After getting selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, outside linebacker Noah Spence showed flashes in his first season as a professional, tallying 22 total tackles (16 solo), three forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks.
But following his rookie campaign, Spence's final two seasons in Tampa Bay were a struggle. Hindered by a lasting shoulder injury, he dropped on the depth chart and received less and less action on the field.
For that reason, the fourth-year player out of Eastern Kentucky is happy to join a new organization: the Washington Redskins.
"It's been a blessing for me, being able to start over somewhere else...to try my best to help this team," Spence told Redskins.com Thursday.
In signing with the Redskins on Sept. 18, Spence joined a defense that is currently tied for 25th in the NFL with five sacks. That is key to understanding why head coach Jay Gruden -- who hopes Spence "can be a situational type rusher who can give us a little bit of juice" -- gave the fourth-year edge defender a chance two weeks into the regular season.
After not playing in a Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears, Spence played 19 of the 78 defensive snaps Sunday against the New York Giants, when he finished with one tackle and a quarterback hit. He also had a tackle for loss negated because of a penalty.
"He's got some real good quickness," defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "He's got good getting off the ball."
While Spence continues to wait his turn for more playing time, the 6-foot-2, 251-pound edge rusher will do anything that his team requires, "Give my all every play…[for] anything they want me to do: special teams, defense," Spence stated.