Derek Carrier, acquired in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, took part in his first practice with the Redskins on Sunday, and said he brings versatility and athleticism to the field.*
Recently acquired Washington Redskins tight end Derek Carrier's whirlwind 48 hours continued Sunday afternoon as he took in the scenes of the team's Fan Appreciation Day in Loudoun County, Va.
The Washington Redskins on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, announced the acquisition of tight end Derek Carrier. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.
Traded on Friday to Washington from the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the third-year player out of Beloit College appeared upbeat about his chances of producing on the field this season, and even got the opportunity to participate in a number of drills in front of his new team's fans.
"Being in this position in the NFL, you have to make the most out of opportunities," Carrier told reporters after practice. "Every chance you're given you just got to go seize it. I consider myself an all-around tight end. I do a little bit of both blocking and receiving. But from my background, being a wide receiver in college and my first year in the NFL, receiving would probably be my strength."
Carrier's stock in the NFL has never been higher. Coming into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, the tight end spent some time on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad before playing sparingly in San Francisco for the past two seasons.
After being buried on the 49ers depth chart the past couple years, Carrier entered preseason play as San Francisco's No. 2 tight end, and now has a golden opportunity to prove his worth in the league.
In fact, Carrier's name appeared as the No. 2 tight end on the Redskins’ unofficial depth chart on Sunday, behind only starter Jordan Reed. But even after season-ending injuries to Niles Paul (ankle) and Logan Paulsen (toe), Carrier knows not to assume he's walking in to immediate playing time before putting the necessary work in.
"Like I said, I'm just focused on being the best player out there," he said. "I'm focused on catching up and contributing to this team. Any time you're in the NFL, not only are you going to be playing, but you got to be a student of the game, you have to study. That's like another side of the game that people often overlook. Studying, watching game film, and knowing you're stuff are a big part of the game."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Carrier, who has a background playing basketball, should fit in very well in Washington's offense.
"He looks like he competes in the running game, which is excellent, but he's obviously very athletic," Gruden said. "We still have a couple weeks left to get him going and see if he'll be ready for Miami [Week 1 of the regular season], but we're excited about the prospect of him coming in and competing right away."
In Washington, Carrier fills holes that had become glaringly obvious on the team's depth chart. Backup tight end was certainly a void that needed to be filled, but so was the role of special teams stalwart after Redskins special teams captain Adam Hayward went down with an ACL injury Thursday against the Detroit Lions.
The growing number of names on the IR list in Washington had created a need for players who have the versatility to help out in multiple ways, and the team's desire to acquire an all-around player like Carrier was duly noted.
"I was surprised, but it's the nature of the business," the 25-year-old Carrier said about his reaction to being traded. "You could be somewhere one minute and somewhere else the next. They told me how they liked my game from watching me play last year and this year in the preseason. I'm just excited to be here and have this opportunity."
Carrier could get the opportunity for his first official plays with the Redskins' offense Saturday as the team travels to Baltimore to play the Ravens. He will almost certainly need a few more days to adjust to his new environment and learn some more of the play book, but the chance get in some game action with his new team is one he certainly hopes is in the cards this week.
"I have all intentions of playing," Carrier said. "We'll see what happens."