NFL level, but as he has proven in seasons past, he can serve as a quality spot starter at safety. But generally, he’s better served as the third safety on a team at best.

The Redskins will now have Everett’s services through 2022, and they’ll come at a reasonable price. When the contract is over, he’ll be a 30-year-old unrestricted free agent. There’s no reason to expect Everett to decline over the course of this deal given the role he is playing. And if he does, the team can probably part ways with him relatively easily.

This deal also won’t preclude Washington from adding another contributor at the position. If they aren’t pleased with the progression of Montae Nicholson and/or Troy Apke, they could always add another player. But given that both have shown growth this year, and Apke, in particular, seems to be turning the corner, they may not necessarily need to look for a big-time upgrade at safety. And at the very least, they have someone in Everett who they know can fill a variety of roles for the squad and provide experienced depth at the position.

NEXT: Redskins should carry on with Haskins as starter
The Everett deal isn’t a flashy one. But it’s one that makes sense for the Redskins. Some will argue that they could’ve found a cheaper solution, but considering how important Everett has been to their special teams and how he has performed as a depth safety, locking him up at this price is a sensible move. And he should be able to live up to this deal.

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For newly signed Redskins safety Sean Davis, the opportunity to sign with Washington meant a lot more than just having the chance to play opposite Landon Collins.

Davis was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Temple Hills, Md., roughly a 20-minute drive from FedEx Field, where the Redskins play their home games. After a standout high school career at Maret School in the nation’s capital, he chose to play his college ball just up the street at the University of Maryland.

So when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him with the 58th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it was Davis’ first time truly leaving the Washington, D.C. area. After four seasons with the Steelers, Davis signed a one-year deal with the Redskins this offseason, and couldn’t be happier to return home.

“I’m so happy to be home, so happy to put on for my city, man,” Davis told Redskins Nation on Thursday. (Watch the full interview on Redskins Nation at 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington).

After starting nine games for the Steelers as a rookie in 2016, Davis became a full-time starter in his second year in the league. Over the next two seasons, Davis would start 31 of a possible 32 games, playing both the free and strong safety positions. But in 2019, the final year of Davis’ rookie contract, the safety suffered a shoulder injury and was placed on Injured Reserve, appearing in just one game.

For the first time in his career, Davis had to watch football from the sidelines. Although he was unable to play out his final season in Pittsburgh, Davis believes his year off will end up making him a better player in the long run.

“Last year was hard. I’ve been a starter forever, been on the field my whole life,” Davis said. “So for the first time to be sidelined, really having no say or control, it was tough. But it challenged my mind. I became so much more mentally tough, and I think I’m much more prepared for the scary things that happen in the NFL. But it battle-hearted me, made me ready, and I’m ready to go forward this season. I’m ready to go back out on the field.”

While Davis didn’t have any film from 2019 to showcase to teams interested in his services, he said his free agency process went rather smoothly. Washington has a major hole to fill at the free safety position next to Collins, and Davis should be able to slide right in.

By signing a one-year deal with the Redskins, Davis has the chance to set himself up for a lucrative pay-day next offseason, should he perform to up his capability with the Burgundy and Gold. He’s just 26, and has been largely durable throughout his career besides this past season.

“Everything worked out smooth with the Redskins. It was an ideal situation for me and my family,” Davis said. “Having a year off, and really having a show-it year, prove-it year, what other way to do it then in front of my family and friends in my backyard? I’m really just working hard, not to prove everyone wrong, but to make everyone proud. Put smiles on people’s faces. I’m really happy to be a Redskin.”

In Pittsburgh, Davis played under Mike Tomlin, a defensive-minded head coach and one of the NFL’s most successful coaches of recent memory. Now in Washington, the safety has an opportunity to play for another well-respected, defensive-minded head coach in Ron Rivera.

Davis has yet to meet Rivera, as the coronavirus pandemic has prohibited and impacted a lot of typical offseason activities from happening. But the safety is thrilled to learn from the new Redskins head coach.

“I know he’s a great coach, I’ve heard so many great things about him,” Davis said. “I can’t wait to put on that burgundy and gold and lace-up. I’m really going to be a sponge when I get up there, taking it all in and maxing out. I’m really looking forward to meeting him.”

As Davis continues to make himself at home with the Redskins, there’s one big decision he’ll have to make soon: what number to wear.

The safety tries to emulate his game after the late Sean Taylor, and sported Taylor’s No. 21 during his final two seasons in Pittsburgh. Davis will not wear 21 in Washington, as that number has not been worn by any Redskins player since Taylor’s tragic death in 2007.

“What Sean meant to me was everything,” Davis said. “He taught me how to be a safety. How to roam deep, how to attack, instill fear in opposing receivers and everything. I love everything about him. It sucks that he was taken from us. I can’t continue his legacy, but I’m going to play as hard as I can and play like Sean Taylor as long as I can.”

Prior to wearing No. 21, Davis wore 28 his first two seasons with the Steelers. That number has not been officially retired by the Redskins, but no player has worn it since Hall of Famer Darrell Green retired in 2002.

“Numbers are important to me, so that process is going to be different,” Davis said. “[No. 28], that’s a great number that I probably can’t wear. So going through that process is going to be difficult.”

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LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins announced today that they have signed cornerback Ronald Darby. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Darby (5-11, 193) is entering his sixth NFL season after originally being selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round (50th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 57 regular season games with 56 starts.

Darby has recorded eight career interceptions for 135 yards in regular season play to complement 251 tackles (224 solo) and 65 passes defensed.

Last season as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Darby saw action in 11 games with 11 starts and finished with 37 tackles (34 solo), two interceptions and 11 passes defensed.

During Darby’s rookie campaign with the Buffalo Bills, he appeared in 15 games (15 starts) and recorded 68 tackles (61 solo), two interceptions and 21 passes defensed. He was also named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Focus and voted to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

He has appeared in three postseason games and registered 18 tackles (16 solo) and six passes defensed during the Eagles Super Bowl LII winning playoff run in 2017.

Darby played collegiately at Florida State where he appeared in 42 career games and was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Darby, 26, attended Potomac H.S. in Oxon Hill, Md. He was born January 2, 1994.