With 2 No. 1 picks, future is next year for Redskins Punter, 3 defensive backs among second-day choices

April 23, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- Talk about looking ahead.

Even before the collegiate draft ended yesterday, the Washington Redskins' scouts were looking at film of two players who are projected as first-round choices next year.

That was just one example of how eager the Redskins -- who came out of this year with two No. 1 picks in the 1992 draft -- are to prepare for next year's draft.

The highlight of the Redskins' draft, which was wrapped up yesterday when they drafted seven players, including punter Chris Shale, was trading their second-round pick and a 1992 fifth-rounder to the San Diego Chargers yesterday for a 1992 first-round choice.

"I honestly feel better about it today than yesterday, and I felt good about it yesterday," general manager Charley Casserly said.

"Hey, the first round is exciting. That's a great motivation for the scouts. For years here, we've been going out and scouting a lot of players you could never draft. A couple of the people already pulled some film out on guys we project as 'ones' next year. That's how fired up some people are already. We're excited about it."

Casserly wouldn't identify the players the Redskins looked at, but when he was asked whether Houston quarterback David Klingler was one of them, he said jokingly, "Who? I never heard of him."

Klingler, who flirted with the idea of coming out of college this year but decided to go back to Houston, is projected by some scouts as the first pick in next year's draft.

Meanwhile, Casserly was upbeat about the seven players the Redskins took yesterday, even though it wasn't supposed to be a deep draft.

"I honestly feel better about the second half of the draft than we did a year ago at the same point in time. Time will tell on that," he said.

Explaining the difference, Casserly said, "I had a little better game plan in my own mind. I probably could have done a better job last year. This year, I had a little different plan."

The plan was to draft more than one person at the same position.

Of the seven players, three are defensive backs, including two cornerbacks.

The cornerbacks are Jimmy Spencer of Florida and Charles Bell of Baylor, and the safety is David Gulledge of Jacksonville State, who was a wishbone quarterback in college.

The Redskins also took wide receivers Keith Cash of Texas, who will be tried as an H-back, and Keenan McCardell of UNLV, along with tight end Dennis Ransom of Texas A&M.

Shale, the punter, will challenge veteran Kelly Goodburn in what should be one of the livelier duels in training camp.

Goodburn was a late-season acquisition as a free agent after the team lost confidence in Ralf Mojsiejenko. Although Goodburn's statistics (a gross average of 36.8 yards and a net of 30.7) weren't that impressive, special-teams coach Wayne Sevier said Shale did a lot of position punting and noted that he has never had one blocked.

The Redskins wound up taking nine players in the two days of the draft. They got Bobby Wilson, a defensive lineman from Michigan State, and Ricky Ervins, running back from Southern Cal, in the first and third rounds.

Five of the nine players drafted are defensive players. The Redskins didn't draft any quarterbacks, linebackers, offensive linemen or defensive ends.

Wilson and Ervins visited Redskins Park yesterday to meet with the coaches.

If Ervins becomes a star, he won't have to take time writing a book. He has written his autobiography, about overcoming tough times while growing up in Pasadena, Calif., about two minutes from the Rose Bowl.

He said his mother and two sisters were having problems with drugs -- he said they've since recovered -- and that he moved out at age 14 to live with friends.

"It helped me to mature faster," he said.

Ervins and Wilson will be back the first weekend in May for a mini-camp. Under a new rule the NFL worked out with the colleges, the players won't be allowed to return to Redskins Park after that until June 1. Until this year, the rookies would work out until mid-June with the professional team.

The idea is to make it easier for the players to stay in school, although many of them, including Wilson, have left school.

"This is a real problem," Gibbs said. "They're already out of college, and we can't work with them."

Gibbs' solution is to hold a two-week "summer school" session without pads starting June 3. It will be "voluntary" for the veterans, but they will have to show up unless they have a good excuse.

"If you don't come, we cut you," Gibbs said.

He was supposed to be joking, but nobody is likely to take the "invitation" lightly.

Redskins picks

Fifth round

Traded to the Dallas Cowboys (to move up Sunday in the first round and select Bobby Wilson).

Sixth round

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