The Redskins selected Georgia free safety Bacarri Rambo in the sixth round, adding a third draft pick to a secondary that stood out as the team’s greatest area of need entering the draft.
Washington has now drafted three of college football’s interceptions leaders. Rambo’s eight interceptions in 2011 ranked second in the country to David Amerson’s 13. Washington drafted Amerson, a cornerback from N.C. State, in the second round Friday.
Fourth-round free safety Phillip Thomas led the nation last season with eight interceptions.
Rambo (6-0, 211) sounded emotional during a teleconference with Redskins media moments after he was drafted. Two collegiate suspensions, including a four-game penalty last season for marijuana use, caused him to fall to the sixth round. Rambo failed a drug test during the 2012 offseason.
“It was a very selfish decision, but I grew from it,” Rambo said of the infraction. “It just helped me put my priorities in order and just take every moment as it comes. It helped me be a better person and be mentally strong. I hit adversity, and I overcame it.”
Rambo is known as a center field-type player who moves well and has good ball skills. He prefers playing deep against the pass than near the line against the run, which is not his strong suit.
“I’m not scared to put my nose in and hit somebody, but I just like to play coverage better,” Rambo said. “I feel like I have pretty good ball skills, and I have enough speed to cover some receivers, so I’d rather play free.”
Thomas and Rambo have a great opportunity to immediately compete for playing time, especially considering they are Day 3 picks. Rookie defensive backs’ transition to the NFL can be difficult because the game is much faster and NFL offenses are more complex. However, the Redskins entered the draft without a true first-string free safety on the roster.