HERNDON, Va. -- When William "Refrigerator" Perry showed up to play for the Chicago Bears, Michigan State defensive tackle Bobby Wilson, an avid Bears fan, was overwhelmed.
"He was so big," Wilson said yesterday. "A lot of people told me I looked like him."
Then, Wilson stopped, smiled a gap-toothed smile and said very quickly, "I don't."
Wilson, 23, is the Washington Redskins' No. 1 draft choice, and yesterday he showed he can handle the media. Now, he has to show he can handle the NFL.
Yesterday, he looked like a big kid in a candy shop.
It was his first trip to Washington, D.C., his first trip to Redskins Park and his first in-person meeting with Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
"I don't know any of the players here, but I've seen them play on television," Wilson said. "I'm not saying I play like these guys, but I'd very much like to be like Charles Mann and Wilber Marshall. I've looked at them and admired them for a long time."
At 6 feet 1 1/2 and 276 pounds, Wilson has gotten rave reviews from Michigan State coach George Perles as well as the Redskins' coaching staff. He is expected to challenge 11-year veteran Darryl Grant for the starting position at right tackle.
"Coach Perles called me this morning," said Gibbs. "I didn't have to say much. He talked non-stop for 15 minutes about what a great player we got in Bobby. The main thing he told me was that he couldn't take any credit for the way Bobby chases the football from sideline to sideline. He said Bobby's effort comes naturally."
Wilson, soft-spoken and polite, is the product of a close family. He grew up on the west side of Chicago, an only child who was greatly influenced by his grandfather, now retired from the railroad.
"From the time I was little, my grandfather told me to work for what you want," said Wilson. "I think that's what I really like about football. It's the attitude. You have to work hard to get where you want to go. Life's like that, I think. I like to compete."
Wilson has all the tools to do that. Redskins general manager Charley Casserly said Wilson's three biggest assets are his initial quickness off the ball, his explosiveness and his determined attitude that makes him play hard on every snap.
The Michigan State senior, who still has 15 hours to complete to earn his degree in criminal justice, said he plans to spend the next month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his agent working out in a health club to get ready for the Redskins' "Summer School" camp here June 3 to 14.
Here's a rundown on the rest of the Redskins' draft picks, with comments from Casserly:
* Running back Ricky Ervins, 5-7, 200, Southern Cal: "We didn't draft him to be a third-down back; we see that he could possibly be a starting back in the NFL."
* Tight end Dennis Ransom, 6-3, 248, Texas A&M: "Could develop within a year."
* Wide receiver Keith Cash, 6-4, 214, Texas: "An excellent receiver who is still improving. We're projecting him at the H-back position."
* Cornerback Jimmy Spencer, 5-9, 180, Florida: "Outstanding speed. Believe it or not we clocked him at 4.35 in the 40."
* Cornerback Charles Bell, 5-10, 170, Baylor: "Also has great speed, and gives us something to work with in the future."
* Punter Chris Shale, 6-0, 170, Bowling Green: "Led the nation in punting, while being exposed to bad weather."
* Defensive back David Gulledge, 6-1, 203, Jacksonville State: "Played quarterback at Jacksonville State, but has talent and size and runs 4.55 in the 40. We're projecting him as having a chance at safety."
* Wide receiver Keenan McCardell, 6-1, 185, Nevada-Las Vegas: "Best player left on the board who could make an NFL team. He's a quick and tough guy. Let's see what happens."