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Weekend Draft Blog: 2 Days, 252 Draft Picks

Redskins.com's Draft Day Blog comes to you as action happens from New York City to FedExField and Redskins Park.

-- SUNDAY, APRIL 27

10:55 p.m. ET

Defensive Line...Or Lack Thereof

Questions that most members of the Washington, D.C., media are asking right now: Why did the Redskins ignore the front seven until the seventh round? Why did the Redskins draft just one defensive lineman?

The team had identified defensive line as a need heading into the draft. Phillip Daniels turned 35 years old this year and has just 5.5 sacks the last two seasons.

Of the Redskins' 10 picks, only one was used on a defensive end: Rob Jackson of Kansas State in the seventh round.

Turns out the Redskins tried several times to draft a defensive lineman, but the player they targeted was snatched 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 expected to sign two undrafted free agent defensive ends in the coming days.

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

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

It appears the 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.

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."


8:45 p.m. ET

Quick Hits

Vinny Cerrato said that LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was the Redskins' top-rated player in the entire draft.

Cerrato said the team has signed 13 undrafed rookies to round out the off-season roster. The newcomers consist of four offensive linemen, one quarterback, one wide receiver, two safeties, two linebackers, two defensive ends and a cornerback."

One surprise player who was not drafted was Maryland linebacker Erin Henderson. He was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick in the draft. It has to be a disappointment for the brother of Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson.

Henderson worked out for Redskins team officials in the local college workout at Redskins Park in early April.


8:30 p.m. ET

Zorn on Brennan

Head coach Jim Zorn loves to talk about quarterbacks.

Whether it's Matt Hasselbeck or Jason Campbell, Zorn is always enthusiastic about their progress.

Now Zorn has another young quarterback to mentor: newcomer Colt Brennan, the Redskins' sixth-round draft pick out of Hawaii.

Zorn discussed Brennan at length during his post-draft press conference.

Brennan is expected to challenge for the No. 3 quarterback spot on the Redskins' roster, but first he must get healthy after hip surgery this offseason. He should be fully healthy by the start of training camp in July.

"[The hip surgery] was a little bit of a concern, but not enough for me to pass on him," Zorn said. "He has had the kind of career where he has played a lot. I think he understands what it is going to take to commit to learning it.

"Hopefully he will be physically ready to start practicing in training camp and then hopefully solid enough to even participate in the preseason [games] somewhat."

At Hawaii, Brennan excelled in the classic run-and-shoot offense, a pass-happy scheme devised by former Hawaii head coach June Jones. In the run-and-shoot, the quarterback is often in shotgun formation.

Brennan was a third-team All-American choice last year. He completed 359-of-510 passes--a 70.4 completion percentage--for 4,343 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

His junior season was even better. Brennan completed 406-of-559 passes--a career-high 72.6 completion percentage--for 5,549 yards, 58 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

"The thing I look for in a quarterback is, can he hit what he is throwing at?" Zorn said. "Colt has done that. He has been a 70 percent passer. Whatever level and whatever type of defense you are going against, to throw 70 percent completion there is great accuracy. You can see that in many of the games in the last couple of seasons. You can see his accuracy.

"He has the ability to move around, too. He is a 4.7 runner in the 40. His lateral movement and his ability to get himself in the position to throw the ball after a play breaks down--it's tremendous."

Zorn has been working on footwork and mechanics with Jason Campbell, Todd Collins and Sam Hollenbach the last few weeks. He'll have a new student to tutor in Brennan.

"Supposedly there was some talk that he has a bit of a side-arm release, which is true," Zorn said. "We will try to bring that up a little bit. If we can, great. It is just little steps to help him become efficient. Hopefully, he will get brought up to speed that way."

Zorn expects Brennan to pick up the West Coast offense quickly.

As a developmental quarterback, he should have plenty of time to learn it.

"The shotgun doesn't make me too nervous because I saw him drop back a lot," Zorn said. "There are a lot of shotgun quarterbacks that are in shotgun every single play. They have to re-learn how to drop and how to throw on rhythm. I don't think he is going to have that problem."

Brennan is not regarded as a strong-armed quarterback. Accuracy is his strong suit, Zorn said, and that fits what is required in the West Coast offense.

"When you see the ball come out, it is going to come out quick and it going to be accurate," Zorn said. "I don't know about his ball speed. I'm not as concerned about the ball speed as I am about accuracy.

"What happens is, [quarterbacks] who don't throw hard anticipate [pass routes] better. That's what I will be looking for when I evaluate him."


