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newschannel8.net: Draft is Anticlimactic for 'Comfortable' Redskins

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Old 04-26-2006, 10:34 PM   #1
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newschannel8.net: Draft is Anticlimactic for 'Comfortable' Redskins

http://www.newschannel8.net/news/sto...06/322518.html

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - For once, the Washington Redskins don't mind being last.

The Redskins are scheduled to be the final team to get going Saturday in the NFL draft. They don't have a selection until the No. 53 spot late in Round 2 and then can sit quiet until Round 5, a bare cupboard resulting from an aggressive player acquisition strategy that has the team already well stocked for the 2006 season.

"We feel pretty comfortable as a team," coach Joe Gibbs said. "I don't think we're under pressure to take any one particular spot, to be truthful, right now. I think we can be pretty comfortable at 53, just taking the best athlete."

While this isn't exactly a repeat of the days of George Allen, the coach in the 1970s who would trade virtually his entire slate of draft picks for veterans, Gibbs and owner Dan Snyder have shown they prefer proven players over college hopefuls. The Redskins have taken three players on the opening day of the draft just three times in the last 10 years.

Thus, they've spent the last two months addressing their major needs. They needed receivers, so they traded draft picks to San Francisco for Brandon Lloyd and signed free agent Antwaan Randle El. They needed a pass-rusher, a safety and a tight end, so they signed free agents Andre Carter, Adam Archuleta and Christian Fauria.

If there's one position where Gibbs could use some fresh competition, it's weakside linebacker. LaVar Arrington left as a free agent, leaving Chris Clemons and Warrick Holdman to contend for the spot.

The Redskins catch a break there because linebacker is considered a deep position in this draft, so a decent prospect such as Rocky McIntosh from the University of Miami should still be available at No. 53.

What about moving up? The Redskins did it last year, when they gave up this year's first- and fourth-round picks to maneuver into position to take quarterback Jason Campbell in the first round.

Such a big leap into the first round is unlikely this year, however. The team is running out of picks to trade.

"There's no serious considerations for doing that," Gibbs said. "But I don't think you ever rule it out."

Besides, a high pick would drain what little salary cap space the Redskins have remaining.

But the team does have one pick in the fifth round, three in the sixth round and two in the seventh, and some of them could be packaged to move up a few spots from No. 53 to get a targeted linebacker. Gibbs said he's already heard from teams wanting to know if he's willing to wheel & deal.

Assuming they aren't all traded away, Gibbs plans to use the lower picks to add depth. The team could use more offensive lineman, defensive backs and another tight end.

"That's very important for us," Gibbs said. "We need to hit some of those guys. We put a lot of emphasis on who will still be there at (Rounds) 5, 6 and 7."


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