Because Greg Ducre and Jackson Jeffcoat were able to put together some impressive plays on film, they both hoped it would only be a matter of time before they were noticed and signed to an NFL team's active roster.
They got that very opportunity on Wednesday, when the Washington Redskins announced they had signed Ducre, a cornerback, and Jeffcoat, an outside linebacker, to help bolster both their defensive and special teams units.
In corresponding moves, the team announced it had waived cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Akeem Davis.
For Ducre – a rookie who went undrafted this year out of Washington – the opportunity with the Redskins is the first time in his career he's been placed on an active roster, having spent the first five weeks of the season on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad.
"Yesterday at 12 p.m. they just called and told me that they wanted to get me and I agreed," Ducre said Wednesday before his first practice with the Redskins. "I'm glad they gave me the opportunity to come here and compete."
Ducre said the No. 1 skillset in his arsenal is his speed, and his athletic background certainly backs that up. In Washington's pro day in April, he ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash, which would've placed him second had he participated in February's NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
A Los Angeles Native, Ducre said he knows he'll have to rely on more than speed, however, with the Redskins.
"I'm physical – very physical," he said. "I like to come tackle and disrupt a lot of things."
Ducre said he'll also embrace a role on the Redskins' special teams units.
"I love it," he said of playing special teams. "Gunner, kickoff – anything they want me to do, I'll do it."
Jeffcoat, meanwhile, was signed to the Redskins' practice squad Sept. 2, so he's already had more than a month to get acclimated to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's schemes.
The 2013 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Ted Hendricks Aware (top collegiate defensive end) out of Texas, Jeffcoat went undrafted this year and had spent some time on the Seattle Seahawks' preseason roster before he was cut on Aug. 24.
Like many successful collegiate defensive ends – including current Redskins teammate and fellow Texas alum Brian Orakpo – Jeffcoat has made the transition to outside linebacker, and said he's was "excited" to learn the team had bumped him up to the active roster this week.
"I've been working hard on the practice squad just trying to make sure I get the plays down and make sure I'm doing everything right," he said.
Jeffcoat also preliminarily sees a role for himself on the Redskins' special teams units, something he's been sure to pay attention to during his five weeks on the team's practice squad.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Jeffcoat said. "I'm able to watch the guys that have been doing the special teams and learn from them and they've been good helping me out and taking me aside and tell me what's going on."
Jeffcoat said he's excited to show the Redskins' coaches and fans what he's capable of doing on the field.
"I played well at a high a level in college and every level I've played well, so I plan on coming out here and working my butt off and doing the same," he said. "I can run, I get off blocks and I can do things like that, so on special teams, that's definitely helps to be able to get in space and make tackles."
Practice squad movesThe Redskins on Wednesday also announced the signing of linebacker Steve Beauharnais to their practice squad.
To make room for Beauharnais, the team released practice squad tight end Ted Bolser.
Beauharnais – a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker in his second season out of Rutgers – was a seventh-round (235th-overall) selection of the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in two regular-season games with the Patriots last season, making a tackle Dec. 22 against the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2012, Beauharnais was one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate linebacker. He finished the year with 76 tackles (six for loss) as the captain of the nation's No. 10-total defense.