Two local football players are trying to get a jump on their professional careers with the help of a former Washington Redskins general manager.
Charley Casserly’s Draft Special, a 30-minute show debuting at 6 p.m. on April 16 on NBC Sports Washington, will feature the former NFL executive turned TV analyst working out Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore and Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta inside Cole Field House, the expansive state-of-the-art practice facility on the College Park campus.
Moore, the 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year, is projected to be a first- or second-round pick later this month, while draft analysts expect Lauletta to hear his name called between Rounds 3-5.
The special begins with players taking part in drills that closely mimic NFL workouts, followed by a film study session between Casserly and Moore and Lauretta drawing plays on a dry-erase board and conducting a mock GM-style interview with Casserly.
For NBC Sports Washington, it’s an opportunity to prepare NFL draft preview content that centers on Casserly’s unique energy, enthusiasm and extensive football knowledge. For Moore, Lauletta, and the players that came before them, it’s a window into the process of becoming professionals.
“It’s awesome,” Lauletta said of spending time with Casserly, who also was the general manager for the Houston Texans from 2002-06. “Obviously, his reputation in the football community and his rich football background… I’ve seen him on TV a million times and to get a guy like that, just to be around him is a pretty neat experience. He’s been doing this a long time so I respect the heck out of him.”
This is the third straight year the network has featured a draft special involving local NFL prospects. Former Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, who went to high school in Ashburn, sat down with Casserly just weeks before he was selected 17th overall by the Washington Redskins last year. Hyattsville native and Boston College alum John Johnson, now a safety for the Los Angeles Rams, also was included in the 2017 show. Current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a D.C. native and Maryland alum, was featured in 2016.
While working out Moore and Lauletta, Casserly dishes out constructive criticism and animated praise with every pass thrown and route run. Dividing his attention between both players, Casserly at one point explains to the 6-foot, 210-pound receiver that he’ll face a lot of press coverage in the NFL, noting the prowess of one defensive back in particular. “Richard Sherman is the best press technician,” Casserly says of the star cornerback, who signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason after spending seven years in Seattle.
Later, Casserly works on perfecting a timing route with Lauletta, who is alternating throwing deep to Maryland receiver Taivon Jacobs and longtime friend and Delaware receiver Diante Cherry. After a couple of errant throws, and a little instruction from Casserly, Lauletta launches multiple passes toward the end zone, directly on point to his speedy targets.
“That’s perfect!” Casserly cries.
The workout eventually gives way to a one-on-one sit down with Moore and Casserly, who offers specific feedback on the receiver’s technique.
“In the league, they’re going to press hard,” Moore said, relaying some of Casserly’s advice. “You’ve got to be ready, have your hands ready, be quick, be violent with your hands. The whole nine yards. It’s just good insight on what’s to come in the NFL, because he was a GM so he knows the background on everything that’s about to go down.
More from The Post:
Derwin James wouldn’t fill a need for Redskins, but he’d be a tempting pick at No. 13
NFL draft analysis is a cottage industry — and everyone wants to join the neighborhood
Injury put Nick Chubb under the radar, but he could be a gem in the NFL draft
Redskins need a running back — and this NFL draft offers plenty of options