Standing pat isn’t the Washington Redskins’ way. So it wasn’t surprising that they traded up 18 spots in the second round to take Miami linebacker Roger “Rocky” McIntosh in the second round of yesterday’s NFL Draft.
Two years ago in their first draft with Joe Gibbs back at the helm, the Redskins traded for a third-round pick and chose tight end Chris Cooley. Last April, Washington gave up this year’s first-rounder to move into the first round and grab quarterback Jason Campbell. Sitting at No. 53 yesterday, the Redskins started discussing trades as the first round wound down. When linebackers DeMeco Ryans and D’Qwell Jackson were the first two selections in the second round, they jumped, dealing the 53rd choice, one of their three sixth-rounders (No. 189), and next year’s second-rounder to the New York Jets.
“We had a gameplan ready for 53, but it didn’t include Rocky,” Gibbs said. “We were very much wanting to do something … so we worked real hard on the phone. Obviously, the spot on our team where everybody would’ve said we were the thinnest was linebacker. We kind of felt there was a group of linebackers and it really dropped off. Several of the linebackers were fairly close in grades and as soon as they started going, that spurred you on.”
McIntosh, who’ll compete with holdovers Warrick Holdman and Chris Clemons to fill the weakside vacancy created by last month’s release of three-time Pro Bowl pick LaVar Arrington, isn’t in the flamboyant mold of such previous Miami standouts as Michael Irvin or Clinton Portis.
In fact, McIntosh is so studious that he earned a criminology degree in four years and is close to completing degrees in English and African-American studies. He has considered attending law school or pursuing a career in law enforcement. McIntosh said he received an impressive 29 on the Wonderlic intelligence test given to prospective rookies.
“I just like to take care of business,” McIntosh said from a celebration at the family diner in Killeen, Texas, the town to which he declined to move to when the Army transferred his father to Fort Hood before his junior year at Gaffney (S.C.) High School. McIntosh opted instead to remain behind with his grandmother. “Other guys are a little more outgoing, a little cockier sometimes. I’m kind of quiet. I’m going to go out there and do my job.”
In addition to admiring McIntosh’s efficiency, the Redskins are enthralled with his versatility.
“We think Rocky can play any of [the] three [linebacker] spots,” Gibbs said. “He can really run and he’s explosive. He can cover a lot of ground. When he gets matched up covering tight ends and backs, he does a very good job. He can play all three downs and he can play on teams. We feel like he’s a rush guy, too. We think it would help our team if we have Marcus [Washington, the strongside starter] rushing more. Added depth at linebacker will allow us to do that.”
Considering that Holdman was a major disappointment while starting the first seven games last year in place of Arrington, and that Clemons has only been a situational passrusher, there’s a good chance that the 6-foot-2, 231-pound McIntosh will be more than just added depth. And despite his quiet nature, McIntosh doesn’t lack confidence.
“The [Redskins] traded up to get me and I appreciate that,” said McIntosh, who had 200 tackles, including 23 for losses, along with 9 sacks the past two seasons. “Their guys fly around and that’s what I did at Miami. I’m a very aggressive guy. Attacking is one of my best attributes.”
Asked if he wanted to continue to wear No. 50, his number at Miami, McIntosh said, “Whatever number they give me, I’ll turn it into something.”