- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder yesterday made it absolutely clear what he wants should the team stay put and pick sixth overall in Saturday’s NFL Draft.

“We’re looking for a perennial Pro Bowl player, a dominating player,” he said during the Redskins’ predraft press conference, which included coach Joe Gibbs and vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato.

Snyder, who speaks to the media once a year, also admitted disappointment at last year’s 5-11 debacle and added “we expect to be better” in 2007.

But foremost on the minds of the Redskins’ braintrust is how to improve via this weekend’s draft. The team has picks in the first, fifth, sixth (two selections) and seventh rounds.

While they don’t have a lot of picks, the chip they possess in round one is something that can be parlayed into additional selections if the team is willing to move down.

“We’ve talked about moving up, talked about moving back and talked about staying right where we’re at,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs would like to end the weekend with a full complement of 2008 picks. They already have traded a fourth-rounder to Denver as part of the T.J. Duckett deal. That seemingly would eliminate moving up to get coveted Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson.

The Redskins’ two primary needs are a pass-rushing defensive end and a defensive tackle, and there will be several players available who could pay immediate dividends.

But when asked whether the team will draft for need or the best player available at No. 6, Cerrato curiously said the latter. It is hard to fathom the Redskins taking Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson or Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn should they fall. The common sense selection would be Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. LSU safety LaRon Landry is also gaining momentum.

“When you’re picking sixth, the biggest thing you don’t want to do is draft for need,” Cerrato said. “What you want to get at that pick is an impact guy, no matter the position. To take somebody of need that may go 15th or 18th instead of sixth is not smart.”

No matter who the Redskins select, Gibbs said that player doesn’t necessarily have to start right away. That could mean the Redskins like Okoye, who is 19, and Landry, who would learn from three veteran safeties.

“At the sixth pick, you’re looking long term,” Gibbs said. “Can this player play 10 to 12 years? And although it’s initially crowded at his position, we would feel like he’ll play there long term and has a chance to go to Pro Bowls. It doesn’t mean he’ll have to do it the first year.”

Aside from draft questions, Snyder addressed a number of topics:

• He did not consider hiring a general manager or reworking the front office. The Redskins are one of the few teams in the NFL without a general manager or front office person who has the ultimate say on personnel matters.

“Everybody was very disappointed, and it was a rough season, and a lot of things took place that we think we’re making progress on and going in the right direction with,” Snyder said. “It didn’t stem from our [front office] structure. It just ended being a tough season. I don’t think two seasons ago there were calls for a rally [about hiring a general manager.]”

• He personally attended the workouts of Johnson and Okoye.

“[Johnson’s workout] was really impressive,” Snyder said. “We’ve had dinner with 25 of the first-round picks, and we tried to cover as much ground as we could in a limited amount of time.”

• He was satisfied with what the Redskins accomplished in free agency.

“We’ve improved,” Snyder said. “We’ve got a tremendous middle linebacker in London Fletcher, who we’re pleased to have, and we’ve welcomed back Fred Smoot, who fits us well and grew up as a Redskin.”

• He said commissioner Roger Goodell’s hard-line approach to character issues didn’t greatly effect the Redskins’ draft board.

“We were ahead of that curve,” Snyder said. “The Redskins’ standards are tough.”

Gibbs added the Redskins are giving “no credence” to reports that Johnson, Okoye and Clemson’s Gaines Adams admitted marijuana use.

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