The Redskins' newest offensive lineman played center and guard at the University of Wyoming and is grateful to join a franchise with a strong foundation at his position.
Relief followed excitement once the Washington Redskins selected University of Wyoming center Chase Roullier in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Within minutes he was on the phone with local media sharing his initial reaction and began researching more about the franchise he had visited a couple weeks before being drafted. As an offensive lineman, however, Roullier already had a good sense of at least part of the team's history.
Despite growing up in Minnesota, Roullier had heard about "The Hogs," and how that group of offensive linemen had made the position exciting again, forming an ethos to emulate for those that succeeded them.
"It's a name that has been passed down to high school and college offensive lines throughout the country because of guys like Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic and Joe Jacoby," Roullier said. "Those kinds of guys paved the way for so many offensive lineman throughout the country and made it an exciting position to play.
"Growing up in the Midwest, I wasn't deeply rooted in the understanding of who the Hogs were in Washington, D.C., but you know their reputation, that they're a great offensive line, and they're players who you aspire to be."
Roullier will now get the chance to play with "Hogs 2.0," an homage and nickname started by left tackle Trent Williams last season to describe the dominance up front that the Redskins have exhibited over the last two seasons. Bookending a line with Morgan Moses, who just signed a multi-year extension with the team, Williams, along with the continued development of right guard Brandon Scherff, will give Roullier some serious guidance.
"Obviously when you have the opportunity to join an offensive line that's already a great offensive line, and you're just in there doing your best to try and make it better, that's awesome to join that," he said. "It's an honor to be in there with those guys."
Roullier, who will join the team before rookie minicamp next week, played guard for the first three years of his career at Wyoming but moved to center in his senior year, a switch that benefited the Wyoming Cowboys greatly as well as his draft stock, he believed.
Pro Football Focus has sung his praises, saying he makes blocking look easy sometimes and he "has the ability to steer defensive lineman in a way rarely seen," insinuating a solid career is ahead of him.
"I think my switch to center really proved that I was a versatile offensive lineman on the interior," Roullier said. "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 mark anymore, it was one of my strengths. I think it helped me a lot, it pushed me up boards."
As a mechanical engineering major, and then the signal caller at the line of scrimmage for the offensive line, Roullier admitted he had plenty of late nights at the library, finishing homework and then waking up early for practices. It was a sacrifice he was willing to take, and he's glad that, for now, 100 percent of his energy will be on football.
He also knows that much work lies ahead. That will start with shedding the impossible burden of being the 199th-overall selection in the draft – the Tom Brady selection, it's deemed – that Roullier has heard ad nauseam since Saturday.
"It's kind of hard to be compared to one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in NFL history, and all I am is a draft pick," Roullier said. "People already trying to compare me to someone like that is…I don't think it's necessarily fair. I'm just going to come in there and do the best that I can. Obviously I'm not going to be thinking about what pick I was in the draft. Hopefully it's a little bit of luck that can get passed down to me at the very least."