Redskins sit tight, snare Auburn pair at corner, QB

Passing on a trade, team picks off Rogers at No. 9

QB Campbell falls to 25th

NFL Draft

April 24, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - For all the speculation about whether the Washington Redskins would trade up or down in the NFL draft, the club decided the best move was not moving at all.

With the ninth overall pick, Washington selected Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers. Sixteen slots later, the organization took Rogers' teammate, quarterback Jason Campbell, to complete its first day of the draft yesterday.

On Tuesday, the Redskins sent their third-round pick (76th overall) in yesterday's draft and their first- and fourth-round choices in next year's draft to the Denver Broncos for the 25th overall selection. That led many to believe that Washington would package both first-round spots to move up and take a shot at landing Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

Instead, coach and team president Joe Gibbs decided to stay put.

"I think we considered everything," he said. "We felt like we could've maybe done that. But when we evaluated everything, we kind of felt like it was best for us to stay where we were."

With the free-agent departure of cornerback Fred Smoot to the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins had targeted a trio of replacements in Miami's Antrel Rolle, West Virginia's Adam Jones and Rogers.

When the Tennessee Titans picked Jones at No. 6 and the Arizona Cardinals selected Rolle at No. 8, that left Washington with little choice but to take Rogers.

"You could say that, but honestly, he was our pick at corner," Gibbs said of the organization's assessment of Rogers. "He's got size, he's got the speed and [he's] also physical. ... Carlos was somebody that we kind of - from the beginning - had a real desire to have on the Redskins."

Rogers, 5 feet 11 and 199 pounds, appeared in 50 games - 44 of which he started - with the Tigers. He left Auburn with the school record for career pass deflections (40) and registered 182 tackles, seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

After a subpar junior season when he accounted for a career-low 29 tackles with nine pass break-ups and an interception, Rogers rebounded last year by allowing quarterbacks to complete just 18 of 65 passes (28 percent) thrown into his territory.

He racked up 47 tackles, 10 deflections and two interceptions en route to earning the Jim Thorpe Award given to the country's top defensive back.

"I really wanted to be there really badly," Rogers said during a conference call, confirming Gibbs' statement that Rogers had called assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams eight times last week. "I loved my visit, I loved the coaches, I loved the mind-set and the atmosphere. ... It's something I really felt comfortable about."

Rogers, who was clocked at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and 4.44 by the Redskins coaches, said he looked forward to playing in Williams' complex defensive schemes.

"I bring my physical play to the game, being able to man and play in different zones and being able to step inside and play nickel," said Rogers, third on the depth chart behind Shawn Springs and Walt Harris. "What I like a lot is being out there on my own where they say, `You've got this guy. Handle him for today.' That's the challenge I'm looking forward to coming to."

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the organization's decision to draft Campbell. Although the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder finished the 2004 season with 2,700 passing yards and 20 touchdowns and the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors, Washington has already tabbed Patrick Ramsey as its starter.

"This doesn't affect Patrick in any way," Gibbs said. "Patrick's our starter. Patrick's the guy we're counting on to take us to the playoffs and championships here."

Gibbs said team officials expected Campbell to be off the board before they picked at No. 25 and could not pass up the chance to take him when he was still available.

"He's very big, and he can see over everything," Gibbs said. "He ran 4.7-something. He's not particularly a runner, but he definitely gets out of the pocket and can make things happen."

Campbell, who will join Ramsey, Mark Brunell and Tim Hasselbeck, said he is not worried about the logjam.

"My main thing is I'm going to come in and learn as much as possible as quickly as I can and just participate every day in practice and work hard," he said. "I feel like I can learn a lot from Patrick and especially Mark Brunell."

Since teams don't carry four quarterbacks, Hasselbeck is a likely candidate to be either traded or released. Gibbs said he plans to sit down with Hasselbeck and discuss his future.

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