6:45 p.m. ET

Horton Hears a Draft Pick

The Redskins' last draft pick of 2008 is...UCLA safety Chris Horton. The team grabbed him in the seventh round--the 249th overall pick in the draft.

And he becomes the 10th Redskins newcomer of the weekend.

Horton, 6-1 and 210 pounds, started every game the last two seasons with the Bruins. He finished his career with 238 tackles and 13 sacks.

He is regarded as a solid run defender but needs improvement in coverage. He could make an impact on special teams in his rookie season.

At UCLA, Horton was coached by defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, who coached with the Redskins from 2004-05.


6:09 p.m. ET

Long Wait For Jackson

The Redskins addressed the defensive line in the NFL Draft with the selection of Kansas State's Rob Jackson in the seventh round. He was the 242nd overall pick.

Jackson, 6-4 and 259 pounds, is a high-motor pass rusher who has good size and speed.

Jackson 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.

Jackson is related to basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy.

One more pick to go...


4:05 p.m. ET

Surprise, Surprise: Colt Brennan

The Redskins went into the NFL draft expecting to take a quarterback in the later rounds.

Team officials followed through--but were able to draft a quarterback some had projected to go in early rounds.

The Redskins drafted Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan with their final sixth-round pick, at No. 186 overall. Brennan was regarded as among the top quarterbacks in the draft and had a record-setting season last year, but he fell due to a poor performance in the Sugar Bowl and injury concerns.

Brennan is the owner of 21 NCAA records. Last year, he set a record with his 34th consecutive game of throwing for at least 200 yards. His 20 games with at least 400 yards in total offense also set an all-time mark.

His average of 387.8 yards per game in total offense and a pass completion percentage of .712 are just some of the other notable national marks he set at Hawaii.

Brennan ran the classic run-and-shoot offense, a pass-happy scheme devised by former Hawaii head coach June Jones.

Brennan was a third-team All-American choice last year. He completed 359-of-510 passes--a 70.4 completion percentage--for 4,343 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

His junior season was even better. Brennan completed 406-of-559 passes--a career-high 72.6 completion percentage--for 5,549 yards, 58 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Brennan, who grew up in Irvine, Calif., expects to make a quick transition to the West Coast offense run by Jim Zorn.

"It's what I grew up in our here in southern California," he told Washington, D.C., reporters in a conference call on Sunday afternoon. "I have some background in it. I really can't wait to get back in it. I know I can run it. I'm just grateful for the opportunity."

Brennan decided to undergo hip surgery this offseason, so he might not be available to work with the team in mini-camp and OTAs.

Asked about his health, Brennan said: "I'm doing great. The doctor said that I'm on the path to full recovery. The surgery was a complete success. I'm about six weeks to being 100 percent.

"Basically, I can't wait to get out there and let their doctors and staff help get me through the rehab process."

He expects to be fully healthy ready for training camp.

Brennan was ecstatic when he learned he was drafted. You could sense his energy and enthusiasm over the telephone in his conference call with reporters.

"To be honest, as the day was progressing I was really thinking, ?Maybe I'm a free agent guy, maybe I'm a seventh-round pick,'" he said. "When I got the phone call, I couldn't have been more excited. I'm just so excited to be a Washington Redskin."


3:45 p.m. ET

Kareem Moore

The Redskins selected Nicholls State defensive back Kareem Moore with their next sixth-round pick, at No. 180 overall.

Moore, 5-11 and 213 pounds, played two years at Nicholls State, located in Louisiana. In 21 games, he started 17 contests and recorded 141 tackles, five interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Moore also was a kick returner last year, averaging 20.4 yards per kickoff return and 9.1 yards per punt return.

Last year, Moore was an Associated Press All-American second-team selection and All-Southland first-team selection.

The Redskins have just three safeties on their roster, so the team was expected to draft a defensive back at some point in the draft.


3:15 p.m. ET

Punter Competition

The Redskins selected Georgia Tech punter Durant Brooks with the first of their three sixth-round draft picks. He was the 168th player selected in the draft.

He is expected to compete with veteran Derrick Frost for the Redskins' punting job next season.

Brooks was the recipient of the Ray Guy Award in 2007 as the nation's top punter. Coincidentally, Guy has been a family friend and Brooks's mentor.

"My mom and Ray Guy are from the same town [Thompson, Ga.]," Brooks said. "They know him. They see him in the grocery store."

Brooks added: "I went to two of his camps. He would just run into my mom and he would ask how I was doing. Once I got into college, I worked with him a few times. He kind of stayed away a little bit in college because he didn't want anyone saying I was getting the award just because he is a friend. He has been really great helping me.

