- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2002

The second of 10 Washington Redskins draft picks agreed to terms last night, keeping the team on track albeit at a somewhat slow pace to sign all its selections and avoid a training camp holdout.

Seventh-round defensive end Greg Scott joined fifth-round safety Andre Lott in the fold. Scott, 22, is a raw, athletic pass rusher whom the Redskins saw a perfect late-round grab. He performed poorly at the combine but impressed defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis in a workout at Hampton University.

The Redskins still have eight unsigned picks and one of the league's earlier camp openings (July23, thanks to the Aug.3 exhibition in Osaka, Japan), but there is little reason yet to forecast difficulty.

"We've still got a week," said agent Jimmy Sexton, who represents the Redskins' top draft choice, quarterback Patrick Ramsey. "That's an eternity in this business."

With regard to Ramsey, Sexton and the Redskins had preliminary conversations last week and plan to speak again today in further general terms. The first offers should be exchanged late this week.

Sexton also represents sixth-round tackle Reggie Coleman and is similarly unconcerned about that deal getting done. In fact, just one of his six draft picks around the league, third-round guard Terrence Metcalf of the Chicago Bears, is signed, and that agreement came yesterday.

"You can do these deals in a day if you want to," Sexton said.

Deals are being signed at about half the rate of last season, thanks to the rookie pool the salary cap within the salary cap budgeted for draft picks remaining flat from a year ago. Overall, only about 30 percent of draft picks have signed.

In a league where saving face is at a premium, both agents and teams are reluctant to ink contracts while so many players are unsigned. No one wants to get caught doing a bad deal before the market is clearly established.

Eight teams Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Oakland and Tampa Bay had not signed any draft picks as of late yesterday. Just two first-round players Houston quarterback David Carr, the top overall pick who negotiated his deal before being drafted and New York Jets defensive end Bryan Thomas had signed.

Washington continued to negotiate with several other late-round players with hopes of more signings today or tomorrow. Talks have been fairly extensive between the club and seventh-rounders Rock Cartwright (fullback) and Jeff Grau (long snapper), as well as Coleman.

The Redskins' other fifth-round pick is tight end Robert Royal. Although Royal would be easy to slot because he was drafted one place behind Lott, who signed Friday, no talks are expected until late this week.

Ramsey's signing status is the only one of serious concern to Washington, because he is the only pick with an outside chance to start. Other draftees could see playing time but are competing for reserve spots at best.

Ramsey made outstanding progress in late minicamps and, as the sessions closed, coach Steve Spurrier left open the possibility that the Tulane product might make a run at the job. Earlier in the offseason practices Spurrier wouldn't even let Ramsey participate in team drills.

The key attribute of Ramsey is his strong arm. Although he does not have the knowledge or experience of Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel or Sage Rosenfels, Ramsey so far has demonstrated the natural ability that teams covet.

Several of the Redskins' recent top picks held out several days from camp, including first-round wide receiver Rod Gardner and second-round cornerback Fred Smoot last year. A year earlier, linebacker LaVar Arrington missed three days of training camp while offensive tackle Chris Samuels (represented by Sexton) missed the three-day rookie camp that preceded full-squad camp.

The club's high-water mark for holdouts came in 1995 when wide receiver Michael Westbrook missed 26 days or all but one day of camp.

Sexton cautioned that quarterback negotiations can be more difficult than those for other positions but expressed a general expectation that Ramsey would be in camp on time.

"I think the way you always approach it is that under as many possible scenarios you want to have the players in camp on time," Sexton said. "That said, you don't want to sacrifice four or five years of a player's earnings just to get him in on Monday when you really needed until Thursday to get things done."

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