At this time last year, Nehemiah Broughton was in Charleston, S.C., waiting his draft fate like hundreds of other NFL prospects across the country.
Broughton knew that Redskins running backs coach Earnest Byner liked him, so it didn't come as a surprise when Washington chose Broughton in the seventh round.
A year later, Broughton has a year of NFL experience under his belt, but he knows he has to continue to improve to stick with the Redskins in 2006.
"This year is the same for me as last year--I have to prove myself all over again," he said. "I come from a small school as a seventh-round draft pick, so I know nothing is going to be handed out to me. The journey starts all over again for me."
Two significant changes this year, though.
First, Broughton has a new baby daughter.
Secondly, he has a new position to learn.
In college, at The Citadel in South Carolina, Broughton--nicknamed "Nemo"--was a 5-11, 255-pound running back.
Now in his second season in the NFL, Broughton joins Mike Sellers and fellow 2005 draftee Manuel White, Jr., as fullbacks for new Redskins associate head coach-offense Al Saunders.
Last year, the Redskins' offense included H-backs, sort of a hybrid tight end and fullback.
Players like tight end Chris Cooley, Sellers, White and Broughton give Saunders plenty of versatility, no matter where they line up.
"I was a straight-ahead running back in college, so the fullback position is new to me," Broughton said.
He led The Citadel in rushing yards his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, compiling 2,638 yards and 25 touchdowns, including a 92-yard score.
Despite being on the Redskins' roster all last season, Broughton saw limited playing time, appearing in four games.
Instead, he spent time working closely with Byner on the Redskins Park practice fields.
Now the learning process begins again as off-season work picks up.
"I'm busy learning the new [fullback] plays and I don't think the transition will be too difficult," he said. "Obviously there's more blocking involved at fullback. I won't have the ball in my hands as much.
"But you have to be a team player--you have to do whatever helps the team win and whatever helps keep you here [on the roster]."
Broughton has been a daily participant in the Redskins' off-season workout program. Even though he's switching to fullback, he doesn't feel a need to bulk up more.
"I've always been a big guy," he said. "I came into the league at 250-plus pounds. I'm not really worried about putting on some weight. I'm just trying to get conditioned with the weight I'm carrying so that I'm able to move around better."
Special teams play is also a focus for Broughton. He may have earned his roster spot last year after logging five special teams tackles in the 2005 preseason--including three tackles in the finale at Baltimore.
"Special teams can keep you in the league a long time," Broughton said. "I'm always trying to make a big impact on special teams. When you run downfield and make a big tackle, it really does get noticed."