In two years at Georgia Tech, Brooks shattered school and conference records. He logged 144 punts for a 45.-yard average, with a long of 77 yards. He had 20 punts go for touchbacks and 68 downed inside the 20.

"I have a hard work ethic, I'm a team player and I'm very coach-able," Brooks said.

The last time the Redskins drafted a punter was in 1993, when the team chose Ed Bunn of UTEP in the third round.


2:45 p.m. ET

Trade Alert

Midway through the fifth round, the Redskins traded down again, this time with the St. Louis Rams.

Washington picked up two sixth-round selections in the trade with the Rams. The team now has three sixth-rounders, at No. 168, 180 and 186 overall.

Compensation to the Rams: the Redskins sent its fifth-round pick, at 157th overall, and its seventh-round pick, at 228th overall.


2:35 p.m. ET

QB Coming?

Vinny Cerrato just did an interview with Larry Michael on Redskins.com TV. Cerrato said that he expects the team to pursue a developmental quarterback in the later rounds of the draft.

That falls in line with what Cerrato has been saying for several weeks now.

Coaches want a quarterback who can serve as the No. 3 quarterback next season and learn behind Jason Campbell and Todd Collins.

Here are some QB prospects still on the draft board:

Erik Ainge, Tennessee

At 6-5 and 225 pounds, Ainge has a good frame for an NFL quarterback. A four-year starter at Tennessee, he completed 733-of-1,210 passes for 8,700 yards, 72 touchdowns and 35 interceptions. He has lacked consistency and doesn't have great mobility, but he could excel in a West Coast offense as a game manager.

Josh Johnson, San Diego

Johnson, 6-2 and 213 pounds, started three years at San Diego, a Division I-AA program, and completed 724-of-1,065 passes for 9,699 yards, 113 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Johnson did not compete against top-level competition in college, but he was previously coached by former NFL quarterback and current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Alex Brink, Washington State

Washington State has produced some great quarterbacks, including Drew Bledsoe and former Redskin Mark Rypien. The university has also produced draft bust Ryan Leaf. Brink is a 6-3, 215-pounder who started four years for Washington State. He completed 821-of-1,411 passes for 10,514 yards, 71 touchdowns and 43 interceptions. He's regarded by scouts as a tough, smart leader, but he lacks great physical skills.


1:15 p.m. ET

Justin "J.T." Tryon

In the fourth round, with the pick acquired from the Tennessee Titans, the Redskins selected Arizona State cornerback Justin "J.T." Tryon.

Tryon becomes the first Redskins defensive player selected in the draft.

Tryon, 5-9 and 190 pounds, first made a name for himself at the East-West Shrine Game. He projects as a future NFL starter, but it's thought that he will need a couple years of seasoning.

"I feel like the strength of my game is in my cover skills, one on one," Tryon told reporters shortly after the selection. "But at the same time, I still have a lot of technique to work on.

Tryon was a junior college transfer to Arizona State. He earned All-Pac 10 honorable mention honors in his first season at Arizona State, ranking fourth on the squad with 47 tackles, one interception, a sack and two fumble recoveries.

As a senior, he earned All-Pac 10 second-team choice and was the club's Most Improved Defensive Player. He started all 13 games and was ranked fifth on the team in tackles with 56. He also had three interceptions--returning one for a touchdown--and 16 pass deflections.

Tryon is also a kick return specialist. As a senior, he returned seven kickoffs for a 23.7-yard average.

Tryon is aware that he is joining a Redskins club that was a playoff team last year.

"I followed the Redskins a little bit last year," the Palmdale, Calif., native said. "I know they have a real aggressive defense. That's fine with me."

Tryon said he played high school football alongside New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith, and he's looking forward to playing Smith in the Redskins' Week 1 matchup at the Meadowlands.


12:10 p.m. ET

Another Trade

The Redskins have completed another trade, sending the No. 104 pick in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans for a fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick.

The Redskins' next pick is at No. 124 overall, in the fourth round.

In the fifth round, the Redskins have the 157th overall pick.

Basically, the Redskins pick up two players for the price of one. It appears team officials believe the value of this draft is in its depth.


11:46 a.m. ET

Chad Rinehart

My prediction for pick No. 96? Wrong player, right position.

Chad Rinehart is a tackle-guard prospect. He played mostly left tackle at Northern Iowa, but he could be slated to play right tackle in the pros.

