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Redskins Trade Out of Draft's First Round

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All last week, Redskins team officials let teams know that the 21st overall pick in the draft was open for business.

The Atlanta Falcons were one team the Redskins targeted as a trade partner.

Why? They had three second-round picks. And the Redskins hoped to pry two of them away.

"We talked all week long that if we could get the two picks from Atlanta, we thought that would be an outstanding deal for us," executive vice president Vinny Cerrato said.

"They called back [on Saturday] and said, 'Are you still interested in moving back?' I said, 'It would take [draft picks] 34 and 48 for us to move back.'

"So then they called back and said, 'If our guy is on the clock, we'll do [the trade]."

Turned out the Falcons' target was offensive lineman Sam Baker. He was there at No. 21, and they made the swap with the Redskins.

In all, the Redskins shipped the 21st pick, a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for the two second-round picks and a fourth-rounder.

The Redskins were ecstatic when many of the players the team had targeted at No. 21 were still available.

"As it worked out, the same guys that we were considering at No, 21 were the same guys that were there at No. 34, minus [Clemson defensive end] Phillip Merling," Cerrato said.

Merling, who team officials evaluated as recently as last week, went to the Miami Dolphins with the first pick in the second round.

And the Redskins selected wide receiver Devin Thomas, regarded by many as the top wide receiver in the draft.

As the first round unfolded, Cerrato and team officials figured trading down would be the best option for the club.

"We felt this draft would be outstanding in the second and third rounds, so to gather as many picks as we could in those rounds, that's what we did," Cerrato said. "We felt like that was a home run. Talking earlier in the week, we said that if we could get the two Atlanta picks, that would be the deal.

"We would have done the deal during the week, because that is where we feel like the talent is in the draft."

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