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Redskins Wait to Address Defensive Line

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Prior to the NFL Draft, Redskins team officials had identified defensive line as a need position.

With Phillip Daniels turning 35 and Cornelius Griffin age 31, it was thought that the team needed to infuse some more youth at the position.

To everyone's surprise, the Redskins came out of the draft with just one defensive lineman: Rob Jackson of Kansas State in the seventh round.

So what happened?

Turns out the Redskins tried several times to draft a defensive lineman, but the player they had targeted was snatched up right before they picked.

"There were two occasions where, right before we picked, a [defensive lineman] we earmarked went right off the board," head coach Jim Zorn said. "So we had to go to our next choice. That is the way it is in the draft. There are 31 other teams picking. It's a situation that no one can predict."

Zorn was asked if there was any disappointment about losing out on the defensive linemen they had targeted.

"Not disappointed, because that really is the way the draft went for us," he replied.

Executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said the team would sign two undrafted free agent defensive ends this week.

Cerrato has said the team likes the combination of Andre Carter at right defensive end and Phillip Daniels, Marcus Washington and Chris Wilson rotating on the left.

Carter had 10.5 sacks last season. Washington and Wilson replaced Daniels on third downs and combined for nine sacks.

It appears that rotation at left defensive end will return in 2008.

"With defensive line, the thing about it is, you have to get them early," Cerrato said. "When we got to the fifth and sixth rounds, you look and say, 'All right, does that guy have a chance to make the team, or is it better to take a guy who has a chance to make the team?'

"We brought [defensive coordinator] Greg Blache in and asked, 'What do you think?' He said, 'No, take those other positions first.'"

While Jackson has to be considered a roster long-shot at this point, Cerrato praised his ability as an edge rusher.

The 6-4, 259-pounder is regarded as a high-motor pass rusher. He played two years at Kansas State, starting 23-of-25 games.

He recorded 61 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in his collegiate career.

Team officials met with Jackson last Thursday when the team traveled to Kansas State's campus. They were there to watch a workout with Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson, but wanted to meet with Jackson, too.

Said Cerrato: "He flashes ability. Now it will be just to get him stronger in the upper body area. He has a solid lower body and he uses his hands real well. It will be to get him to play consistently. There's a reason why he went in the seventh round.

"We just have to get it out of him, like we did with [Anthony] Montgomery and [Kedric] Golston. [Jackson] is the same type of guy."

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