The Redskins searched far and wide this offseason, looking for ways to improve a defense that struggled mightily in 2006. In the end, Washington learned a great deal from the closest NFL source, the Baltimore Ravens.
A year ago a rookie safety out of Georgia Tech by the name of Dawan Landry made a real impact in the Baltimore secondary.
Redskins coaches asked a lot of questions about Landry in discussions with the Baltimore staff in the past few months.
They heard good things and filed them away until Saturday when they were on the clock beginning at 1:04 p.m.
In selecting LaRon Landry, the younger brother of the Ravens' Dawan Landry, with the sixth pick in this year's NFL draft, the Redskins have landed arguably the best defensive player available.
"What we learned [from the Ravens]," head coach Joe Gibbs said Saturday, "was a lot of really positive things. We're hoping it's a case of the apple not falling far from the tree."
LaRon wasn't the first defensive player off the draft board. That went to Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams, who went to Tampa Bay with the fourth pick.
But still, many NFL observers say that Landry was the best defensive player available, given to his ability to cover ground, his passion for getting to the ball and his 4.4 speed, exceptional for a safety.
"It's a fresh start for me," the 6-0, 213-pound Landry said. "I really don't know that much about the organization, but I'm anxious to learn."
One thing Landry, the former LSU standout does know, is that the Redskins host Baltimore in an Aug. 25 preseason game, which may give him a chance to put a hit on his older brother--even if only on special teams.
Landry already has that Aug. 25 game circled on his calendar.
"I hope I catch him on special teams," he said.
Speaking from a hotel in New Orleans, Landry said he watched his brother play for the Ravens twice last year, at New Orleans and versus Pittsburgh.
The young man out of Ama, La., grew up as a New Orleans Saints fan but his favorite player was Ronnie Lott, the hard-hitting San Francisco 49ers safety.
That's the NFL star Landry always tries to pattern his game after, and the style of play that he'll try to bring to the Redskins when he's paired with Sean Taylor, perhaps the biggest hitter among all safeties in today's NFL game.
Asked about the pairing, Landry said: "l know I have a whole lot to learn, but, yes, I think I can come in and help this team's defense and become a complement to a guy like Sean.
"Sean's a hard-hitter, a ball hawk. He has a nose for the ball. That's the way I like to play the game, too. My technique needs constant work--that's just how it goes. But along with that I feel as though I bring some skills to a defense.
"I think we'll match up real well. The only thing we have to work on is communication. If we communicate well, then we'll be fine."
In his last college game, versus Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, Landry came up with six tackles and a fourth-quarter interception of Brady Quinn that he returned 32 yards.
In that game, he also chased down Notre Dame's Darius Walker at the end of the tailback's 35-yard gain in the second quarter.
That's the type of overall game that had all NFL teams interested in Landry and the type of game that had the Redskins asking questions up in Baltimore.