- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2001

The Washington Redskins quietly filled the needs at receiver and defensive tackle yesterday, but a fourth-round selection of a quarterback suddenly created speculation over the unit's future.
The Redskins' unexpected pick of Iowa State quarterback Sage Rosenfels could reshuffle the pecking order behind starting quarterback Jeff George. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said Rosenfels' selection won't influence plans to sign a veteran quarterback in June or automatically derail second-year quarterback Todd Husak, but the team won't carry four quarterbacks. Husak could be vulnerable if Rosenfels has a good training camp.
"[Rosenfels] does not have any particular implication to players on the roster or not on the roster," Schottenheimer said. "Todd's clearly the No. 2 guy. It's no reflection whatsoever."
Meanwhile, the Redskins began scrambling to sign 29 rookie free agents by today to fill needs at guard, safety and fullback. Schottenheimer said several of 17 undrafted offensive linemen that the team rated should be signed. However, no XFL players are expected to be taken.
"We still have in our view another draft to conduct," Schottenheimer said.
Still, the weekend draft seemed promising despite only five selections, including a late swap of fifth-rounders with St. Louis that also netted Washington a sixth-rounder. The Redskins gained a needed receiver in first-rounder Rod Gardner (Clemson) and a possible starter in second-round cornerback Fred Smoot (Mississippi State). Fifth-round receiver Darnerian McCants (Delaware State) and sixth-round defensive tackle Mario Monds (Cincinnati) should play reserve roles.
"You always feel good at this point, but none of them has played a down yet," Schottenheimer said. "Until these guys go and play, we can all speculate whether it's good, bad or different."
Schottenheimer said the team targeted Rosenfels with the 109th overall selection, over a middle linebacker or guard, after a private workout dispelled worries over his arm strength. Rosenfels led Iowa State to a victory in the Insight.com Bowl, the school's first bowl game since 1978. The two-year starter combined for 2,679 yards last year, second most in school history. Rosenfels' 10 touchdowns were the most by a Cyclones quarterback since 1962.
Schottenheimer likened Rosenfels (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) to Baltimore quarterback Elvis Grbac, saying the former's mobility and field vision were primary assets.
"When you see a guy with the qualities you like, the intelligence and ability to make all different throws, you don't want to pass a guy up like that," Schottenheimer said. "The learning curve for the young man [is] better than some. He's started to make some progress."
Rosenfels, who has never lived outside of Iowa where he comes from a town of 7,000, is married and is expecting a child in July. Aside from hopes of buying new golf clubs with his bonus money, he seemingly has few plans other than to prove himself.
"[The Redskins] felt with proper coaching I was pretty good now, but I could learn and be even better," Rosenfels said. "Potential is a strange word in that it means you have the potential to do something but haven't done it yet."
McCants (6-4, 210) should become the Redskins' fourth receiver over incumbent Derrius Thompson. He is also a possible kick returner despite having never done it.
The Arundel High School graduate attended Delaware State on a combination football/track scholarship after winning the 1995 Maryland high jump championship. McCants scored 18 touchdowns on 36 catches last season, including a 64-yard touchdown reception and 51-yard onside kickoff touchdown return against Howard.
"As a little kid, if you score you get your name in the paper," McCants said of his scoring penchant. "I get to show it to my parents and grandparents."
Schottenheimer wasn't concerned over McCants' 4.41-second time in the 40-yard dash. He's expected to stretch defenses and use his size advantage over smaller defenders.
"He's not a real quick, darting guy, but the further he runs the faster he gets," Schottenheimer said. "The combination of skill and hard work might enable him to become a contributing player."
Said McCants: "I don't think I'm that quick at all, but I do have good speed. I definitely use my body to catch the ball. That comes from basketball like boxing out."
Monds (6-4, 328) was considered a mid-round pick whose extra weight probably cost him a couple rounds. The son of former All-America Nebraska safety Wonderful Monds Jr. said mentally overcoming a 1999 knee injury caused him to start slowly last season and lower his draft value.
"I went into the season playing not to get hurt," he said. "I should have just gone out there and given all I had. I felt I had the potential [to be drafted higher], but I guess everybody just saw my weight."
Schottenheimer believes that if Monds spends time in the Redskins weight room with strength coach Dave Redding, who played with Monds' father at Nebraska, then the sixth-rounder should be in better shape to contribute.
"With his size and quickness, Mario has a chance to compete for a spot," Schottenheimer said. "He has to learn how to use his hands better, but he has good initial quickness."

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