- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2008

NFL Scouting Combine

When: Today through Tuesday

Where: RCA Dome, Indianapolis

TV: NFL Network

Although NFL teams have scouted prospects since the fall by attending college football games and then watching the Senior Bowl workouts last month in Mobile, Ala., the process is ratcheted up this week when the coaching staffs begin meeting players and watching them work out in person. Each player goes through four days of testing, workouts and interviews. Many of the top-ranked players will not work out in Indianapolis. Teams will attend college or individual Pro Days to watch those workouts and then determine which players will be brought to their headquarters for further evaluation. The NFL Draft is April 26-27.


The Redskins’ first-round pick is No. 21, and depending on what they do in free agency, they must address several positions: pass-rushing defensive end, size at the receiver position and depth on the offensive line. Washington has traded several picks in recent years, but the Redskins have hit on their last four first-round selections: safety Sean Taylor (2004), cornerback Carlos Rogers and quarterback Jason Campbell (2005) and safety LaRon Landry (2007). The draft, Jim Zorn’s first as coach and Vinny Cerrato’s first as executive vice president, is important for the Redskins because they need to make an effort to get younger, particularly on offense.

— Ryan O’Halloran


1. Matt Ryan, Boston College: Could be the top pick if Miami boss Bill Parcells doesn’t think John Beck is the long-term answer or if a team like Atlanta trades into the top spot. Ryan (6-5, 218) threw for 4,507 yards, 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions last season for the Eagles.

2. Chad Henne, Michigan

3. Brian Brohm, Louisville

Redskins: Washington chose Jordan Palmer in the seventh round last year with the hope he could develop into a third-stringer by 2008. He didn’t make the practice squad. Wasting a second-day pick on a quarterback again wouldn’t make much sense.

Running backs

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas: On some teams’ boards, Rashard Mendenhall will get the nod because McFadden has tread on the tires. McFadden had 785 carries the last three years combined and played in the nation’s best conference. He totaled 10 100-yard games last year.

2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois

3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon

Redskins: Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Mike Sellers are set at the tailback/fullback spots. Rock Cartwright is a free agent, and if he departs, the Redskins may look for a running back who can double as a kick returner.

Receivers/tight ends

1. Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan: Manningham (6-0, 178) leads a subpar group of receivers — none of whom could go until the second half of the opening round. Manningham caught 72 passes for 12 touchdowns and 1,174 yards.

2. Fred Davis, TE, USC

3. Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma

Redskins: Tight end isn’t a priority with Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder returning and Sellers capable of playing the role as a blocker. The Redskins are expected to release Brandon Lloyd, and they need to add a No. 3 receiver who stands taller than 6 feet.

Offensive linemen

1. Jake Long, OT, Michigan. A player who has size (6-7, 331) and can start right away. He could go as high as No. 2 to St. Louis, where injuries decimated the line last year. Some experts, though, rank Ryan Clady ahead of Long.

2. Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

3. Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

Redskins: The Redskins have developed only one young lineman (Stephon Heyer) since 2004. The starters are all 30 or older. Jon Jansen (ankle) and Randy Thomas (triceps) are coming off season-ending injuries. Pete Kendall has bad knees. Offensive linemen are a priority in later rounds.

Defensive linemen

1. Chris Long, DE, Virginia: The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long won’t last past the draft’s first hour. If the Dolphins don’t address quarterback and can’t trade the pick, Parcells may go with Long to anchor the 3-4 defense. Long (6-3, 275) had 14 sacks for the Cavaliers last fall.

2. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

3. Sedric Ellis, DT, USC

Redskins: The top pass rushers won’t be available by the 21st pick, so if the Redskins are determined to add an end, Calais Campbell of Miami (Fla.) and Lawrence Jackson of USC could be available.


1. Keith Rivers, OLB, USC: A weakside linebacker who had 78 tackles for the Trojans, Rivers might be an option for the Patriots with the seventh pick, but if they pass, Cincinnati is a possibility at No. 9. Rivers might be the only linebacker selected in the top 25.

2. Dan Connor, ILB, Penn State

3. Erin Henderson, OLB, Maryland

Redskins: The team has to determine Rocky McIntosh’s timetable for returning from a knee injury. If McIntosh is iffy for training camp, the Redskins should add a versatile linebacker because Marcus Washington was banged up in 2007.

Defensive backs

1. Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas: If the Patriots lose Asante Samuel during free agency, they will need a replacement pronto. Talib (6-2) made 66 tackles, broke up 13 passes and intercepted five for the Jayhawks.

2. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

3. Kenny Phillips, S, Miami (Fla.)

Redskins: Carlos Rogers won’t be ready for the start of the season, and if the team parts ways with Shawn Springs, the Redskins either have to spend big money in free agency or go with a cornerback in the first round. A decision also has to be made at strong safety. Phillips may be an option.

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