Maryland lineman Webster goes to Dolphins in 3rd round

April 27, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

The tremor one may have felt in Harford County yesterday was not from an earthquake. It was from 6-foot-5, 285-pound Larry Webster, Maryland's senior defensive tackle, jumping up and down after he was taken in the third round of the National Football League draft by the Miami Dolphins.

Webster, an Elkton resident, was the 70th player taken in the draft, the 14th in the third round. Mount Airy's Mike Mooney, an offensive tackle from Georgia Tech, was taken late in the fourth round by the Houston Oilers with the 108th pick. Eric Jonassen, a Mount St. Joseph graduate and offensive tackle from Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, was taken by the San Diego Chargers with the last pick on the fifth round (No. 140).

Webster said he was surprised to be taken by the Dolphins, which were not one of about 17 teams that had worked him out.

Webster was expecting to be drafted by the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns or Los Angeles Rams, teams that had seen him more than once.

"I'm excited, very excited," said Webster, a half-hour after he had been contacted by the Dolphins. "I was getting kind of nervous, then I finally got the phone call."

"I had no idea Miami was going to take me, no idea at all," said Webster. "I was definitely in the mind set that only a team that had worked you out would draft you. But this is a good situation for me, an opportunity where I might be able to contribute right away."

If Webster makes the team, he would be the third Maryland player on Miami's roster. Former Terps tight end Ferrell Edmunds and cornerback J.B. Brown start for the Dolphins.

"Maybe that had something to do with it, the success they have BTC had with Maryland players," said Webster. "I don't know if J.B. or Ferrell did any talking for me."

Webster said he spent most of yesterday with friends and family, watching a basketball game and only occasionally tuning into the draft.

Webster said he intentionally ignored the first round because he knew he would not be taken until later. He expected, though, to be taken in the early to middle rounds.

"You get the call, they introduce themselves, and then ask you if you're interested in playing for the Miami Dolphins if they draft you," said Webster. "I said, 'Heck yeah, I'm very interested.' After that phone call, I started getting quite a few others."

Webster is the first Maryland defensive lineman to be drafted since Warren Powers by the Denver Broncos in 1989. Webster started for 3 1/2 seasons at Maryland and last year had 76 tackles.

Mooney, a 6-7, 315-pound left tackle from Georgia Tech, had high hopes of getting drafted the first day. He almost didn't make it. The Oilers didn't notify him of his selection until 8:30 p.m.

"It was getting a little nerve-racking," shouted Mooney by phone, as friends and family poured into his Mount Airy home. "I had just a few close friends over, and I was a little at ease when it started getting late.

"But everything has seemed to work out. Houston is a great team with a great quarterback, and they seem like they're a team on the verge of going to the Super Bowl."

Mooney said 17 teams showed interest in him, especially the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons.

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