Taken five picks apart, both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Joshua Holsey provide instant depth in the defensive backfield and both are looking forward to helping wherever the Redskins need them.
The Redskins added more defensive help – for the present and near future – in the seventh round of the NFL Draft when they took Louisville linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons and Auburn cornerback Josh Holsey just five picks apart.
Harvey-Clemons was a second-team All-ACC pick last season for the Cardinals, as he racked up 61 tackles (four for loss) and two sacks. He did that mostly listed as a safety, although the Redskins plan to use him in a variety of ways, starting with dime linebacker.
The role could be similar to what safety Su'a Cravens experienced last year, learning the defense in a limited role that will still be a big factor considering the way that offenses are adapting.
"You look around the league and you look at some of these running backs that are getting drafted, you know [Alvin] Kamara and some of these smaller scatbacks that are really good receivers, you better have somebody that can run and cover them and also be able to tackle if they run inside zone or something like that," head coach Jay Gruden said. "We feel like he can do that. [It will] be a good project, and height/weight/speed, he fits all the measurables, we've just got to find a spot for him."
At 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, Harvey-Clemons stressed with the media that he's willing to play anywhere – likely a special teams project, too – and hopes that experience will benefit him down the road.
"I think my strengths are my range and my length and my ability to get to the ball," Harvey-Clemons said. "Some things I need to work on… I would say just small footwork things and staying low out of my break and things like that."
Holsey has similar ability to be versatile, traits that come in handy as teams take stock of their picks and project their rosters.
Gruden sees the Auburn product competing at both corner and nickel-corner positions, relying on his instincts, which make up for his lack of size – 5-foot-11, 195 pounds.
In his senior season, Holsey was selected as All-SEC third team after making 30 total tackles and three interceptions last season, dealing with nagging injuries – two ACL injuries -- that he acquired throughout his five years as a Tiger.
"Big time," Holsey said when asked if the injuries affected his play. "But I was able to bounce back from that. A lot of guys can't come back from two ACL injuries and play as well I did. I was able to battle through those. Injuries happen, so you have to be able to fight through and come back. I feel like I did that and Washington and Coach [Torrian] Gray and Coach [Jay] Gruden felt that as well and took a chance for me."
Holsey is banking on his intelligence and tenacity on the field to help him excel and is ready for what the Redskins have in store for him.
"We see him competing at nickel and a little bit at corner," Gruden said. "He played very well. He competed against Mike Williams and did a great job. I love his competitiveness. You look as his measurables and he's not the biggest guy in the world, but he competes as good as any corner we've seen out there. We're excited to throw him in the mix and let him compete at nickel/corner and special teams obviously."