Redskins draft tackle after deal with Dallas Penn State's Johnson may replace Lachey

April 21, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins, needing an offensive tackle in case oft-injured Jim Lachey does not return, traded their second- and third-round picks in yesterday's NFL draft for the Dallas Cowboys' first-round choice -- the 30th in the round -- and selected Penn State's Andre Johnson.

The Redskins, who traded their first-round pick (sixth overall) April 8 to the St. Louis Rams for defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, acquired Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 309-pounder, by giving the Cowboys the 37th and 67th picks overall.

With five offensive tackles selected in the first 29 picks, including Jamain Stephens of North Carolina A&T by the Steelers at No. 29, the Redskins felt they had to make a move.

"We wanted to get our player and get it done instead of waiting and hoping," said Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, who has traded with the Cowboys four times on draft day. "He was the last offensive tackle that we had earmarked and one that we would trade up for."

Casserly said he called the Cowboys yesterday, one day after Dallas let it be known that its first-round pick was available.

Lachey, 32, hasn't played a full season since 1991. He tore his right rotator cuff against Denver in the third game of the 1995 season, and the Redskins don't know if he'll play again.

"I don't think anyone is certain that his shoulder is 100 percent and that he can play," Redskins coach Norv Turner said. "I talked to him last week and told him that we've got to prepare for the season thinking the shoulder won't be 100 percent."

Lachey, who has played in three Pro Bowls, has been working out at Redskins Park.

"He's not ready to play today, but he continues to make progress," said Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer. "I think he has a good chance of playing."

Second-year player Joe Patton replaced Lachey last year and the club was pleased with his performance. But the Redskins drafted Patton in 1994 as a guard and feel that is his best position.

Johnson, who was moved from the defensive line to offense prior to his sophomore season, gained fame by neutralizing Illinois' Simeon Rice, the third pick overall yesterday by Arizona, in 1994. Rice had no sacks and no tackles.

"Andre is very big and we think he can be a very good pass protector," said Turner. "Pass protection is one of his strengths."

Johnson's selection marked the third straight year the Redskins have used a high draft choice on an offensive lineman.

Pub Date: 4/21/96

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