Redskins'end run evades Packers

April 27, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

HERNDON, Va. -- The Washington Redskins and Desmond Howard now can compare trophies.

The Redskins became the first Super Bowl champion to draft the Heisman Trophy winner yesterday when they made what coach Joe Gibbs called a "bold move" by making a deal to jump into the fourth spot in the draft.

The Redskins, worried that the Green Bay Packers were going to draft Howard in the fifth spot, leapfrogged above them by dealing their two first-round picks -- sixth and 28th -- and their third-round choice (84th) to the Cincinnati Bengals for their first-round pick (fourth) and their third-round pick (58th).

"Three times in the last eight days, Green Bay told Desmond Howard they were going to take him. That was our best information," general manager Charley Casserly said.

There were rumors the Packers really wanted cornerback Terrell Buckley -- the player they did take -- but teams routinely try to mask their intentions during the draft. It could be the Packers would have been happy with either player, but the Redskins didn't like Buckley. They probably would have taken tight end Derek Brown if they hadn't gotten Howard.

In any case, the Redskins didn't wait to find out if Green Bay was bluffing. Cincinnati -- which wanted quarterback David Klinger and knew it could drop two spots and still take him -- was willing to make a swap, and the Redskins grabbed Howard.

The trade with Cincinnati set a pattern for the Redskins. They also made a swap with the Dallas Cowboys to move up in the second round. The Redskins began with three of the first 56 picks and wound up with three of the first 74. They didn't use their own pick at the end of a round until the fourth, when they selected quarterback Chris Hakel of William and Mary. Hakel is likely to replace Stan Humphries, a player they hope to trade today.

In the second round, the Redskins took defensive lineman Shane Collins of Arizona State, who overcame a serious knee injury last year, and picked offensive guard Paul Siever of Penn State in the third round.

The one need the Redskins didn't address was at defensive back, but Casserly said that offensive players were the highest-rated on the board in the third and fourth rounds.

The Redskins became the first Super Bowl champion to get with the fourth player in the draft, and it was highest the Redskins have drafted since they took Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor -- now a Washington assistant coach -- with the third pick in 1964.

Although the Redskins are deep at wide receiver with Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders, they decided they couldn't pass on Howard.

"When you look at the draft, you're really looking for people who really have no holes. You like to have somebody you really can't find anything wrong with," Gibbs said.

Howard returned a punt and a kickoff 93 yards for touchdowns at Michigan last season. He can make an immediate impact in that department and be used in a four-wide-receiver offense.

It also helps that Howard is a solid-citizen type. That's important to Gibbs, who was turned off by Buckley's saying he was the best player in the draft.

Howard, by contrast, said all the right things after the Redskins selected him.

When he was asked what he could do for the Redskins, he said: "I think it's not what I can add to the team, it's what they can add to me. I think that learning under the veterans will make me a

better receiver."

When asked to pinpoint the highlight of his past season, he didn't mention winning the Heisman Trophy. "I think the biggest highlight will be on May 2 when I graduate from the University of Michigan," he said.

He also said: "I think Coach Gibbs is one of the winningest coaches in football. The opportunity to play under him is a very special opportunity."

The only possible negative to the drafting of Howard is that he automatically will become one of the highest-paid players on the team.

As the sixth player picked in the draft, he's likely to get a contract worth more than $1 million a year. That's not likely to sit well with the veterans.

The last time the Redskins were the defending Super Bowl champions in 1988, they signed Wilber Marshall as a free agent for $1.2 million a year.

Many of the veterans resented his contract, which might have been a factor in the team's 7-9 season.

Gibbs said he can understand the way the veterans feel.

"When you're picked No. 1, you're going to get a lot of money. In a way, when you look at it for a player who's been here 10 or 12 years, that's not fair. That's a fact of life. That's the way the NFL works," he said.

Gibbs said he'll try to "work through these kinds of problems."

"The alternative is not to one pick of these guys. I like this alternative," he said.

Howard has a high-powered agent in Leigh Steinberg and has hired David Falk of Pro Serv, who represents Michael Jordan and Rocket Ismail, to handle his marketing.

Falk said he has a "very formal marketing strategy" and hopes to get Howard more than the $1 million in endorsements that Ismail made last year.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.