In an interview with ESPN 980 following the NFL Draft, head coach Jay Gruden said that his biggest fear as a head coach was not having depth and security at the center position.
The Redskins have Spencer Long ready for his first full season handing snaps to quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Gruden doesn't believe he'll lose the job this year, but admitted that the team's sixth-round draft pick Chase Roullier helps ease his mind when it comes to knowing Long's backup option.
Pro Football Focus thinks he should ease it too, claiming that Roullier could be the long-term fix at center for the Redskins’ future.
"I really don't anticipate Spencer losing the starting center job right now to a rookie," Gruden said. "I think it's very important for us to add depth to that position. I need centers. It's my biggest fear as a coach. Something happens to Spencer, where do you go? You teach a guard to do it again? You got to have a guy that can play center in my opinion and Chase has played center. If you're going to dress on game day as a sixth lineman, backup center, you got to play both guards. He has played both guards in college also so it's very important."
Roullier played left guard in 2014 and 2015 and moved to center for his senior season, a decision that he said helped his draft stock during the last several months.
As a guard in 2015, Roullier surrendered six pressures and allowed just eight the following year at center. Over his entire career, he allowed just 28 total pressures over 1,277 pass-blocking snaps.
According to PFF, "Roullier was the second-highest-graded guard in 2015 and the ninth-highest-graded center in 2016. His 98.7 pass-blocking efficiency in 2016 tied him for the third in this year's draft class, and he didn't surrender a single pressure on third down this season."
He had a run-blocking success percentage of 91.6 percent at center, and was first among peers at his position last season with a pass-block success efficiency of 100 percent on third downs.
"I think my switch to center really proved that I was a versatile offensive lineman on the interior," Roullier told Redskins.com. "If I had stayed at guard throughout my years there, that would be a question mark, whether I was versatile enough at center and whatnot. But by actually doing it my entire senior year, it just proved that I was, and it wasn't a question marks anymore, it was one of my strengths. I think it helped me a lot, it pushed me up boards."
It may also push him into a starter's role soon enough.