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For Burgundy And Gold, a Bit of Auburn

Redskins Pick Rogers, Campbell

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page E01

The Washington Redskins selected one player they hope will be able to start in the near future, cornerback Carlos Rogers, and a quarterback who likely is several years away from getting on the field in the first round of the NFL draft yesterday.

Rogers, who was taken with the ninth pick, and Jason Campbell, who went 25th overall, were teammates on Auburn's undefeated team and were players the Redskins had hoped would be available when they picked.

The Redskins select Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick, hoping he can replace Fred Smoot on defense. (AP)


_____Redskins' Draft Picks_____
Redskins' Draft Picks

FIRST ROUND -- NO. 9

Carlos Rogers

Cornerback, Auburn

Height: 6 feet. Weight: 199 pounds

Home town: Augusta, Ga.

College Highlights: Won Jim Thorpe Award this past season as the country's top defensive back and limited opponents to 18 receptions on 65 passes thrown his way. Holds Auburn record for 40 passes deflected.

FIRST ROUND -- NO. 25

Jason Campbell

Quarterback, Auburn

Height: 6-4 Weight: 223 pounds.

Home town: Taylorsville, Miss.

College Highlights: Completed 188 of 270 passes for 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns with seven interceptions last season. Holds school record for best career completion percentage (64.6) and is second in school history with 7,299 passing yards.

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Rogers, 23, addresses an immediate need, with the Redskins losing star cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot over the last two years; however, the team already has Patrick Ramsey, 26, as its starting quarterback.

Coach Joe Gibbs said the selection of Campbell, 23, will have no effect on Ramsey or veteran backup Mark Brunell, although it all but certainly ends reserve passer Tim Hasselbeck's time in Washington. Still, after studying Campbell closely and meeting him, the team opted not to pass him up.

The Redskins have three selections today in the second day of the draft, picking in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.

"I feel like we got two real solid players for us," Gibbs said, "and we're thinking they're going to have big futures for us. So we feel good about the first day."

The Redskins were in a position few believed would be possible before the draft began. Their top-rated cornerback (Rogers), a wide receiver ranked at the top of some draft boards (Mike Williams), a superior defensive lineman-linebacker who happened to play a few miles down the road in college (Shawne Merriman) and a prospect some had rated the top quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) were all available at the ninth pick. Gibbs said he was surprised to have those options, but team officials did not waver in their desire to get Rogers.

"I think what we got here, we feel like," Gibbs said, "is a shut-down corner who is physical, also, to go along with it. He was our [top] pick at corner, so that made it even easier for us."

Gibbs's biggest fear was that all three top corners -- Rogers, Antrel Rolle and Adam Jones -- would be off the board before the ninth pick, and only Rogers remained. While the Redskins explored trades to get into the top five -- ostensibly to take Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards -- Gibbs said the club did not come close to completing such a deal.

Rogers has a combination of speed and size (6 feet, 199 pounds) and won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top collegiate defensive back. The Redskins face several big wide receivers, particularly within their division, and Rogers has the size to match up with them. Gibbs described Rogers as "quiet and serious" and said the player called Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, several times.

"I wanted to be here really badly," Rogers said during a conference call with the media. "I loved my visit. I loved the coaching staff. I love the mind-set of the coaches. It's something I really felt comfortable about."

Campbell's selection will certainly add intrigue to training camp. Washington positioned itself to select him by sending three picks -- including their 2006 first-rounder -- to Denver for the 25th pick on Tuesday, but Gibbs said he still believed there was a good chance Campbell would be gone by then. Gibbs and offensive assistants Don Breaux, Jack Burns and Bill Musgrave, all of whom have extensive experience playing and/or coaching quarterbacks, began to pursue Campbell after watching his game film and felt they could not let him get away.

"In that case you take the best player there irregardless of the fact we feel like we have a good quarterback situation," Gibbs said. "We felt like his value was something we couldn't pass up."

Campbell's size (6-4, 223 pounds), accuracy, quickness, ability outside the pocket, elusiveness and arm strength -- "He can actually throw a fadeaway," Gibbs said. "He doesn't have to be stepping forward." -- caught their attention. Campbell was slow to develop at Auburn, where he played under four offensive coordinators in four years, and struggled until this past season, when he played in a system very similar to what Washington plans to run.


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