Redskins got their 1st choice in trade with Rams

April 14, 1996|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

The Washington Redskins say they got a jump on the college draft this year.

By trading their first-round pick -- the sixth in the draft -- to the St. Louis Rams for defensive lineman Sean Gilbert last week, the Redskins say they got a better player than any collegian they could have drafted at that spot.

"This is the quickest way we can win this year," said general manager Charley Casserly. "There clearly was not a better college defensive player that we could have drafted to get better. Sean's already acknowledged to be one of the best defensive tackles in the game."

Even though Gilbert has had injury problems at times and isn't always noted for playing with intensity, Casserly compared his addition to the trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for Dave Butz in 1975.

Gilbert will move into the starting lineup at defensive tackle alongside Marc Boutte -- another former Ram -- in an attempt to bolster a defense that was 29th against the rush last year.

Gilbert is in the last year of his contract, but the Redskins can put a franchise tag on him if they can't agree to a new deal. If they don't franchise him or re-sign him, they get a fourth-round pick back from the Rams.

Even though he won't have a first-round pick, Casserly still says he can find a good player on the second round.

"It's probably a two-round draft," Casserly said. "I think everybody can feel pretty good about their first two picks."

The Redskins will be watching for a defensive end, tight end or an offensive lineman, but could select a wide receiver on the second round. They took receiver Michael Westbrook in the first round last year, but because Henry Ellard is 34, they have to start grooming another receiver and this year's draft is deep at the position.

Even though the Redskins have had three straight losing seasons, their starting lineup is virtually set. None of their picks figures to break into the starting lineup.

The Redskins have seven picks, including two in the seventh round.

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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