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Redskins Are Exploring All Scenarios

Team 'Looking at Adding A Number of Players'

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page D01

The Washington Redskins said yesterday that they would consider all options with regard to their two first-round picks in this weekend's draft, including moving up, trading down or picking two players.

Tuesday, Vinny Cerrato, vice president of football operations, said the Redskins had ruled out moving up in the draft -- "We're looking at adding a number of players and not just one guy" -- but said yesterday that the Redskins have contacted every team in the league about trading up or down.

Joe Gibbs
Joe Gibbs
Coach Joe Gibbs at Wednesday's press conference. Gibbs made a trip to Auburn to see quarterback Jason Campbell on Tuesday. (Katherine Frey For The Washington Post)

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When asked during yesterday's news conference if the team would consider packaging the ninth and 25th picks to move into the top five, owner Daniel Snyder responded, "Absolutely."

With the Redskins effectively opening themselves up to all options, there are now numerous things that can happen on Saturday. The draft was already considered a difficult one to gauge because many teams with high picks want to trade down; now the prognostications are almost impossible.

Many draft analysts regard Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards as the best talent available -- he is expected to go within the top five picks -- and an NFL personnel executive who has talked to several teams in the top five said Miami (second overall) and Chicago (fourth) would be highly likely to deal their top pick for Washington's picks.

Other analysts believe Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams's stock is on the rise and he might be the first wideout taken.

Following Coach Joe Gibbs's trip to Auburn to see quarterback Jason Campbell on Tuesday, ESPN reported the Redskins are considering him with the 25th pick. The Redskins could then use the ninth pick on a cornerback, either Auburn's Carlos Rogers or West Virginia's Adam "Pac-Man" Jones. Three league sources who have been in regular contact with the Redskins indicated Rogers is the front-runner at this point.

The Redskins acquired the Denver Broncos' first-round pick Tuesday in exchange for Washington's first- and fourth-round picks next season and its third-round pick this season. Most draft observers believe the talent level in the top of the first round on Saturday is the weakest it has been in many years but that the wide receiver and cornerback crop is strong, something team officials pointed out yesterday. The Redskins brought in almost all of the top cornerbacks and wide receivers for visits this month.

"We think [pick] nine has got a real value for us," Gibbs said, "and we think [pick] 25 does. And [Tuesday's trade] also gives us flexibility if we want to do something there. All options are open for us and obviously we think we've got certain needs, but also we want to be prepared all the way across the board. There are two things that come up: Number one is need and the second thing would be best player" available.

A source with knowledge of the meeting between Gibbs and Campbell said Campbell came away confident he had impressed the Redskins, while Snyder cautioned that it would be erroneous to read too much into any meeting with a prospect, even so close to the draft. Gibbs confirmed an ESPN report that he was on the Auburn campus Tuesday but would not specify which player he was visiting. Several league sources said he met Campbell (Rogers had already been to Redskins Park to meet team officials).

"I've heard Jason might move into the first round so I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins chose him with that pick," said an NFL agent who talked with Redskins officials yesterday. "I know they're trying to trade out of that pick. I think they're trying to trade down to draft Carlos [Rogers], but they're running a risk because he might not be there at Nos. 10, 11 or 12."

One scenario from an agent yesterday that might work for the Redskins: Trade the No. 9 pick to a team that wants a defensive lineman, perhaps San Diego or Houston, which have the 12th and 13th picks respectively. Because Detroit (pick No. 10) and Dallas (No. 11) are expected to take defensive players, moving ahead of them would allow the Chargers or Texans to take Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, Maryland linebacker-defensive end Shawne Merriman or Demarcus Ware of Troy.

Gibbs said the speculation about drafting a quarterback would not hurt Patrick Ramsey, who has been named next season's starter. Ramsey contemplated demanding a trade last offseason when the Redskins traded for former Pro Bowl passer Mark Brunell. Ramsey was named the starter after Brunell faltered.

Campbell is expected to go late in the first round or early in the second round, but Cerrato said when picking so low it is impossible to "target" a specific player because so much unexpected maneuvering can occur earlier in the day. Cerrato said he has a firm grasp of what other teams think heading into the draft, but annually something unusual occurs that tilts several picks to come.

"On draft day things get crazy because of supply and demand," Cerrato said. "People make crazy decisions on draft day, sometimes."

Staff writer Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.

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