Redskins' picks center on Michigan Wolverines' Elliott is draft's last pick

April 28, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

HERNDON, Va. -- The Washington Redskins will remember this as their Michigan draft.

They started it Sunday by taking Desmond Howard, the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Michigan, with the fourth pick Sunday and ended it yesterday when they took the Michigan center, Matt Elliott, with the 336th and final pick of the 12-round draft.

Being the final choice means Elliott now gets honored as Mr. Irrelevant and will get a trip to Newport Beach, Calif., June 26-July 2, as part of the 17th annual Irrelevant Week.

It wasn't just a coincidence that the Redskins gave Elliott that honor. The fact that he was from Michigan influenced their decision.

As general manager Charley Casserly explained it with a smile, "We wanted to take a center in the draft so we took Matt. What we have here is Desmond was taken in the first round. Desmond won the Heisman Trophy. Desmond had the big press conference yesterday so we decided to make sure that Matt wasn't slighted, to make sure his teammate didn't get all the honor there.

"Now Matt has the honor of being the last player drafted and with that goes a ceremony and a vacation and Matt can show Desmond all his awards, too."

The Redskins had Elliott targeted for their final pick all day, but he didn't know that and was getting depressed that he was getting bypassed.

"It was getting tense around the Elliott household," he said.

But once the Redskins called and he heard about Irrelevant Week -- he had never heard of it before -- he was thrilled and his phone was ringing off the hook.

"I'm elated to be playing for the world champions. I guess being the last guy picked is almost as much exposure [as the first guy]," he said.

Although he was disappointed he didn't go higher, he said, "Just going [getting picked] at all is a dream come true. Beggars can't be choosers."

As far as the Irrelevant Week festivities, he said, "It just sounds completely overwhelming."

Elliott is a long shot to make the team, but he is a long snapper and can be a backup center, so he has a shot.

Elliott was one of the seven long shots the Redskins drafted yesterday.

The other six were tight end Ray Rowe of San Diego State, cornerback Calvin Holmes of USC, offensive lineman Darryl Moore of UTEP, linebackers Boone Powell of Texas and Tony Barker of Rice and wide receiver Terry Smith of Penn State.

The Redskins have a history of long shots making it, and one of them -- Rowe -- will certainly get a close look from Gibbs.

"We thought he was going two rounds about that [sixth]. He's a San Diego State tight end. Now. Let's face it. Hard to get any better than that. We definitely want to keep one of those around all the time," he said.

When a reporter thought he was referring to Don Warren, Gibbs said jokingly, "I was talking about me. Did you miss that one? I don't care about Donnie. Let's get down to the real players."

Gibbs was a tight end at San Diego State.

The other significant aspect of their draft was their failure to trade quarterback Stan Humphries yesterday. That creates a sticky situation because they've already drafted his replacement, Chris Hakel, and both sides want to make a move.

Humphries has sold his house in Virginia and has moved back to his home in Louisiana as he waits for a trade because Gibbs has made it obvious he no longer wants him.

The problem is the Redskins don't want to give him away, but there's not much of a market for him because opposing teams know the Redskins don't want him.

General manager Bobby Beathard of the San Diego Chargers, former Redskins general manager, was willing to trade for him, but wouldn't go above a fifth-round pick. Beathard charged the Redskins didn't want to deal with him.

"It's kind of a game they played. I think the problem is . . . they don't want to trade us somebody. For some reason that bothers them," Beathard said.

Gibbs responded the problem is the offer, not the team. "We're haggling over value. They don't want to give you anything for a quarterback who's played and got talent," he said.

Although Gibbs said the Redskins can wait for a better offer, time is running out for them because one way or the other, Humphries is on his way off the team.

Redskins late-round picks

* Ray Rowe, TE, San Diego State, 6-2, 247 (sixth round) -- A three-year starter, he caught 50 passes in his career for 621 yards. He was the offensive captain in his senior year. He's not fast and is not noted for good work habits, but he's a capable blocker, and the Redskins always have room for tight ends who can block.

* Calvin Holmes, CB, USC, 5-8, 183 (seventh round) -- A college sprinter, he started his career on offense as a tailback and flanker before switching to cornerback in his junior season. He needs to develop, but the Redskins have a shortage of cornerbacks, and he might have a shot because of his speed.

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