The Redskins added Louisville linebacker Robert McCune to the mix in the fifth round of the NFL Draft Sunday. Because Antonio Pierce departed in free agency and Mike Barrow battled through an injury-plagued 2004 season, McCune was an attractive option.
"Obviously, a spot on our football team where somebody can make our team is middle linebacker," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "I really trust [linebackers coach] Dale Lindsey's judgment on linebackers. He had Robert much higher in the draft, and we thought he was going to go much higher. So I feel good about that."
McCune was a first team All-Conference USA selection as a senior last season and led the Cardinals with 115 tackles. He was also named Louisville's special teams player of the year in 2001.
McCune lettered in football only twice at LeFlore High School in Mobile, Ala. Following his high school graduation, he joined the Army National Guard and spent six months in Korea and six months in Kuwait.
When he completed his service, he returned to the states in 2000 and walked on to Louisville's football team at the age of 21.
"I think a lot of people probably backed off of him because of age, starting his career at 26," Gibbs said. "For us, it was someone that we felt like was really a value."
In an exclusive interview with Redskins.com, McCune said he is still learning the finer points of the game, but is excited to play with Pro Bowlers LaVar Arrington and Marcus Washington.
"Watching those guys play, I'm going to learn from them, take advice from them, and try to play great football with them," McCune said.
Gibbs updated Barrow's status, saying that he is scheduled to have an MRI on May 6 due to lingering knee tendonitis. If all goes well in his recovery, it would be a significant step toward his return to the field.
"Then it will be a process of him going through running and exercising and working out for the trainers," Gibbs said. "They have to go through a whole process there before he's cleared to play football.
Gibbs said that Lemar Marshall is another player who is adjusting to the middle linebacker position this season. Marshall filled in admirably for Arrington at outside linebacker last season, starting 14 games.
"I think Lamar is feeling more confident," Gibbs said. "I think he's kind of assuming a commanding role out there. He started out filling in and ended up being one of our key guys last year. We think he gives us flexibility because he can play outside or inside."