The Washington Football Team made their most intriguing NFL Draft selection by picking the most unorthodox of players.
Late in the afternoon on Saturday, the Washington Football Team made an intra-division trade, sending its 2022 fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2021 sixth (pick #225) and seventh (pick #240). The trade got Washington back into the sixth round and gave the team three seventh-round picks.
With that sixth round pick, the Washington Football Team selected a dedicated long snapper for the first time in franchise history, selecting Michigan graduate Camaron Cheeseman. Cheeseman was the second long snapper taken in the sixth round, with Alabama long snapper Thomas Fletcher going to the Carolina Panthers three picks earlier. It is believed to be the first time two dedicated long snappers have been drafted in the same draft.
Long snapper was a position of need for the Washington Football Team. Long-time long snapper Nick Sundberg’s contract was not extended this offseason. Sundberg was the longest-tenured member of the Washington Football Team, having initially signed a futures contract with the franchise in 2010. Sundberg played 152 games in his career, including all16 games in three of the last four seasons. In the last few seasons, Sundberg helped punter Tress Way earn a Second-Team All Pro selection in 2019.
Off the field, Cheeseman has big shoes to fill. Sundberg was popular amongst Washington’s fans and heavily involved in the D.C. community through his charity, Loads of Love. For his charitable efforts, Sundberg was twice nominated by the team for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Cheeseman appears ready to embrace the fan-favorite role that Sundberg held. Helped by his unique last name, Cheeseman’s draft selection got significant buzz on social media, with the official Washington Football Team Twitter account calling the long snapper “a Muenster addition.” Cheeseman embraces discussion of his name, telling ESPN that his first name, Camaron, translates to “shrimp” in Spanish.
“It’s like Shrimp Cheeseman is my name,” Cheeseman told ESPN.
Apart from his unique name, Cheeseman has a unique career path. A biology, health and society major at Michigan, Cheeseman tested in the 93rd percentile on the Dental Admission Test and was accepted to dental school at Michigan and Ohio State. ESPN’s profile on Cheeseman mentioned that the three-year letterman co-authored “the first significant article” on the carriere appliance, which helps fix underbites. Cheeseman told reporters after the draft that he dreamed of playing pro football and of a career in dentistry as a kid and planned to attend dental school if he did not garner interest from the NFL.
If Sundberg’s tenure is any indication, then Cheeseman’s dental dreams will have to remain on hold for the long term. Cheeseman had an impressive career at Michigan, playing 39 games in Ann Arbor over three seasons, earning Special Teams Player of the Week Honors in August of 2019. Additionally, Cheeseman is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2019. In the 2020 Citrus Bowl, Cheeseman recorded one assisted tackle against Alabama. Cheeseman chose to opt out for the 2020 season after being informed by Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh that there was not a scholarship available for him.
Cheeseman has the physical traits to be a successful long snapper in the NFL. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Cheeseman has the build to hold his own in the trenches on Sundays. A gifted athlete who also lettered in baseball, Cheeseman has graded among the most athletic in recent history at his position. While any sixth-round pick is essentially a dart throw, Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team brass traded up for Cheeseman for a reason.
For the Washington Football Team, the price paid to trade up to get Camaron Cheeseman is minimal. If this pick pans out, then Washington has its Nick Sundberg replacement and a set-and-forget starter at long snapper. Additionally, fans have a unique personality to cheer for and what is sure to be one of the most popular long snapper jerseys ever offered. All in all, fans should be intrigued by Washington’s latest addition at long snapper and optimistic at the talent Cheeseman brings.