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In Draft, Team May Opt For 'Best Athlete'

After a whirlwind of activity during free agency, the Redskins' approach to the April 29-30 NFL Draft is markedly different. Head coach Joe Gibbs said on Monday that team officials do not feel any pressure to add a rookie at a particular position in the draft.

The Redskins do not have a first-round pick in the draft. The team's first pick is in the second round, at No. 53 overall.

"We feel pretty comfortable with our team and we don't feel any pressure to take any player at a particular spot right now," Gibbs said. "I think we can be kind of comfortable at 53 taking the best athlete. There are probably a couple of spots that we would be reluctant to take--wide receiver being one of them, as an example."

Gibbs said the team would consider drafting a weak-side linebacker, but that it wasn't necessarily a priority.

Weak-side linebacker is perhaps the only spot on the team that is somewhat unsettled at this point of the offseason.

LaVar Arrington, last year's starter, has signed with the New York Giants. The team re-signed veteran Warrick Holdman, who started seven games last year before yielding to LaVar Arrington, and has a host of young players led by Chris Clemons expected to compete for a starting job.

"Where we're situated in the draft right now with the 53rd pick, we don't feel like, after signing Warrick, we have to do something at linebacker," Gibbs said. "Certainly it would be a consideration. We know that at 53, we'll have to calculate who we think will be there.

"We don't feel like we particularly have to do something at any position--that's why we worked so hard in free agency. We'll see how it plays out."

The Redskins could seek to add depth at any number of positions, including cornerback, defensive line, tight end or offensive line.

Regarding the No. 53 selection, Gibbs has said that the team is keeping its options open as to the possibility of a trade.

Gibbs reiterated those sentiments on Monday and added that the Redskins have already had preliminary discussions with other teams about trades.

"I think you could always do [a trade]," Gibbs said. "It's just a matter of, when you get through all of your calculations, do you feel like it would be smart for us to do it? Obviously, it would depend on what kind of deals are out there.

"We've had teams talk to us about it already. It's something that remains a possibility, but right now we don't have anything that we're talking seriously about right now."

Asked about the NFL prospects of former George Mason basketball player Jai Lewis, Gibbs replied: "I think you just cover all of your bases on that. We did get a report on him and we factor that in. I think the coaches who have looked at him all feel like he's one of the guys who could play tight end in the NFL. I'm sure he's going to get consideration."

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