HUNTINGTON — Former Marshall defensive lineman Ryan Bee admits that he was reluctant before his junior season when Marshall defensive tackles coach J.C. Price wanted to switch him to the interior of the Thundering Herd defensive front.
However, after receiving a call from the Washington Redskins to sign as an undrafted free agent last week, Bee said he intends to thank Price for a move that possibly changed his future within the sport.
“I told their D-line coach, I’ll play anywhere,” Bee said. “I played every position throughout college, which honestly at first when I started doing that, I wasn’t happy about, but I’ve got to thank Coach Price because it set me up for my future and makes me a better player.”
Washington’s defensive line coach is Jim Tomsula, who was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 season.
During the seventh round of last week’s NFL Draft, Tomsula called Bee with an opportunity that he had dreamed of since taking the field at Hillsdale High School in Jeromesville, Ohio. That opportunity was one to play in the NFL.
“It’s just pure excitement,” Bee said. “At the beginning of the seventh round, I got a text from my agent that said we had an offer on the table from the Redskins as a UDFA. Right after that, [Tomsula] called me and said he thought I would fit in well with their defense — their 3-4 up there.”
Following the draft and UDFA signings, one website that follows the Redskins — RiggosRag.com — named Bee as the No. 1 UDFA that could make the final roster.
“If there’s one thing that you want to look for in an undrafted free agent, it’s potential,” writer Jacob Camenker said. “And boy, does Ryan Bee have that.”
Camenker noted that Bee will have to add weight to his 280-pound frame for the 5-technique position. The 5-technique refers to when an end lines up on the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle.
However, Bee’s versatility serves him well because of his ability to play in multiple looks under Tomsula.
“He will have to bulk up a bit and add 15 to 20 pounds to his frame, but if he can do that, he will have better than prototypical size for the 5-technique position in a 3-4 defense,” Camenker added. “Even better, he’ll have a chance to be a versatile piece across various defensive fronts, and he should have the ability to play 4-3 end or 4-3 tackle if he can add bulk and continue to showcase pass rushing ability.”
Bee, whose contract is a three-year deal worth $1.755 million, saw the piece mentioning his name and was flattered, but said he knows there are no guarantees and that he must prove his worth daily.
“To read stuff like that is good, but that’s just writing,” Bee said. “No matter what it says, I’m still going to have to go prove myself and earn my spot. My mentality going into mini-camp and OTAs [organized team activities] is to work hard and earn a spot. It’s a different world up there [in the NFL]. You sign today and can get cut tomorrow. You’ve always got to work hard and never settle for anything or be comfortable. Everybody is trying to take your spot, so you’ve got to compete every day.”
Rookie mini-camp for the Redskins starts on May 10, and Bee is excited to know at least one person up there — that being former West Virginia University fullback and Spring Valley standout Elijah Wellman.
Wellman was one of the first guys that Bee contacted once he accepted the Redskins’ offer.
“After I committed to the Redskins, I texted him and he called me and said, ‘No way!’” Bee said. “He was all excited and I’m excited, too, because I’m going to a completely new city, but at least I’ll know someone. I’m definitely pumped for that.”
There is another aspect that brings excitement for Bee as he prepares for his future with the Redskins.
Should he stay with the team throughout the offseason and make it to the first preseason game, his debut with the team would be an Aug. 8 preseason road game against the Cleveland Browns, which would be played an hour from his hometown.
“That’s just crazy to think of, man,” Bee said. “It would be a dream come true.”