Call it "The Long Wait for Dessert."
The Redskins won't make their first selection in the NFL Draft until Saturday evening. By that time, team officials will have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner--and a lot of prospects will have come off the draft board.
During an NFL Draft media briefing on Friday morning, vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato joked about looking forward to dessert on Saturday evening.
Head coach Joe Gibbs commented it would be fun to see how other NFL teams approach the draft--but he added with a chuckle that it won't be so much fun to see coveted players go to other cities around the league.
All kidding aside, the Redskins are viewing the No. 53 pick as a player who could make an impact on the team next season.
"When you are picking at 53, it is hard because there are 52 picks in front of you and a lot of teams are picking twice," Cerrato said. "You will have a better feel what is going to be at 53 once you get through the first round because we put down everyone's needs so once they draft in the first round you can focus in on what is going to happen in the second."
Added Gibbs: "Obviously at 53, you can't chart what is going to happen. There is going to be a lot going on. We tried to position ourselves so we are in good position to pick what falls to us. We think we know what is going to be there, so you don't rule anything out at this point. We are set to do whatever we have to do to try and help the football team."
Cerrato said he sees a draft with good depth at the cornerback and tight end position. The running back and linebacker positions are top-heavy, he added.
"If you are picking between the 25th pick and into the second round, I think it's a good draft," Cerrato said.
What about a trade? Gibbs has said the team is keeping its options open and a trade up or trade down remains on the table.
"I would never rule out us trying to do something," he said. "We are a team that is more aggressive and willing to do some things if we think the right player is there--or if we think we could get in position to pick from a group of players that we really like."
If Saturday is a "Long Wait for Dessert," then Sunday promises to be a feast.
The Redskins have a bevy of picks on day two of the NFL Draft. Starting at No. 153, midway through the fifth round, the team holds six of the next 98 picks.
While those six picks will likely be developmental players or backups, the Redskins are putting a lot of emphasis on uncovering a hidden gem in the late rounds.
Gibbs mentioned Redskins great Brian Mitchell and a pair of tight ends/H-backs in Terry Orr and Clint Didier who forged successful careers as late-round draft picks.
Said Gibbs: ""I can promise you that we can get some great players coming out of this draft that are going to be selected in the fifth round or later. To me, it's an exciting process. It can kind of change the whole complexion of your team. Those players will be here for a while and they'll have a low cap number. That's where the home runs are."
"We've put an emphasis on the second day. I said, 'Let's do our homework and make sure that we're ready to go.' We think we'll find some players down there who can really help us. There will be some guys that fit what we really want."
After the draft is over, team officials will continue working into Sunday night to sign undrafted rookie free agents. The Redskins could add as many as 11 undrafted rookies after the draft. Scouts have compiled a list of college prospects that are under the radar and will likely go undrafted this weekend.
No detail has been ignored. On Friday morning, Gibbs ordered that phone numbers of the draft-eligible players and their agents be double-checked for accuracy.
"We'll be right on the phone afterwards, and we'll be trying to go through the agent and the player trying to persuade him to come play for us," Gibbs said. "That's a big part of the process, too. When you think about adding that number of players, with seven draft choices and a group of undrafted guys, it's an exciting time."
Here's a complete list of the Redskins' draft selections on April 29-30:
|REDSKINS 2006 NFL DRAFT|
|6||173||Acquired from Jets in '06 Patrick Ramsey trade|
|6||196||Acquired from Panthers in '05 Rod Gardner trade|