The Washington Redskins may have found the solution to their goal-line problems by drafting fullback Manuel White of UCLA in the fourth round yesterday with their first pick on the second day of the NFL draft. The Redskins also picked linebacker Robert McCune (Louisville) in the fifth round, linebacker Jared Newberry (Stanford) in the sixth round and fullback Nehemiah Broughton (The Citadel) in the seventh round, giving them six picks in all this weekend.
The Redskins traded down in the fourth round to start the day, picking up Minnesota's fourth- and fifth-round picks in the process (Washington did not initially have a fifth-round selection). Coach Joe Gibbs said White (6 feet 2, 244 pounds) will work primarily with the H-backs in camp, but also can help as a short-yardage runner and on special teams. The Redskins scored only six rushing touchdowns last season and often sputtered inside the 5-yard line.
Fullback Manuel White "can give you a goal-line guy and can knock people back," Coach Joe Gibbs said.
(Paul Sakuma -- AP)
"He can give you a goal-line guy and knock people back," Gibbs said. White said during a conference call that he has limited experience at H-back, but added, "I have no problem doing whatever it takes to help the team." White suffered through two injuries and split time in the Bruins' backfield, which caused his draft status to slide.
McCune, 26, spent three years after high school in the Army, including stints in South Korea and Kuwait, walked on at Louisville, earned a scholarship after one semester for his prowess on special teams and later blossomed at linebacker. "I was just going to pay my way with my money from the G.I. Bill," he said. Antonio Pierce, who starred at middle linebacker for Washington last season, went to the New York Giants via free agency, and veteran inside linebacker Mike Barrow was signed as a free agent last year but has yet to play because of a left knee problem.
Gibbs described McCune (6 feet, 245 pounds) as unique. "The only thing I'm going to say is wait until you see this guy," Gibbs said, and called middle linebacker "a spot where somebody can make our team." Barrow will undergo a final MRI exam on his knee May 6, Gibbs said, and the Redskins hope he will be cleared to run after that. His injury, which includes a detailed rehabilitation, stems from a ligament problem in his lower thigh that is very difficult to monitor. The Redskins also have been working with linebacker Lemar Marshall, who had a breakout season in 2004, to move him from an outside position to the middle.
Newberry Is a Smart Guy
Newberry (6-1, 234 pounds) played occasionally at safety and fullback in college but spent his senior season entirely at outside linebacker. Gibbs said the Redskins will move him inside. Newberry earned various academic scholarships, and his grandfather and two uncles played baseball in the Negro leagues. Broughton (5-11, 250 pounds) underwent reconstructive knee surgery in 2003 and will be used primarily on special teams, Gibbs said, but will get a look as a goal-line threat as well. . . .
Gibbs said he expects about 40 to 50 players to participate in this weekend's rookie camp. That total includes 2005 draft picks, undrafted free agents and workout players. . . .
After long shunning the shotgun formation, Gibbs said it is possible the team will implement it in long-yardage situations this season. . . .
Despite looking at many players at defensive line and wide receiver, the Redskins drafted none, but could add several defensive linemen as undrafted free agents, Gibbs said.