Rinehart started 37 games at left tackle in his career at Northern Iowa. He helped the offense rank 11th in the nation and second in the conference in total offense at 447.4 yards per game.

That's the same college that produced punter Derrick Frost, by the way. Apparently, they are good friends.

The lines needed to be addressed. Rinehart appears to be a solid pick.


11:30 a.m. ET

Day 2 Strategy

Day 2 promises to be hectic, so my blog commentary for the day is going to focus on reaction to the Redskins' draft picks.

As expected, a lot of the top Day 2 prospects are off the board. Dan Connor to the Carolina Panthers, Chris Ellis to the Buffalo Bills.

My prediction for the Redskins' third-round pick, at No. 96?

Pittsburgh offensive lineman Mike McGlynn. At 6-4 and 309 pounds, he's a solid guard prospect who could play some tackle as well.

The Redskins have done well with Pitt offensive lineman, getting Mark May and Russ Grimm from the Panthers in 1981.

The pick is coming up shortly...


9:30 a.m. ET

Best of the Next

Who are some of the best players available as the third round approaches?

The Redskins own the No. 96 overall pick.

Outside linebacker Dan Connor of Penn State really stands out. He was expected to be a first-round selection by many draft experts.

Linebacker is a need for the Redskins, but not a top priority. Connor would be a great pickup, though.

He should be gone early in the third, so if the Redskins want him, they'll have to trade up.

At defensive end, Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis would make sense. The Redskins bypassed the lines on day one, so you have to think that could be a pick.

Local product linebacker Erin Henderson and defensive tackle Dre Moore are both on the board, and could be solid pickups in the third round.


9:05 a.m. ET

Day 2 Begins

The second day is upon us.

By and large, the Redskins have received positive grades for their first day draft class: wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly and tight end Fred Davis.

The Redskins believe they drafted three first-round prospects in the second round.

You can't ask for anything more than that.


-- SATURDAY, APRIL 26

9:30 p.m. ET

Recap of Day 1

The Redskins had picks at No. 48 and 51, so after Jim Zorn and Vinny Cerrato hosted a quick press conference and Devin Thomas spoke to media via conference call, it was back to work.

Eyeballs on NFL Network.

Surprise, surprise.

The Redskins drafted Fred Davis, a tight end out of USC. Somewhat of a surprise there--tight end was not thought to be a need.

Davis is a pass-catching tight end. He started 28 contests at USC and caught 117 passes for 1,408 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had his most productive season as a senior, catching 62 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns.

The surprises were just beginning.

Three picks later, the Redskins drafted another wide receiver, Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly. He was certainly on the Redskins' radar, but once the team selected Devin Thomas, Kelly seemed like an afterthought.

Instead, the Redskins stuck with their board and drafted the best player available. That was Kelly, who was a draft target of the Redskins in the first round.

Heading into the draft, the Redskins clearly had a need for a big wide receiver.

Instead of addressing needs at offensive line and defensive line, the Redskins chose to draft two wide receivers.

It's a questionable move, in my opinion. But if Thomas and Kelly were the top players on the draft board, then they got value for the second-round picks.

I'll let Vinny Cerrato speak on it.

"We have been following our board," executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said. "When we were at 48, our highest-rated guy still with a first-round grade was Fred Davis. We have always followed the board.

"Then, Malcolm Kelly was the only guy still on the board with a first-round grade. He stuck out like a sore thumb, so it was an obvious choice for us."

The Redskins had worked out Kelly last Thursday.

"We know him," Cerrato said. "We know what he can do. We were very comfortable in following the board and getting value for the picks."

Kelly ranks second on the Sooners' all-time record list for receiving yardage (2,285), touchdowns (21) and games with at least 100 yards receiving (nine). He played in 39 games in three seasons and caught 144 passes with the Sooners.


7:10 p.m. ET

Thomas Is a Redskin

The pick is not surprising, but the player is.

Great choice. Devin Thomas was regarded by many as the top wide receiver on the draft board.

Thomas was the 34th overall pick in the draft. The Redskins had traded back from the 21st overall pick, sending it to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a pair of second-round picks from the Atlanta Falcons.

Thomas is regarded as one of the strongest receivers in the draft.

At 6-2 and 220 pounds, Thomas has the size the Redskins are looking for in Jim Zorn's new offense.

He starred only one season at Michigan State as a junior college transfer.

Last season, he caught 79 passes for 1,350 yards and nine TDs last year. He also served as a kick returner.

Merling, by the way, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins at No. 32. So he was off the draft board by the time the Redskins had picked two slots later.


6:30 p.m. ET

Decisions, Decisions...

