- The Washington Times - Friday, April 8, 2005

West Virginia cornerback Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, one of the top possibilities to replace departed Washington Redskins veteran Fred Smoot, completed a visit to the club’s headquarters yesterday in advance of the April 23-24 NFL Draft.

Next week the Redskins will play host to Jones’ counterpart at the top of the draft’s cornerback class, Miami’s Antrel Rolle, as the team attempts to shore up a defense that suffered several big losses in the first week of free agency.

The other apparent top contender to go to Washington with the ninth overall pick is Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers. However, it is unclear when Rogers might visit Redskin Park.

Visits by draft-eligible players aren’t made public in intra-league communications the way veteran free-agent trips are. Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said Washington won’t be releasing any information about draftee visits this year.

Jones’ trip was confirmed by a source familiar with the situation. Rolle’s agent, Ben Dogra, said by phone that his client would be visiting Thursday.

Interestingly, Dogra said another of his clients, Oklahoma wide receiver Mark Clayton, was at Redskin Park yesterday. Although Washington is believed to be targeting cornerbacks in the first round, it apparently is keeping its options open. Clayton is expected to be one of the top receivers selected.

Among Jones, Rolle and Rogers, at least one should be gone by No. 9, and all three should be selected by the middle of the first round.

Rolle and Rogers, both about two inches taller than the 5-foot-10 Jones, might be viewed as better fits physically for the scheme run by Redskins assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams.

Williams got great production last year out of veteran Shawn Springs, another 6-foot cornerback, who deftly shifted among coverage schemes, blitzed frequently and proved more than adequate in run support.

But Jones is extremely quick and might have the best pure coverage skills of the group. In addition, he is a talented kick returner, a position that remains in flux for Washington with Chad Morton coming off two so-so seasons and a torn ACL.

Clayton, like recently acquired veteran receivers Santana Moss and David Patten, isn’t terribly big. But the 5-10 prospect was extremely productive for the Sooners and boosted his draft stock with a fine performance at the Senior Bowl in late January.

Washington’s receiving corps appears full with Moss, Patten, James Thrash, Taylor Jacobs and Darnerien McCants filling the top five slots. But the club is still trying to trade Rod Gardner, a deal that could get done on draft day, and apparently is open to shaking up the group with a high-profile rookie addition.

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