Deshazor Everett was signed during training camp to provide depth at cornerback. Since then, he's made a strong case for the 53-man final roster.
When rookie cornerback Deshazor Everett signed with the Redskins on Aug. 1, his role was mostly to provide depth at a position that was lacking healthy players. He was a well-equipped, physical player at Texas A&M to be sure, but his addition was more a reflection of a depleted roster than his own abilities.
Check out these photos of the Redskins preparing for their Week 3 preseason matchup against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
At the time, starters Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson were all battling with injuries. Everett, along with several other undrafted rookies called in, would alleviate temporary needs and maybe add competition once they returned.
Close to a month later, Everett has exceeded expectations and shed some of the early designations he earned during the first days of training camp.
As of Sunday, the team's most recent depth chart placed him ahead of peers Tajh Hasson, Trey Wolfe and Bryan McCann.
"Really I just try to go out there every day and get better and just focus on one thing, go work on that one thing," Everett said. "I haven't seen the depth chart. I didn't see it before. Whenever coach tells me to go in, I go out there and I just give it my best."
Everett, who stands at 6-foot, 193 pounds, went undrafted in the spring after playing 50 games for the Aggies. He recorded 218 tackles, 26 pass breakups, five interceptions (three returned for touchdowns) and one fumble recovery.
The Buccaneers signed him as a free agent at the end of April, but Everett was cut before they broke for training camp. Now, after a few weeks learning a new system, with new teammates and new coaches, Everett has adjusted considerably since finishing camp in Richmond, Va.
"I'm definitely more comfortable," Everett said. "I understand the schemes a little bit more. I understand what I'm doing. It really just comes down to not making mental mistakes."
To combat those errors, which are, to his point, more mental than physical, Everett aims his focus on particular techniques during practice, realizing that he won't be able to conquer everything to perfection in one day.
Before drills begin he has a game plan that allows him to simplify his goals.
"You're not going to go out there and press good every play, and then go and backpedal in off-coverage square[ly] every play," Everett said. "I go out there and be like, 'When I press today, I'm going to make sure I don't lunge, I don't shoot with the wrong hand. When I backpedal, I want to stay square, do a three step, read step,' things like that."
You can tell Everett enjoys discussing the finer points of the game, specifically because he's still learning them himself. His NFL.com draft profile said Everett "loves to hit and eats glass out on the field," a unique phrase that seems loaded with fearless characteristics.
"You've got to be aggressive out there. You've got to be physical. It's a man's game," Everett said. "You can't go out there playing soft, you've got to go out there and play hard every play."
The Washington Redskins on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, announced the signing of cornerback Deshazor Everett. Take a look back at his college football career at Texas A&M.
Through two preseason games, Everett has a served in a helpful role on special teams, which saw two leaders recently fall to injury, and has recorded five tackles, making back-to-back stops in Cleveland and making a key push during a punt return against the Lions.
"I really felt more comfortable at the away game," Everett said. "I like playing in hostile environments. It gives me more motivation and I want to shut everyone down. You could just hush the crowd up. But I feel comfortable either way. The coach felt confident putting me in there with the twos."
It's rare for a rookie to feel more comfortable in an opposing stadium – and maybe that's a cornerback's natural bravado seeping out. But playing in front of large, hostile crowds is something Everett got used to in the SEC, particularly his matchups in Alabama.
His former, now current, teammate, running back Trey Williams, remembers some of those games, too. Everett is glad to have him around to reflect on old times. But he makes one thing clear, and it's a window into the kind of player he aspires to be in the NFL.
"When it comes down to football out here, if he's on the other side of the ball I've got to break down and make the tackle," Everett said. "It's good to have a teammate out here but once we're against each other, we're against each other."