So who should be available for the Redskins at No. 34?

Looks like both of the defensive ends the team had targeted at the 21st pick in the first round could be on the board.

That's right, Miami's Calais Campbell and Clemson's Phillip Merling could be on the board at No. 34.

What's more, a wide receiver has not been taken in the draft yet. That was identified as another need for the Redskins.

Looks like the Redskins could grab a solid wide receiver at No. 34 or at No. 48. Maybe Michigan State's Devin Thomas, Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly or Texas's Limas Sweed.

If it falls this way, then the Falcons trade would have to be deemed a success.

6:15 p.m. ET

The Pick Is...Trade

After a tense couple of minutes here at Redskins Park, it was finally announced that the Redskins traded the 21st pick. The team shipped the 21st pick and two later-round picks to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for two second-round picks and a fourth-rounder.

Officially, the Redskins now have the 34th overall pick and the 48th overall pick in the second round. That gives the Redskins three second-round picks, to go along with the team's original second-rounder at No. 51.

It also gives the Redskins ammunition to trade back into the first round if necessary.

What did I say earlier about draft day trades? The more picks a team has, the more freedom.

Also as part of the trade, the Redskins acquired the 103rd overall pick in the fourth round. Heading into the draft, the Redskins did not have a fourth-round pick.

Along with the 21st pick, the Redskins sent the 84th overall pick in the third round and the 154th overall pick in the fifth round to the Falcons.

My initial reaction: Sounds like a pretty good trade, but it can't be judged until we see who's available at No. 34.

And I was right. Sure, my pick at 21 was Calais Campbell, but I added the caveat that I believed a trade was in the works.

Pats self on back.


5:32 p.m. ET

Crisis Averted

Televisions are back...And just in time.

The Redskins are on the clock.

Looks like there's a trade coming.


5:23 p.m. ET

Thunder and Lightning

Uh oh. There's a thunderstorm rolling through the Northern Virginia region.

Satellite TVs are out at Redskins Park.

And the Redskins are almost on the clock!


5:20 p.m. ET

Lions Roar

Full disclosure: I have a little place in my heart for the Detroit Lions.

Why? My fianc�e Liza hails from Detroit and is a big Lions fan.

So when the Lions traded down from No. 15 to the 17th pick in the first round, I had to get her reaction.

She's about as close to an expert on the Lions as you'll find. Trust me on this.

So what's her take on the Lions' choice of Boston College offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus at No. 17?

"That dude wasn't on my radar AT ALL," Liza said. "The Lions definitely needed help on the offensive line, but they needed to go defense in this draft. I am befuddled. What are you doing, Millen?"

There you have it.


5:01 p.m. ET

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Here's another player the Redskins would have strongly considered if he were available at No. 21.

Instead, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the pick by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 16.

Rodgers-Cromartie is an interesting pick--and he has Redskins ties.

The cousin of Chargers' CB Antonio Cromartie, Dominique worked out with Redskins great Darrell Green in summer 2007 to fine-tune his skills. He is 6-1 and 184 pounds and comes from a small school in Tennessee State. He logged 11 collegiate interceptions.


4:35 p.m. ET

Offensive Linemen Falling?

The Redskins are thought to like several of the elite offensive tackles in the draft.

Through the first dozen picks, only two offensive linemen have been selected: Michigan's Jake Long to the Miami Dolphins at No. 1 and Boise State's Ryan Clady to the Denver Broncos at No. 12.

Still on the board: Vanderbilt's Chris Williams, Pittsburgh's Jeff Otah and Virginia's Branden Albert.

All are regarded as among the top offensive linemen in a very strong draft at the position.

And one could fall to the Redskins at No. 21.

If Albert is available at No. 21, I believe the Redskins will grab him in a heartbeat.

The Chicago Bears (No. 14), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 17) and Philadelphia Eagles (No. 21) all are expected to consider offensive line when they make their selection.


4:20 p.m. ET

Derrick Harvey

Had to be a surprise to see defensive end Derrick Harvey go to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 8.

The Redskins liked Harvey a lot. If he had fallen to No. 21, I have it on good authority he would have been given serious consideration.

The general consensus on Harvey, though, is that he'll be a very good NFL player, but not a great one.

Harvey is a 6-4, 262-pounder out of Florida. He only started 18 college games, but he was able to record 20.5 career sacks.


3:55 p.m. ET

Draft Update

One hour into the draft, and the top 10 is taking shape.

The Redskins had to hope that quarterback Matt Ryan would fall--similar to Brady Quinn last year--creating a bidding war for his services further down the draft board.

