- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2018

RICHMOND — As Derrius Guice received the training camp handoff from Alex Smith, Tim Settle burst through the line of scrimmage — using all of his 6-foot-3, 328-pound frame to force the rookie running back into a swarm of bodies short of the goal line.

The play was trademark Settle, who moves with surprising speed and can influence an opponents’ run game, even if he’s not the one to make the final tackle.

Settle is part of Washington’s new-look defensive line — one that is attempting to shore up last year’s leaky run defense that finished dead last in rushing yards allowed per game. In drafting Settle in the fifth round, the Redskins hope the Virginia Tech product distinguishes himself as a disruptive nose tackle, especially in short-yardage situations.

It’s clear from Washington’s goal-line drills on Saturday that Settle is an imposing presence.

“He’s definitely a big bowling ball,” said cornerback Adonis Alexander, who also played with Settle in college. “He’s gonna mess up a lot of stuff. I know at his position, he don’t always gotta make the tackle.”

In addition to Settle, Washington drafted Daron Payne in the first round, and the Alabama defensive lineman should make an immediate impact for the defense. Last year, the Redskins selected Jonathan Allen with their first pick and took Matt Ioannidis in 2016.

In order to make the 53-man squad, Settle will have to stand out from the crowd.

“It’s all healthy competition,” Allen said. 

But with Payne sidelined with a sprained ankle, Settle rotated between first and second team reps Saturday, making the most of the No. 1 pick’s absence.

During another moment Saturday, he occupied two blockers, allowing linebacker Vontae Diggs to shoot the gap and tackle running back Samaje Perine for no gain.

“That’s [what] my big thing is, to get up north and cause havoc and just try to slow the play down,” Settle said. 

Alexander said he has seen Settle mature and pick up new pass-rushing techniques since camp began. Alexander added Settle looks slimmer and faster, with deceptive speed for his size and position.

Settle recorded 36 tackles and four sacks at Virginia Tech last year. With the Redskins, Settle hopes to help a unit that gave up 4.5 yards per carry in 2017, fourth-most in the league.

Settle said he knows he needs to consistently get off the snap with a burst.

Coach Jay Gruden agrees.

“Now it’s a matter of him being consistent, putting days back to back together, and getting into games and producing in the games and being in the right spot,” Gruden said.

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