'Skins stock up on defensive players

Five of six picks in draft used to fortify unit

Pro football

May 01, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

ASHBURN, Va. -- During the latter portion of the NFL draft that took place yesterday, Washington Redskins head coach and team president Joe Gibbs caught the attention of Al Saunders and jokingly set the bar for the associate head coach in charge of offense.

"I was kidding Al and saying, `Hey, you're going to have to be really good on offense because you're not getting anybody. We're taking all defense,'" Gibbs recounted yesterday.

Indeed, the Redskins filled the defensive cupboard by choosing defensive players with their first four picks and five of six selections.

Washington's defense has been the more consistent unit, finishing the 2004 and 2005 season ranked third and ninth in yards allowed in the league, respectively. But that didn't deter the team from sending three draft choices to the New York Jets on Saturday for the opportunity to move up in the second round and grab linebacker Roger "Rocky" McIntosh from Miami with the 35th overall selection.

The franchise has drafted defensive players with its first pick in the past three years. The team used the fifth overall choice in 2004 on Miami safety Sean Taylor and the ninth overall choice on Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers.

With their fifth-round choice and the 153rd overall yesterday, the Redskins took defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery from Minnesota. Thirty-six slots and a round later, the team drafted safety Reed Doughty out of Division I-AA Northern Colorado.

Later in that round at No. 196, Washington chose defensive tackle Kedric Golston from Georgia. And in the seventh and final round, the club claimed linebacker Kevin Simon out of Tennessee at the 250th slot.

"We tried to say what's best for the football team," Gibbs said. "It wasn't planned by any means. It was just where we thought those players in that round in that position would have the best chance to make the club."

Curiously, however, the club did not select a cornerback to fill out a corps that includes two starters (Shawn Springs and Rogers) who missed a combined total of seven games last season because of injuries and two backups (Kenny Wright and Ade Jimoh) who may have trouble keeping up with the league's top receivers.

"We feel comfortable right now," Gibbs said. "I don't think you ever feel as a coach that you've got everything, but certainly we feel good about where we are right now."

Montgomery, 6 feet 5, 312 pounds, has been noted for his motor and ability to stop the run but has also drawn concern about his athleticism. Golston, 6-4 and 292 pounds, had a knack for getting to the quarterback (44 pressures in his past two seasons), but has been hampered by injuries in two of the past three years.

Doughty, 6-1 and 210 pounds, is a hard-nosed special teams contributor who could become a decent defender in the Redskins' nickel (five defensive backs) package. Simon can add run support or fall back into pass coverage, but at 5-11 and 234 pounds, questions about his durability in the NFL abound.

The team's only prospect on the offensive side of the ball is Arizona guard Kili Lefotu, who was taken with the 230th pick in the seventh round.

Note -- Gibbs said the franchise does not have an interest in inviting former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick as an undrafted rookie to the Redskins' rookie camp this weekend. "I think we're kind of set at quarterback," Gibbs said.edward.lee@baltsun.com

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