But Ryan ended up with the Atlanta Falcons as their franchise quarterback. He'll eventually replace Joey Harrington.

With defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey going to the Kansas City Chiefs at the fifth overall pick, it's possible that they would draft offensive line at No. 17.

So that means that defensive ends Phillip Merling and Calais Campbell should be there for the Redskins at No. 21.


3:08 p.m. ET

More From Zorn...

Jim Zorn answered a few questions from fans at the Draft Day Party.

Here are his responses:

Fan: "Please tell us the team is not going to trade for Chad Johnson!"

Zorn: "I really have no answer for that."

Fan: How does Jason Campbell look?

Zorn: "He is doing well. We have been working hard the last month. You will notice the difference. I notice the difference. There are some subtleties that I am excited about. I see his skill level improving. I'm very excited about what he's doing. He's real strong."

Fan: Do you expect the Redskins to fill the safety position in the draft or stay with Reed Doughty?

Zorn: "Reed Doughty is our starter right now. I can't imagine what's going to happen in the draft, but he's a stud player. He's filling big shoes, but we think he can do it."

Fan: How do you feel about Anthony Mix?

Zorn: "Is he big, or what? Anthony Mix is going to get an opportunity to perform. We have to get him going, so we can get him to complement what we have going with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley. A lot of it's going to be up to him, so we're going to give him every opportunity."

Fan: Do you think the Seattle Seahawks pump noise into their stadium?

Zorn: "Now that's a great question. I will say this: with 92,000 fans here, to be thinking you are the 12th man, you can easily surpass the noise produced in Seattle. I can tell you, honestly, [the answer is] no. They did it with the 12th man."

Fan: Is Andre Carter going to be used as a linebacker?

Zorn: "We like him as a pass rusher, so that's what we're going to use him as."

Also, Zorn smartly declined to predict a record for the 2008 season.


2:58 p.m. ET

My Prediction: With the 21st Pick?

...The Washington Redskins select University of Miami defensive end Calais Campbell.

Actually, I predict the Redskins trade down, out of the first round altogether, and end up with more picks in the second or third round.

But I want to go on the record with a pick.

And my pick is Campbell.

First of all, defensive end has been long neglected by the Redskins. The franchise hasn't drafted a first-round defensive end since 1997, when they plucked Kenard Lang out of the University of Miami.

Campbell, 6-8 and 282 pounds, was coached by new Redskins' defensive line coach John Palermo in 2006. Compared favorably to Texans' Mario Williams, Campbell had 19 sacks in college.

Defensive end Phillip Merling of Clemson is another viable candidate. It appears the Redskins are serious about acquiring his services, given the fact that team officials traveled to Georgia this week to monitor his workout.

I expect the Kansas City Chiefs to draft a defensive end at No. 17. The Chiefs just acquired that pick in the Jared Allen trade with the Minnesota Vikings.

Now the Chiefs have a need at defensive end, and Merling could be their choice.

Which leaves Campbell to the Redskins at No. 21.

That's my call.


2:20 p.m. ET

Zorn At the Party

Jim Zorn left for FedExField--via helicopter--at approximately 1:40 p.m. The new Redskins head coach was ushered onto the field and spoke for 12 minutes to the thousands of fans in attendance.

He was joined by offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, defensive coordinator Greg Blache, assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel and special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

Zorn's comments:

"I expect four things this year. The first thing I expect from us as coaches, that we give our players the best opportunity be to be successful. Our coaches are planning right now what we're going to try to accomplish this season as a football team. I expect our coaching staff to teach, encourage and prod on our players so they can have an excellent football season.

The second thing I expect is that our division is going to be a real challenge for all of us. The NFC East is a great division and we want to be on top."

At this point, Redskins fans started the familiar chant, "We Want Dallas! We Want Dallas!"

Zorn paused, and said "There we go. We can't wait for that."

He continued: "We have a real challenge in our first game against the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants.

"The third thing I expect is that our players give their very best. Our players are improving themselves right now with the off-season strength and condition program.

"Next week we'll have our first mini-camp. And in that mini-camp, we expect on offense to not only learn, but also to establish a strong running attack. Clinton Portis is here, working out in Washington, and he's getting ready. So I expect our players to work hard and to be very successful.

"My fourth expectation is that all of you to be the 12th man on our football team. I need your burgundy and gold every week and I need roars every week at the right time. We need your support. I've learned what burgundy and gold means in this city.

