Teammates in high school, then in college, and now in the NFL, Tim Settle and Greg Stroman got their first taste of playing together at the professional level with the Redskins last weekend.
The statistics of high school players making the NFL are extremely low. The statistics of high school teammates making the NFL and playing for the same organization are, let's just say, nearly impossible.
And yet, following their first Redskins rookie minicamp practice, there were defensive lineman Tim Settle and cornerback Greg Stroman, the pair of Stonewall Jackson High School teammates fielding questions beside each other just a couple of weeks after being drafted by Washington in the 2018 NFL Draft.
As improbable as that scenario might sound, it might also be the most understandable. A year after Stroman graduated high school and began playing football at Virginia Tech, Settle followed him there, continuing their bond that has now lifted them into the professional ranks. At every level, they have been together.
The Washington Redskins held their first rookie minicamp practice of 2018 on May 11, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"After he got picked, my family kind of in-house was like 'What if it happens?'" Stroman said. "It's kind of like we spoke it into existence. It was exciting to hear the news and now we've just got to play."
Settle tagged Stroman on Twitter with the phrase "3 for 3."
The Redskins drafted Settle in the fifth round to further bulk up their defensive line, which was instantly improved with the addition of Daron Payne in the first round. Two picks later in the sixth round, the Redskins took Stroman, adding more depth to the cornerback position and potentially adding a challenger at punt returner.
Beside each other, their body shape couldn't be more different, but their shared history has made the first week with their new team more comfortable. They're currently sharing the same hotel room and can lean on their families not too far away – Settle is from Manassas while Stroman is from Bristow.
"It's been easier to have somebody with me," Settle said. "I'm not alone, even though we're from this area, me and Greg always been close, so you know, us just bonding together, going over the playbook, I was telling myself, I bet I know this more than you. You can do stuff with him. I can joke with him because I know how he is, I know his personality, I grew up with him. It's just easier, it's fun."
The two of them hadn't really considered this a possibility, but are happy to have each other during the upcoming OTAs as they mix it up with veteran players.
"We work good together and that's been the trend," Settle said.
Both know that they'll have good chances to make the squad by the end of training camp and the preseason. They also know they can't look ahead too far as they begin to learn a new vocabulary of plays and game plans at a much faster rate than in college.
The past weekend was good primer for them, a test of their memory retention and information processing.
"It's just more work," Stroman said. "It's nothing we're not used to, just come in, learn and work. Do what coach asks and make sure you learn everything and do everything you're asked."
Settle has the same mindset as he prepares to work extensively with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula over the coming months, impriving footwork and agility as he adjusts at the next level.
"Play your role, do what you have to do," Settle said. "Everybody on the team has a job. Doing our job is the best thing we can do to help this organization, this club as well. That's just all it's about. As long as you're making your plays, as long as you're doing what you're supposed to do, you're going to stay in the league for a long time."
With any luck, Settle and Stroman will be around a long time together, a potential result of fate and accountability.
"He'll let me know I've got to work, and I'll let him know he's got to work," Settle said. "We don't beat around the bush. We keep it 100 with each other."