The Redskins officially have officially signed former Atlanta Falcons guard Wes Schweitzer, the team announced March 21.
Schweitzer, who was taken in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, is a four-year veteran who has played in many different spots on the offensive line. He was a decorated starter at San Jose State and has been both a starter and backup throughout his professional career.
Schweitzer has appeared in 46 games and started in 36 with the Falcons. It is likely he would compete for a starting position on the offensive line with second-year guard Wes Martin. Here are five things to know about Schweitzer.
1. He was close to taking a very different career path.
Being a professional athlete wasn't always Schweitzer's main goal. He originally wanted to serve his country by joining the Marines.
Football was not one of Schweitzer's priorities for most of his time in high school. He didn't even start in a game until his senior year. He was more focused on wrestling when he transferred to Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was good, too; in fact, he advanced to the 2010 state championships for the 189-pound division.
But then Schweitzer went from 189 to 270 in the summer before his senior year. In his first and only season as a starter, he earned an All-State selection and was voted first-team All-City and All-Region.
Still, Schweitzer was set on joining the Marines. He was on his way to get a physical and swear in when he got a scholarship offer -- the first of six -- from New Mexico. Schweitzer eventually chose San Jose State, effectively shifting the plans for his future.
2. He was a three-year starter at San Jose State.
Schweitzer was relatively quiet in his first two seasons with the Spartans. He redshirted his freshman year and only started in one game in the following season.
He became a permanent starter prior to the 2013 season, and it was a role that he kept for the next three years.
The Spartans had a long string of success with Schweitzer as a left tackle. The offense set a school record of 493.2 yards per game in 2013; he helped quarterback Joe Gray complete 63.6% of his passes in 2014; and he helped the Spartans finish 2015 with a 2,000-yard rushing and passing season.
Schweitzer started 37 consecutive games with the Spartans. He ended his career by being named the Outstanding Offensive Lineman at the team's banquet.
3. He wants to earn his Ph.D in chemistry.
Schweitzer was clearly impressive on the field, but he was even more so off of it.
Schweitzer finished his time at San Jose State with a 3.3 grade point average. He was a three-time recipient of the team's Scholar-Athlete award, an academic All-District nominee honoree and a 2016 member of the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.
What's even more impressive is that he did all that while majoring in chemistry, and he wants to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in the field.
"I want to do research in the field somewhere," Schweitzer told ESPN in 2016. "I just want to contribute something to society. I want to be known as a guy who gave back or made a contribution to football or chemistry."
Schweitzer's family has a history in chemistry. His father served in the Army for 25 years as a nuclear safety officer. Football is still Schweitzer's main concern, but his days in chemistry are far from done.
"If I were drafting for a biology graduate student team, I would pick Wes in the first round," Schweitzer's professor, Dr. Kenneth Youngman, told ESPN.
4. He converted to guard and won a starting job with the Falcons.
Schweitzer was still a left tackle when the Falcons used a sixth-round pick on him in 2016. After not playing at all during his rookie season, he switched to guard in 2017, won the starting job and started all 16 games as the Falcons advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Schweitzer moved from right guard to left in the following season after Andy Levitre suffered a season-ending injury in Week 3. He was a reliable starter once again, as he started for the remainder of the season.
In his four seasons with the Falcons, he appeared in 46 games and started in 36. Although he was primarily a guard during that time, he also served as the backup center.
5. He offers positional flexibility.
Schweitzer has played every offensive line position dating back to his time with San Jose State. He has experience playing left and right tackle with the Spartans and has spent the past four seasons in the interior with the Falcons.
That kind of position flexibility is exactly what Ron Rivera is looking for in his players.
"I like position flex, I really do," Rivera told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I always talk about offensive linemen, because if they can go tackle to guard, guard to center, center to tackle, you've got something special there.
Schweitzer will get his shot at the starting guard spot beside Brandon Scherff, as he will likely compete with Martin for that role. But even if he loses out on the competition, he will add valuable depth to the Redskins' offensive line.