"I would say this: you fans are just as important, if not m more important, as anything we do on the football field. You have high expectations for us, and we want to live up to those expectations.

"We want you here every week. We want you at away games. We want your support. We want to feel you when we're on the road. You're the 12th man and we have high expectations for you."

Zorn answered a few questions from fans. I'll post his answers in a few.


12:30 p.m. ET

In Memoriam

The NFL Draft is supposed to be a day of celebration, but I have to mention this bit of very sad news this week: Stephan Miller, a Hollywood animal trainer and Redskins fan, died after he was attacked by a grizzly bear.

Miller helped found NFL communities at Rivals.com and Scout.com. He went by the nickname "Punishment" and founded a Redskins fan community that still exists as WarpathInsiders.com.

Miller briefly worked with ExtremeSkins founder Eric "Blade" Leichter on some projects, as Eric explained in a thread on ExtremeSkins earlier this week.

Redskins reporter John Keim, affiliated with WarpathInsiders.com, reflects on Miller in a moving column published this week.


12:20 p.m. ET

Draft Day Memories

Chris Cooley and Jon Jansen published columns on their draft day memories this week.

Here's a humorous section from the Cooley column:

"Two months earlier, I got my first cell phone. Yeah, 2004 and Chris Cooley finally has a cell phone. The problem wasn't that I had a phone, the problem was the service. I couldn't keep more than one bar in the corner of the phone, and I was starting to believe that I must have been missing calls. I had spent the last four hours glued to the screen, but had to drag myself outside to at least see if I got a message from someone. By the time my foot hovered over the bottom stair of the front porch, the house erupted. The cheering couldn't be mistaken, but I had still never received a phone call.

"Eighty-first pick to the Washington Redskins and I could have never felt more relieved. I remember thinking, 'Why hasn't the team called me?' It was a perfect thought as my little brother turned to me and said, 'Oh yeah, some guy is on hold for ya, he's only been on hold for a couple minutes.' I took the phone and Joe Gibbs says, 'I hope you want to be a Redskin, we had to trade up for you.' Joe Gibbs! A Hall of Fame coach wanted to trade up for me."

In a recent column called "My Draft Day," right tackle Jon Jansen admitted he hoped to be drafted by the Chicago Bears, his favorite team growing up.

"The Bears were scheduled to pick 37th. When they were on the clock, the phone rang. I thought every dream I had ever had just came true. But it wasn't the Bears. It was Norv Turner and Russ Grimm asking if I wanted to be a Redskin.

"They were in the process of making a trade. Washington had the 40th pick and was trading up to 37 to pick me. It was a great feeling to finally see your name next to a team on the ticker. I wasn't going to be a Bear, but my dream had still been realized."


11:35 a.m. ET

Breaking Down Redskins Drafts By Position

It's revealing how the Redskins have used their draft picks since 1967. Check out these stats compiled by our crack public relations staff:

REDSKINS DRAFT PICKS BY POSITION (SINCE 1967)
Number Position
71 Defensive Backs
47 Linebackers
46 Running Backs
39 Wide Receivers
30 Defensive Ends
29 Offensive Tackles
28 Guards
22 Tight Ends
22 Quarterbacks
12 Centers
6 kickers
3 Punters
0 Fullbacks

From these stats, it appears the Redskins have put a higher priority on defensive backs through the years.

In the last decade, the Redskins have drafted six cornerbacks (including Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers) and five safeties (including Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry).

Not enough emphasis has been placed on defensive line, in my estimation.

The Redskins have drafted just one defensive end and four defensive tackles in the last 10 years.

As has been documented on Redskins.com and elsewhere, the Redskins have opted to fill the defensive lines with free agent pickups.

With some of those free agents getting older now, the Redskins are expected to look to the draft for defensive linemen this year.

It's one reason why Miami's Calais Campbell, Clemson's Phillip Merling and North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer are all considered possibilities for the Redskins at No. 21.


11:30 a.m. ET

And We're Back...

Whose idea was it to start the draft at 3 p.m. ET? Seems like a long wait to the proceedings.

Why not start it at 12 noon ET, as in previous years, but limit the time between draft picks to 10 minutes?

I guess the league wants some draft picks to be announced in prime time. More advertising opportunities.

I preferred the immediacy of Draft Day when it started at noon. Now it feels like any other Saturday. Just my two cents.


-- FRIDAY, APRIL 25

11:30 p.m. ET

Wheeling and Dealing On Draft Day

Last year, the Redskins found themselves in a quandary early in the second round of the NFL Draft. They had LaRon Landry in the bag, but no second-round pick.

