Rookie cornerback Deshazor Everett quickly proved he was much more than just a camp body after signing Aug. 1. Now, he hopes to make his mark after earning a spot on the 53-man roster.
As he sat in front of his locker Saturday morning at Redskins Park, DeShazor Everett waited for his phone to ring.
Check out the entire Washington Redskins' 2015 53-man roster in photos. (Last updated Sept. 29, 2015)
With now-former teammates all around him packing up their belongings and pondering their next moves, Everett wondered if or when he'd be joining them.
But that call never came – a sign of good news each year during the NFL's final cutdown day.
Everett, a longshot to make the roster when he was signed as an emergency option during training camp after four cornerbacks went down with nagging injuries, showed what he could do in the defensive backfield and on special teams, and earned a spot on the Redskins' initial 53-man roster for the 2015 season.
Everett, who went undrafted this year out of Texas A&M, described the process of waiting for a call on Saturday "almost worse than the draft."
"So you're just waiting there, basically," Everett said Sunday after the team's morning practice in Loudoun County, Va. "Fortunately enough, I didn't get a call. I wasn't called, so I went into the team meeting, and they were like, 'This is your team.'"
Everett was signed by the Redskins Aug. 1 after top cornerbacks Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson each suffered relatively minor injuries during training camp. Facing a huge hole at the position during practices, the team signed guys like Everett, Bryan McCann and DreQuan Hoskey, and even moved wide receiver Quinton Dunbar over to cornerback, just so it could bring in a little depth and competition.
The Washington Redskins on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, announced the signing of cornerback Deshazor Everett. Take a look back at his college football career at Texas A&M.
Everett, who was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a college free agent May 4 and released by the team one day prior to his workout with the Redskins, proved quickly he wasn't just another camp body. Before long, he was inserted in with the No. 2 defense at cornerback and as a gunner on special teams.
It was the latter that Everett knew could potentially land him a roster spot not only with the Redskins, but across the league.
"I knew that if I got the defense down and play well on defense that it would get me somewhat in the door and get noticed, but I knew I had to go out there and work on special teams every day," Everett said. "That's where I would earn a ticket onto this team. So I went out there and I told coach that I wanted to play all of the special teams."
Everett admitted he was a little rusty as a gunner at first, but leaned on the help of teammates Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis, each of whom thrived in that spot last year with the Redskins.
"I just look at guys, you know, that play the same position that I do, because you go to them, they've been in the war, been out there on the field when there was a lot of bullets," Everett said. "So that's the best way for me to go about it."
Everett perhaps secured his roster spot in the Redskins' third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, when he demolished punt returner Asa Jackson, jarring the ball loose and setting up his team with the ball at the Baltimore 30-yard line.
"When you make splash plays like that, [you say] 'Hey, who's that number 22 guy?' You know what I mean?" Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Everett on Sunday. "All of a sudden you talk about him and then you watch him on defense and he's sound in what he does. He's a solid contributor to our football team not only on defense – he's smart – but also on special teams."
Everett said plays that like are a microcosm of his approach to the game.
"I definitely like to tackle," he said. "When I get the opportunity to go make a tackle, I try to bring it and just let them know that I will tackle you, I will stick my nose in there."
For Everett, there is personal satisfaction in knowing he has made the Redskins' Week 1 roster as an undrafted rookie.
But that doesn't mean the work is over.
"Any day you could go down with an injury, you know, they could feel like they could bring somebody in to play just as well as you," Everett said. "Every day you've gotta go out there and work, and that's what I try to do – every day try to go out there and get better. But you're never safe in the league. As you see, a lot of good players get let go, so you just go out there and work every day."