Redskins surprise with their non-choices

Team passes on selecting receiver, defensive end

Football

April 25, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - The Washington Redskins wrapped up the 2005 NFL draft with a cornerback they sorely needed, a quarterback who might be the starter of the future, and depth at fullback and linebacker.

But the club might have made its biggest news of the weekend when it did not draft a play-making wide receiver or a pass-rushing defensive end.

Cornerback, wide receiver and defensive end were believed to be the greatest needs for the team, which filled the void at cornerback by taking Auburn's Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick.

Team president and coach Joe Gibbs elected to grab Rogers over Southern California receiver Mike Williams, who was taken by the Detroit Lions with the 10th overall choice.

The Redskins had five more picks in which to land a receiver who might have competed with Santana Moss and David Patten for one of the two starting roles.

Washington picked Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell with the No. 25 overall pick.

Moss and Patten have the speed to give Washington's offense the deep threat it lacked last season, but both are 5 feet 10 and neither is considered a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver.

To complicate matters, Moss, who was acquired from the New York Jets for the disgruntled Laveranues Coles, has skipped a series of voluntary workouts because he wants a new long-term contract.

Still, Patten, Taylor Jacobs and James Thrash have been working out diligently with starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey, and Gibbs said he isn't too worried.

"You always look at what you have there and say, `Are you comfortable or not comfortable?' " Gibbs said. "Would we have taken a receiver? Yup. But we were pretty comfortable with our group."

Half of the third-ranked defense's 40 sacks last season were recorded by the linebackers and secondary. But Gibbs said the few defensive linemen team officials were excited about in this year's draft were off the board when it was the Redskins' turn to pick.

After failing to make a move in the draft Saturday, the Redskins finally found a willing trade partner in the Minnesota Vikings, who swapped their fourth- (120th overall) and fifth-round (154th overall) picks for Washington's fourth-round (112th overall) slot.

The Redskins used the 120th selection to draft UCLA fullback Manuel White Jr., a 6-2, 244-pound player who finished with 1,814 career rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.

White, who Gibbs said ran 4.67 seconds in the 40-yard dash, tore the meniscus in his right knee at the Senior Bowl, but that injury did not discourage Gibbs.

With the 154th choice, Washington took Louisville's Robert McCune. The 6-0, 245-pound middle linebacker led the Cardinals in tackles the past two seasons but is starting his pro career at the age of 26 after serving three years in the Army following graduation from high school in Alabama.

At No. 183 in the sixth round, the Redskins took Stanford outside linebacker Jared Newberry (6-1, 234 pounds), who could provide some insurance for LaVar Arrington, who continues to recover slowly from knee surgery.

Washington completed its draft by selecting fullback Nehemiah Broughton of The Citadel with the 222nd overall pick in the seventh round.

"We feel we accomplished a lot in the draft," Gibbs said, adding that the team will invite its rookie draft picks and undrafted rookies to a mini-camp at Redskins Park this weekend. "We felt like we got a lot out of it, and hopefully, we got some excellent Redskins."

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