Still, there were several players team officials coveted in the second round--notably cornerback Chris Houston and offensive lineman Justin Blalock--and they made an attempt to trade up for them.

Efforts proved fruitless. Both Houston and Blalock ended up with the Atlanta Falcons, who had a pair of second-round selections.

Simply put, the Redskins lacked ammunition to make moves in the draft last year.

The Redskins didn't have a second-round pick, and they didn't have a third- or fourth-round pick, either. They had little to offer teams in a trade up to the second round.

This year? Different story.

The Redskins have nine picks in the seven-round draft. It would actually be surprising if the Redskins ended up with nine players by Sunday evening.

Team officials may even trade down from No. 21, acquire more picks, and then make more trades with the new picks.

It's about freedom. The more picks a team has, the more it can move up, down and all around to obtain the players they want, especially in the mid-rounds of the draft.

It all promises to be a wild ride on draft day.

So who will the Redskins draft? You want answers, eh? Well, I can't provide them, because that's my job. I'm not providing the competition--31 other NFL teams--an insight into the Redskins' draft board.

Besides, I don't really know myself.

Vinny Cerrato gave us a gift when he confirmed last Tuesday that Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling could be a candidate for the Redskins' top pick at No. 21 overall.

Says here Merling would be a solid pickup, and hopefully have a longer Redskins career than the last Redskins player out of Clemson: wide receiver Rod Gardner.

My prediction for the Redskins' top pick--absent a trade, of course--comes on Saturday.

Here's something to keep an eye on: Don't ask me why I remember this, but ESPN draft guru extraordinaire Mel Kiper has nailed the last two Redskins picks.

Two years ago, Kiper had the Redskins taking linebacker Rocky McIntosh midway through the second round of his mock draft.

Last year, he was one of the few draft gurus to figure safety LaRon Landry was the Redskins' top target.

So who does Kiper call for the Redskins this year?

He gives them Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in his final mock draft.

Does Kiper know something?

Time will tell.


8:30 p.m. ET

Draft Tidbits From Our PR Staff

The Redskins have drafted six players who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sammy Baugh (1937), Darrell Green (1983), Paul Krause (1964), Art Monk (1980), Wayne Millner (1936) and Charley Taylor (1964).

The Redskins have never had the 21st pick in the first round. The last time the Redskins had the 21st overall pick in the draft was in 1966. The team drafted Nebraska offensive tackle Walter Barnes in the second round of the draft. (At that time, the first round consisted of only 15 picks.)

In the last 10 seasons, the Redskins have had eight drafted players make the Pro Bowl. Five of those eight players made the Pro Bowl multiple times. Here's the list: Stephen Alexander, LaVar Arrington, Champ Bailey, Chris Cooley, Stephen Davis, Tre Johnson, Chris Samuels and Sean Taylor.


8:05 p.m. ET

Who's In New York City, Part II?

Each team sends representatives from the club to speak for the team at the NFL headquarters site a Radio City Music Hall.

For the second year in a row, the Redskins have assigned head strength and conditioning coach John Hastings and his assistant Harrison Bernstein to represent the team at draft headquarters.


8:02 p.m. ET

Who's In New York City?

Six top draft prospects are in New York City for the draft.

Only Jake Long is assured that he won't experience a Brady Quinn freefall.

Here's the roster:

 LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey  
  • Ohio State defensive lineman Vernon Gholston
  • Virginia defensive lineman Chris Long
  • Michigan offensive lineman Jake Long
  • Arkansas running back Darren McFadden
  • Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan


5:05 p.m. ET

Back With a Blog

So the NFL Draft officially begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. That's too long of a wait to start my Redskins Draft Blog, so I'm starting a day early.

Besides, the Miami Dolphins have already taken away some of the fun by signing offensive tackle Jake Long as the No. 1 pick in the draft.

It will be strange to wait until 3:20 p.m. or so for the first real drama of the draft. St. Louis is on the clock.

Here's a quick refresher on the changes this year at the draft:

 Only Rounds 1 and 2 will take place on Saturday. Previously, the first three rounds of the draft were conducted on Saturday.  
  • The time allocated for each pick in Round 1 will be 10 minutes. Previously, the first round time was 15 minutes.
  • The time allocated for each pick in Round 2 will be seven minutes. Previously, it was 10 minutes.
  • Round 3 will be moved to Sunday and remain at five minutes per selection. (Rounds 4-7 will also remain at five minutes per pick.)
  • The draft on Sunday starts at 10 a.m. ET rather than 11 a.m.

The draft will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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