- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

When the Washington Redskins went receiver-tight end-receiver within an hour of last night’s second round, the following names should have taken note: James Thrash, Anthony Mix, Jerome Mathis, Todd Yoder and Tyler Ecker.

Those players — a mix of receivers and tight ends — saw their task of making the Week 1 roster become more difficult with the addition of Michigan State’s Devin Thomas, Southern Cal’s Fred Davis and Oklahoma’s Malcolm Kelly.

Two of those three picks made for a puzzling evening at Redskin Park for the Monday Morning Quarterback.

Taking a receiver — Michigan State’s Devin Thomas — with the 34th pick? Fine. It’s an area of need.

Taking a tight end — Davis — with the 48th pick? Puzzling considering he’s a catch-first, block-second guy and the Redskins already have one of those (Pro Bowl selection Chris Cooley).

Taking a second receiver — Kelly — three picks later? Like his size (6-foot-4), but why not take him at No. 34?

Personnel boss Vinny Cerrato defended the moves by saying the Redskins weren’t going to draft a player with a third- or fourth-round grade in the second round. He said all three players had first-round grades.

Question: Did the Redskins get good value by trading out of the first round?

Answer: On paper, yes. The team obviously felt drafting a defensive end or a wide receiver with the No. 21 pick wasn’t worth the money, so they flipped that pick (plus two others) to the Falcons for two second-rounders and a fifth-rounder.

Q: Why was Thomas available early in the second round?

A: The biggest reason Thomas in particular was still on the board was that he had only one great college season. As a sophomore, he caught only six passes. As a junior, he caught 79 passes. Some teams probably didn’t want to take a chance on a one-year wonder.

Q: A lot of the mock drafts had the Redskins taking Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling with the 21st pick. What happened?

A: Cerrato said that Merling’s sports hernia surgery last month ultimately cost him first-round money. He went No. 32 (second round) to Miami. Cerrato called Merling’s workout on Thursday “OK.” The second thing is that the Redskins got the offer from Atlanta they desired all week — the two second-round picks.

Q: How surprised was the MMQB that the Redskins chose a tight end, Davis, with the No. 48 pick?

A: Very. And we don’t really get it. Cooley is established as a Pro Bowl tight end. Yoder is a veteran who has done a solid job as a blocker. Davis was a productive player in college (62 catches), but the Redskins already have a pass-catching tight end. Davis’ addition is bad news for Ecker, a Redskin Park Media Room Cult Hero who earned a paycheck last year despite hurting his groin in the first practice of training camp.

Q: Who makes more of an impact this fall Kelly or Thomas?

A: We’ll go with Kelly. Coach Jim Zorn likes Kelly’s burst off the line of scrimmage, and he did more at the college level. But it’s going to be tough for any of the three players to make a huge impact this season because Jason Campbell’s first priorities are getting Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Cooley involved in the passing game.

Q: How bearable was the first round under the new format?

A: It flew by — 31 picks in a little more than 3½ hours compared with six-plus hours last year — thanks to 10 minutes between picks instead of 15 minutes. And the flurry of trades made things interesting. Twelve teams picked in different spots because of trades. The No. 26 pick was owned by Jacksonville, Baltimore and finally Houston.

The Ravens trading down in the first round to get Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco was expected once Matt Ryan went to Atlanta. Dallas was a big-time mover and shaker and scored with Arkansas running back Felix Jones and South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins.

Q: With the final five rounds today, what can we expect from the Redskins?

A: Although nothing surprises the MMQB when it comes to the Redskins, they should use some picks to address offensive line depth, find a swing player who can play defensive end/tackle and take a safety. The Redskins have only three safeties on the roster.

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