Redskins are eager to test 6th sense

April 24, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

HERNDON, Va. -- Bobby Beathard doesn't work here anymore.

That might be the theme of this year's Washington Redskins collegiate draft, which will illustrate that the three-year transition from the Beathard regime to the Charley Casserly regime is complete.

The hallmark of the Beathard drafts was trading away first-round picks. He drafted only three players on the first round in the 1980s as Washington general manager and traded down to get one of them -- Mark May in 1981.

Casserly, who took over from Beathard nearly three years ago, when Beathard quit before moving on to become San Diego Chargers general manager, hoards first-round choices. He not only has this year's first-round pick going into the draft, which opens at 11 a.m. Sunday, but also has said he won't trade the Redskins' 1993 first-round selection during the draft.

On top of that, Washington has the sixth pick in the draft because he traded a second-round choice during last year's draft to Beathard for the Chargers' first-round pick this year. Beathard used that second-round pick to draft offensive lineman Eric Moten.

Beathard has no second thoughts about that deal. "I'd do the same thing again. We're happy we have Moten. He's a heck of a player," Beathard said.

Casserly also likes having the sixth pick, although he won't criticize the way Beathard did things.

"There's no right or wrong way to do things. Obviously, we had tremendous success when Bobby was here," he said.

Explaining why he won't trade first-round choices a year in advance, Casserly said: "We like to have the pick going into training camp, in case you have a problem with an injury and you need to make a trade."

Casserly, though, doesn't mind trading picks once the draft rolls around. He said he'd trade the sixth pick for "an established player who doesn't have a lot of age."

So far, he hasn't been able to make that trade, and said he's likely now to keep the pick.

The three top players -- defensive linemen Steve Emtman of the University of Washington and Sean Gilbert of Pittsburgh, and linebacker Quentin Coryatt of Texas A&M -- figure to be gone before the Redskins make a choice.

The Redskins would be happy if cornerback Troy Vincent of Wisconsin slipped down to them. Since Pro Bowl player Darrell Green is the Redskins' only top-flight cornerback, is unsigned and is likely to hold out this year, Vincent could make an immediate impact.

The other top cornerback in the draft, Terrell Buckley of Florida State, might not last until the sixth spot, but it probably won't make any difference to the Redskins if he does. He's too brash for them.

"Everybody in the world knows I'm the best football player out there," Buckley has said. "I know because I've watched the film. I've seen me, and I've seen the other guys."

Gibbs doesn't like players who make those kinds of comments. He likes his players bland.

When he was asked about Buckley, Gibbs said, "I'm sure he's going to make somebody a great player."

Gibbs admitted the Redskins' list of top players wasn't the same as other teams', and said he tells the scouts "this is the kind of guy who makes it for us."

Even if Washington doesn't get a cornerback, Gibbs said he'll get a good player with the sixth pick.

The players who could be available include wide receiver Desmond Howard of Michigan and offensive lineman Bob Whitfield of Stanford -- who both might get long looks by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth slot -- running back Vaughn Dunbar of Indiana, defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman of Ohio State and tight end Derek Brown of Notre Dame.

"Hey, we're excited about picking in the sixth spot," said Gibbs. "I feel very comfortable."

Because he wants to trade Stan Humphries during the draft, Gibbshas a spot for a young quarterback and likely will select one later in the draft. "We'll never pass a quarterback [if] we think a guy . . . [is] somebody [we] would like," Gibbs said.

Gibbs even ended his news conference quickly yesterday because he was heading to the University of Virginia for a last-minute look at Matt Blundin.

The Redskins don't seem to plan to take David Klingler of Houston on the first round. Casserly ruled him out unless the Redskins decide to take him for a trade.

Among the players the Redskins appear to be eyeing with the 28th and final selection on the first round are linebacker Marco Coleman of Georgia Tech -- who might be grabbed by the Buffalo Bills with the 27th pick -- and tight end Johnny Mitchell of Nebraska.

If the Redskins use the sixth pick, it'll be the highest selection they've made since Gibbs became the head coach in 1981. He said the player they get could be as good as the first pick.

"Knowing human nature, you'll probably find that six will do as well as one. You're picking people, and you know what that is like. When you're picking people, you're right some of the time and wrong a lot of the time," he said.

The Redskins hope they're right Sunday.

NOTES: Gibbs finally made it official that retired OL Russ Grimm has joined the coaching staff, although he's been working as tight ends/H-backs coach for several weeks. "I think he's a good people person. I think he's a very intelligent guy. I think he'll be a good teacher," Gibbs said.

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