A year after using their first four draft picks on offense, the Washington Redskins did the opposite this weekend.
The team followed Saturday’s selection of Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo by taking Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes in Sunday’s third round and linebackers Cody Glenn of Nebraska and Robert Henson of Texas Christian in the fifth and sixth.
The Redskins went into Sunday still looking for potential starters at strongside linebacker and right tackle. Cornerback was an afterthought with starters DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers just 25 and 27 years old. But the Redskins still jumped at Barnes, a physical corner whom coach Jim Zorn said could run with speedy former Terps receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick.
“[Barnes] kind of reminds you of a little thinner… Carlos Rogers,” Zorn said. “He can run receivers down. … He packs a wallop. We’re going to try to get him in the mix.”
The Redskins traded down eight spots in the fifth round with Minnesota, regaining the seventh-round pick they traded to the Vikings for defensive end Erasmus James last June. They used the fifth-round pick on Glenn, considered a bit of a gamble because he played just nine games at linebacker after switching from running back. Zorn said Glenn handled the switch smoothly and plays “sudden.”
“I’m more of a speed linebacker… who loves to hit people,” Glenn said. “I’m grateful for [the position switch].”
The 6-foot, 235-pound Glenn made the Big 12 academic honor roll but was suspended for the final four games of his senior year for selling tickets. Leg and foot injuries limited Glenn to five games as a junior and cost him three games as a sophomore.
In the sixth round, the Redskins selected Henson. The 6-foot-1, 228-pounder was an All-Mountain West pick on the nation’s No. 2 defense but wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine in February and wasn’t rated by many draft publications.
“He likes to attack… get into the gap and really blow things up,” Zorn said.
With the seventh-round choice acquired from the Vikings, the Redskins selected tight end Eddie Williams. The Idaho product tore an ACL in the season finale and will switch to fullback to learn behind Pro Bowl selection Mike Sellers.
With its final pick, Washington took Nevada’s Marko Mitchell, a 6-3 receiver who had 18 touchdowns the past two seasons.
Surprisingly, the Redskins didn’t select an offensive lineman despite their professed need at right tackle. Instead, they stocked up at cornerback and addressed their needs in the linebacking corps.
Barnes, who recorded the top score on the Wonderlic intelligence test at February’s combine, showed he knows his stuff by perfectly summing up his cornerback competition with the Redskins.
“I know they re-signed DeAngelo,” Barnes said. “I know Carlos is in the last year of his deal. [Backup Fred] Smoot’s getting a little bit older. I’m ready to get in there and compete as soon as possible, try to have an immediate impact. I feel like I can compete with anybody. I’m a big corner, but I also move like a smaller guy. I can compete with the big receivers and move with the smaller receivers, too.”
The 6-foot Barnes started the past two years for the Terps but missed the final six games of 2008 after fracturing his left shoulder blade while forcing a fumble against Wake Forest. A similar hit on Jahvid Best caused the Cal running back to vomit.
“I was initially panicking [because the first diagnosis was that I would miss five or six months] and I wouldn’t be able to compete at the combine,” Barnes said. “But I… got the second opinion, and he told me two or three months. I’ve always been a fast healer.”
Barnes was the sixth Terps player taken by the Redskins since the combined draft began in 1967. He follows tackle Ralph Sonntag (ninth round, 1970), receiver Roland Merritt (seventh, 1970), running back Rick Badanjek (seventh, 1986), tight end Frank Wycheck (sixth, 1993) and defensive tackle Del Cowsette (seventh, 2000).