By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Vinny Cerrato, executive vice president of football operations for the Washington Redskins, spoke openly of his club's many needs entering this NFL draft after the team was unusually quiet in free agency. Going into the second day, in which it has six picks, most of those holes remain.
Washington again did not address its defensive line -- a concern in recent years with a lack of a consistent pass rush -- having last taken a defensive tackle or end in the first round in 1997, and needs depth on the offensive line as well. Cerrato said before the draft that he hoped to add offensive and defensive linemen, as well as a safety, cornerback, linebacker, fullback and quarterback in this draft, but selected only two wide receivers and a tight end with three second-round picks yesterday. According to Cerrato, new defensive coordinator Greg Blache had no problems with the preponderance of those picks.
"He actually was in" the war room, Cerrato said of Blache, "and said, 'Hey, take the best guy on the board.' Whenever we've gotten in trouble in the past is when you try to jump to somewhere else to try to satisfy a need."
Several players who could have addressed Washington's void at defensive end (Calais Campbell, Jason Jones and Quentin Groves), defensive tackle (Trevor Laws) or backup center-guard (Mike Pollak) were drafted in the range of Washington's three second-round picks, as well as two cornerbacks.
The final four rounds of the draft begin this morning, and several players the Redskins are high on remain available. The Redskins have only three safeties under contract and could take Kareem Moore of Nicholls State or defensive back Justin McKinney (Kansas State).
A run on defensive tackles such as Dre Moore (Maryland) and Letroy Guion (Florida State) is possible in the third round -- Washington is badly seeking a young tackle to help collapse the pocket, sources said -- and the Redskins have high grades on defensive lineman Marcus Dixon (Hampton), sources said. Center Steve Justice (Wake Forest) is another possibility, and the Redskins had personal visits with quarterbacks Josh Johnson (San Diego) and Erik Ainge (Tennessee) and could select one of them.
Washington's next pick comes at 96 overall -- a compensatory pick at the end of the third round -- then again at pick 103 of the fourth round. The Redskins lack a fifth-round pick, then pick 186th in the sixth round and have three seventh-round picks (two of them compensatory selections at the end of the round).Portis Gets Restructured Deal
The Redskins have guaranteed the next two seasons of running back Clinton Portis's contract, according to league sources, after restructuring his contract again this offseason and giving him a new $9.32 million signing bonus to lower his cap figure. Portis is guaranteed $15 million through the 2010 season (though not all of his 2010 salary is guaranteed), a significant investment in a 26-year-old running back who has struggled through injuries and conditioning issues. . . .
The Redskins have issued roughly $48 million in roster and option bonuses to players on the roster in 2008, according to NFL Management Council reports. Their signing-bonus spending is second-most in the league despite the team not investing any bonus money on outside free agents.