Chase Roullier was drafted in the second-to-last round on the last day of the NFL Draft on Saturday, but at least he knows he’s going to a team that wants him.
The former Wyoming offensive lineman was selected 199th overall by Washington, which traded to the spot ahead of Tennessee to snag Roullier with the 15th pick of the sixth round.
“Obviously it’s a great sign that I’m going to a team that wanted me enough that they had to make a trade to get there,” said Roullier, the second Cowboy drafted Saturday after running back Brian Hill (fifth round, Atlanta). “Just knowing that they had to do that is obviously a good feeling. I know sometimes teams kind of pick players that they don’t necessarily want. That’s kind of how it ends up happening sometimes. And having an opportunity to go to a team that clearly wanted me so much obviously will be a great situation for me to go into.”
Roullier visited Washington two weeks ago and had also worked out for the Titans. When Roullier was off the board, the Titans moved back, seemingly indicating that he would have gone there if not for the Washington trade.
Still, being the 199th pick of the draft — the same pick with which five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady was drafted in 2000 — comes with its fair share of waiting.
“Obviously it would’ve been great to go higher, but I’m just very excited to be where I’m at,” said Roullier, the fifth center picked in the draft. “It doesn’t really matter ultimately, and I was just happy to hear my name called. Obviously it is kind of a tough thing to wait that long for three days, but sixth round is great to me. Doesn’t really matter.”
He was watching the draft at home in Minnesota with his family and girlfriend when he got the call from Washington head coach Jay Gruden.
“It’s been a long few days,” Roullier said. “We’ve been sitting in front of the TV a lot, just waiting, but it’s nice for it to finally be over, and I can relax and just take a nice deep breath.”
Roullier got the call about a minute before his name popped up on the screen, he said.
“It was a pretty brief conversation,” Roullier said. “He just explained that he’s excited for me to come there, and he’s excited to see what I can do, as am I.”
Roullier started every game at center for Wyoming in 2016 after moving from left guard. He blocked for the country’s fourth-leading rusher in Brian Hill and the Mountain West’s leader in passing touchdowns in quarterback Josh Allen. Roullier was the lone senior lineman on a Wyoming offense that scored more points than any other Mountain West team in conference play.
Roullier was named a second-team all-American by USA Today and earned first-team all-Mountain West honors. Per Pro Football Focus, he allowed just six pressures as a junior left guard and eight as a senior center. He started every game for Wyoming his last three seasons and three games as a freshman.
Based on his visit with Washington, he said, Roullier expects to be used more as a center.
“But most teams were thinking of me as a versatile guy that can play all three of those positions,” Roullier said. “Ultimately that’s what I’ll be, maybe with a little bit more emphasis on center, but I have to be ready to go at all three of those interior positions.”
For the second time in four years, two Wyoming players were taken in the draft. In 2014, Marqueston Huff (fourth round, Tennessee) and Robert Herron (sixth round, Tampa Bay) were selected. Roullier is the first Wyoming offensive lineman drafted since Steve Scifres (third round, Dallas) in 1997.
Roullier and Hill both participated in the NFL Combine, and Roullier also participated in the East-West Shrine Game.
“It was very exciting to see Brian go,” Roullier said. “Obviously, I’m rooting for the rest of the guys, too, as we wrap up the draft as well, but it’s obviously a very cool thing to see Brian go before me. I hope he has a great, long career there in Atlanta. I’ll be cheering for him, and I’m very excited for him.”
Roullier is the first Wyoming player drafted by Washington since center Frank Radella (25th round, 292nd overall) in 1955. Washington also picked Wyoming back Dick Campbell (13th round, 149th overall) in 1951.
Washington (8-7-1 in 2016) was the home of the famed “Hogs” offensive line in the ‘80s under head coach Joe Gibbs.
“Obviously, it’s something as an offensive lineman that you kind of know about,” Roullier said. “I’m becoming a member of ‘The Hogs,’ as they were called. So it’s obviously a very exciting thing. Going into a historic team like I am is obviously an honor, and I’m very excited to get to work.”