Redskins believe Saahdiq Charles can put issues behind him
By Ian Cummings
The Redskins selection of LSU left tackle Saahdiq Charles was met with some tepid hesitation, as Charles had character concerns on the record from his time with the Tigers.
Most spectators were generally happy with the pick, given Charles’ physical talent and positional value, but the character asterisk was something that wouldn’t simply go away. The Washington Redskins will have to work with that, and work toward locking it in the past. But according to reports from the team’s website, they’re optimistic about the chances of that happening.
In an in-depth Redskins.com article by Zach Selby, Charles and various other Redskins officials provided more details on the circumstances surrounding Charles’ character concerns, and the discussions that followed in the wake of those concerns. Central to the piece was Charles’ relationship with his former coach, Ed Orgeron.
“I told Ron, ‘I have no problem with Saahdiq, he came in on a daily basis,'” Orgeron was documented saying in Selby’s piece. “‘He’s a great young man, never gave me problems as far as football-wise and work ethic.'”
Charles mirrored the appreciation toward Orgeron, likening his relationship to the coach to a father-son dynamic, saying: “He always tells me, ‘I love you like one of my sons’. I love him, too.”
Charles thrived in his final season under Orgeron’s coaching, and his film piqued the Redskins’ interest, as he clearly showed the athletic talent necessary to flourish on the line. Kyle Smith explained that, for that reason, they did a great deal of research on Charles, to find out whether they could deal with the off-the-field asterisk. Somewhere along the line, the answer became a resounding “yes”.
In their research, the Redskins talked with Orgeron, who not only said “positive” things about how Charles constructively responded to his off-field issues, but also asserted that Charles might have been a first or second-round pick, had he stayed at school for his final collegiate season.
Orgeron’s input was a pivotal part of Washington’s research, but Ron Rivera said he was “swayed” when Charles himself spoke about wanting to do things the right way when something was taken from him. Charles showed the “want it” to Rivera, which conveyed to the coach that Charles could buy in to the Redskins’ new culture.
Of course, while the Redskins have answers that are satisfactory in the case of Charles, who very well could be their starting left tackle at some point in 2020, Charles says he “never necessarily convinced them”.
“I was just being who I am.”
Perhaps the convincing comes later, when Charles has a chance to hit the field, and enact what was previously only available in words.