- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2008

The reserve center is still the starting 34-year old left guard with creaky knees. The competition for fourth safety is expected to include sixth- and seventh-round draft choices.

The lone defensive line addition came with the 242nd selection and has a similar build to holdovers Chris Wilson and Alex Buzbee.

The outside linebacker position, affected by injury last season to Rocky McIntosh and Marcus Washington, was not addressed.

And two of the sixth-round picks were spent on a punter (huh?) and a quarterback whose recent hip surgery will prevent him from participating in most offseason activities.

While praise should be handed out to the Washington Redskins’ current power structure of owner Dan Snyder, front office boss Vinny Cerrato, director of pro personnel Scott Campbell and coach Jim Zorn for addressing the receiver position Saturday and how they stuck to their professed belief they wouldn’t trade high draft picks for veterans, some of yesterday’s decisions were questionable and ask the basic question: Did the Redskins improve themselves this weekend?

No one will know for years, but the early prediction is, well, sort of.

“This draft class, we covered a lot of positions,” Cerrato said. “We were able to fulfill a lot of the things we went into the draft looking for.”

Some of the positions needed to be covered. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly bring size and youth to the receiver position. Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart could develop into a swing player (tackle, guard, center). Cornerback Justin Tryon is only 5-foot-9 but a physical player willing to tackle. Safeties Kareem Moore and Chris Horton add depth to a spot at which only three players are under contract.

Those were the good moves. If Thomas or Kelly pans out, it adds a new dimension to the Redskins’ slot receiver position. Rinehart would give the Redskins a second dependable young lineman. As for Moore and Horton, remember Reed Doughty was a sixth-round pick only a few years ago and is now a starter.

But this serving as a post-draft episode of Second Guess Central, a couple of the moves left a lot to be desired and could create problems if there are any kind of injuries at center (where left guard Pete Kendall is the backup), linebacker and the defensive line:

• Taking Southern Cal tight end Fred Davis in the second round Saturday night. Given the fact he’s more advanced as a receiver than a blocker, he was an odd pick.

“We didn’t go in looking for a tight end, but that’s the way it fell on the board, and we’re happy it did,” Cerrato said.

• Using a sixth-round pick on Georgia Tech punter Durant Brooks. Obviously, the message to Derrick Frost is to have a great month of August or he will be gone. But a sixth-rounder? Chances are Brooks would have been on the board in the seventh.

“We think we he was [that good],” Zorn said. “There were two other clubs that worked him out. Had we taken the chance to wait, we might not be talking about him [coming to the Redskins].”

• Drafting Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in the sixth round. Brennan underwent hip surgery April 7 and will be out at least through the organized team activities. The Redskins did need to add a fourth quarterback to compete with current No. 3 Sam Hollenbach but, again, Brennan likely would have been around in the seventh round.

• And the biggie — waiting until the second-to-last pick to take a defensive lineman (pass rusher Rob Jackson) and not drafting a linebacker of any kind. This represented Cerrato’s biggest gamble of the weekend.

At linebacker, McIntosh tore his ACL in December, and Washington showed his first signs of age by missing four games. On the line, Phillip Daniels (35) and Cornelius Griffin (31) have played a long time and have extensive injury histories. Zorn and Cerrato said picking a player who would be a long shot to make the roster wasn’t prudent.

“One of the things we don’t want to do is spend a pick in an area or on a player that we don’t think can unseat guys we have right now,” Zorn added

Overall, it will take a least a year or two to decide whether Day 2 was a winning day for the Redskins. If a kid like Tryon can beat out Leigh Torrence or John Eubanks, great. If a player like Brooks can beat out Frost in training camp, the pick was worth it.

“We have to really wait and see how these athletes learn, how they gather their information and we’ll try to do it as fast as possible,” Zorn said. “But they also have to grasp the information so they can perform.”

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