Josh Harvey-Clemons is looking forward to providing instant special teams help and his possible role as dime linebacker, a position that's become important for NFL defenses.
During the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins turned their attention to the defense and selected six players on that side of the ball -- three defensive backs, one defensive lineman and Josh Harvey-Clemons, a linebacker.
While in college, it was hard to categorize Harvey-Clemons since he seemed to never have a set position and is another one of those hybrid players who can line up at both safety and linebacker; much like the Redskins' second-round draft pick from a year ago, Su'a Cravens.
The Valdosta, Ga., native was given the freedom of movement while playing for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at both Louisville and Georgia. He also got the chance to learn the attacking 3-4 scheme, very similar to what the Redskins deploy during games.
Under Grantham, Harvey-Clemons was often used as the dime linebacker because of his ability to cover both the slot receivers and stop the run, a position the Redskins could use him at in order to upgrade their third-down defense.
"I am very comfortable in it," Harvey-Clemons told Redskins.com of the dime linebacker role. "This past year was the first year I actually played the linebacker in the dime and I fell in love with it in camp. I really love both positions and I am grateful that I am able to play both. I don't look at it as a bad thing. I like playing closer to the line to make tackles and I also like being further back and reading the quarterback's eyes. I am really looking forward to it and seeing how I will be used in the Redskins defense."
His unique skill set helped the 6-foot-4, 217 pounder total 148 tackles, five passes defensed and three interceptions in his two seasons with the Cardinals defense.
"I am somebody who is going to play hard through every snap and who is always going to be around the ball," Harvey-Clemons said. "Trying to be in on every tackle and just somebody who is going to compete and be very competitive."
In 2017, it is likely that Harvey-Clemons will get plenty of action on special teams, but he understands the value of it and views it as another way to make his mark on the game.
"I think it's very important," he said. "It's something that most teams talked about when I talked to them, are you willing to play special teams. That is something that even my college coaches harped on. When I was in college you had to be able to play special teams because you don't have that many players in the league that you do in college. So you
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, the Washington Redskins selected safety Josh Harvey-Clemons with the 230th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
have to be able to play on any special teams you are asked and on defense For me, doing that in college only helped me and now I am willing to play anything. Some guys that don't like playing special teams but I look at it as another way to make a play."
As talented as Harvey-Clemons is, he fell in the draft due to off-field issues years prior and was unable to showcase his physical abilities at the combine due to a hamstring injury late in the season. He feels that he is better than the round he was drafted in but will ultimately use it as motivation.
"It leaves me with a big chip," Harvey-Clemons said of being picked in the seventh round. "Watching the draft and seeing all those players go ahead of me, they are all great players and I don't want to take anything from them but it hurt me. I made up my mind then that nobody was going to out work me and I was going to give my all to the game. I feel like I could of gone earlier and it was a lot of guys that I played against and seen play, it's something that is going to motivate me. It will keep me motivated the entire time I am in the league."