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With Strong Preseason, Stefan McClure Makes The Final Roster

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It was easy to miss, because it was a career moment for rookie Josh Harvey-Clemons, scampering his way into the end zone after a fourth-quarter interception. Safety Stefan McClure made sure it happened, though, providing a big block on Tampa Bay's quarterback Sifo Liufau near the end zone.

"I was just trying to block the quarterback," he said after the team's 13-10 victory. "I was just trying to help spark our team. Help us make a play."

The effort, in continuing to sprint down the field and make a blistering hit, exemplified the kind of player coaches saw in McClure throughout the preseason, and the first-year safety was rewarded with a spot on the Redskins' 53-man roster.

The journey for McClure to secure a spot seemed unclear when he parachuted into Richmond a week through training camp. Having to pick up the system quickly and adapt on the fly, without any offseason program with Washington, McClure adjusted rapidly and made plays in each preseason game.

That was most on display last Thursday, in the team's final game against Tampa Bay, where McClure made a lasting impression with his instincts and ball skills, breaking up a pass and making plays in the backfield.

Pro Football Focus gave McClure the highest grade of the game on either team, writing that he "was excellent in coverage [and] while he surrendered three receptions, they went for a total of one yard, and he also broke up a pass." McClure's performance earned him PFF's preseason Week 4 Team of the Week.

"It was really to just go out there and get good tape," McClure said of his thought process entering Thursday. "Make some plays and get some good film out there for all 32 teams, for this team, and really just dig deep and get through the game and put games on the film. We came out there with a win."

Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' defense in their 2017 Preseason Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aug. 31, 2017, at FedExField.

McClure, 24, originally entered the NFL as a college free agent for the Indianapolis Colts in 2016, but was waived at this time last year before returning to Indianapolis' practice squad in December. During the preseason last year, the 5-foot-11, 205 pounder recorded three tackles in three games.

McClure attended the University of California, appearing in 37 games, recording 165 tackles with 12 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a sack. He also was the only player in school history to serve as a team captain for three seasons.

As he reflected on his most recent preseason – he recorded 11 tackles and two passes defensed – he was most happy with his consistency on defense.

"I felt way it went decent," he said of the preseason. "For all things being considered, no OTA's this offseason. No two weeks before training camp. Came out here and luckily picked up the defense pretty fast and hit the ground running. I got here a week before and had no competition against anyone else because I was at home. All things being considered, I think it went well. I am very thankful for this opportunity. I got to be able to come out here and have another shot to put some film together.

"Either way, I feel like I put good tape out there and think something positive will come from it," he said.

It certainly did.

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