Montae Nicholson gave the Washington Redskins the impact of a veteran in his short time starting last season. This year, he plans to go beyond that.
His rookie season was cut short, but the impact incurred on the Washington Redskins defense by Montae Nicholson was easily felt. The Michigan State product did enough in early action to ensure that there would be a starting spot waiting for him in 2018.
Nicholson will be making a full-time move to free safety this year, starting alongside D.J. Swearinger. He completes a safety duo that will be the Washington Redskins strongest, on paper, in years. Gone are the days of David Bruton, Dashon Goldson, and Donte Whitner. The Washington Redskins have two promising young safeties, and the arrow is only pointing upward.
Nicholson projects well at free safety. He has a combination of speed and length that coalesce to give him outstanding range, something only the best free safeties have. Nicholson has the natural talent to provide the impact of a seasoned veteran, and this offseason, he’ll be looking to foster the mindset of a seasoned veteran as well.
"The secondary seems to be getting more comfortable with each other, and that starts with the play-callers in the back. Safety Montae Nicholson is benefitting from having a full offseason to adjust to learning the playbook and pairing his physical talent with a better understanding of the defense. Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray during a red zone drill praised Nicholson for feeding an audible to cornerback Josh Norman before the ball was snapped, a little detail that Nicholson will become better at over the next couple of months."
The quote, per Jake Kring-Schreifels of the Washington Redskins official website, brings to light a very exciting development of the offseason. Montae Nicholson came into the league as a very raw prospect, and even in his early play, when he showed promise, he was sometimes swept up by the speed of the NFL, and his aggressive style caused him to make some key errors.
With an increased fundamental knowledge of the game and its intricacies, as well as a better grasp of the adjustments that can be made from the back end, and the times to make those adjustments, Nicholson, as talented as he is, can become an entirely different player. When a player such as Nicholson, who has top-end range and instincts, acquires the mental quickness and processing skills to not only adjust the defense accordingly, but also make sure that he himself is in the right position on every play, the potential there is truly astounding. It’s a breakout waiting to happen.
There’s still plenty of offseason to be played out, but it’s promising to see that Nicholson is benefiting from the extra time he has in his second year. He flashed the kind of potential that rare players have in 2017, and in 2018, it’s possible that, for the Washington Redskins, rarity could, in fact, become reality. The game is becoming slower for Washington Redskins safety Montae Nicholson. That means he’s only getting faster.