Redskins Add QB Brennan To Their Hit-or-Miss Haul

By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, April 28, 2008

After focusing exclusively on receivers on the first day of the NFL draft, the Washington Redskins addressed other needs yesterday, selecting Northern Iowa tackle-guard Chad Rinehart and Arizona State cornerback-kick returner Justin Tryon with their highest second-day picks. Washington also drafted Hawaii's record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan with one of their last picks in the two-day process.

The day after drafting wide receivers Devin Thomas of Michigan State and Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma and tight end Fred Davis of Southern California on Saturday, the Redskins took Rinehart (6 feet 5, 311 pounds) with their first pick in the third round (No. 96 overall). Washington then traded its fourth-round pick (No. 103) to the Tennessee Titans for a fourth-round pick (No. 124) and a fifth-round pick (No. 157), selected Tryon (5 feet 9, 190) and traded the 157th pick and the 228th pick to the St. Louis Rams for two sixth-round picks (Nos. 168 and 180).

The Redskins, who have age and injury concerns along the offensive line, were seeking to add a versatile lineman who could challenge for time at guard next season and eventually start at tackle. With cornerback Carlos Rogers recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, the Redskins were eager to add depth in the secondary.

With the second pick in the sixth round (No. 168), the Redskins chose punter Durant Brooks of Georgia Tech although they had re-signed Derrick Frost in March.

Because the team had only three safeties on the roster entering the draft, they turned their attention to that position with the 180th pick, drafting Kareem Moore of Nicholls State.

Washington used the 186th pick on Brennan, who played in a run-and-shoot offense in college. The Redskins are committed to Jason Campbell as the starter and Todd Collins as the backup quarterback, so Brennan will compete to fill the No. 3 job.

With the 242nd pick, the Redskins selected defensive end Rob Jackson of Kansas State. And they added another safety with their final pick (No. 249) in the seventh round, taking Chris Horton of UCLA. The Redskins drafted no interior defensive linemen and no linebackers.

Coach Jim Zorn said Washington would seek to sign undrafted rookies to complete the roster, with Maryland linebacker Erin Henderson, among others, a player the Redskins could sign for depth, according to league sources.

"We covered a lot of positions" in this draft, said Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations. "We were able to fulfill a lot of the things that we went into the draft looking for."

Although Rinehart started at tackle in 37 of 40 games he played for Northern Iowa, he said he is ready to move to guard if asked. Cerrato and Zorn said Rinehart also would work at center. "Really, I will play anywhere on the line I can contribute," Rinehart said in a conference call with reporters. "I went down to the Senior Bowl and played guard for the first time. By the end of the week, I felt comfortable playing it. At the same time, I played tackle in college, so I feel like I'm pretty versatile."

As for Tryon, he "is a tough kid," a scout said. "He works out better than he plays. He will hit, but he needs work on the deep ball." At least two teams had Tryon graded as a fifth-round pick, league sources said. Considered Arizona State's best cover cornerback, Tryon started all 26 games the team played during his two seasons in school.

"I bring wisdom to the game, I bring heart to the game, I was made for this," he said. "I was made to play football. I was made to be in this game like this. I bring love to the game and passion to the game. This is what I do.

"I bring explosion [as a kick returner]. My first five steps [are] so explosive, I'm going to get you to the 50 [on kickoff returns]. Any time I catch a ball, I'm going to get you to the 50."

Tryon had three interceptions last season, returning one for a touchdown. He had 19 passes defended, ranking 11th in the nation, and also had a 23.7-yard average on seven kickoff returns. Despite being only 5-9, Tryon said he prefers to face bigger wide receivers because "I can control their bodies a little bit more than little receivers," he said. "Little receivers are a little bit more shifty. I'm looking forward to guarding the T.O.s and the Chad Johnsons."

Although Rogers hopes to return for the Sept. 4 season opener, many in the organization believe he might not be ready. And even if he accomplishes his goal, it is doubtful he would be in top form at the outset, so cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Smoot are projected as the starters.

At quarterback, the Redskins had shown interest in Erik Ainge of Tennessee and Josh Johnson of the University of San Diego. Ainge and Johnson were drafted in the fifth round, with the New York Jets selecting Ainge (No. 162) and the San Diego Chargers picking Johnson (No. 160). With the draft drawing to a close and the Redskins still seeking a young quarterback, they selected Brennan (6-2, 201), whom they scouted at his pro-day workout.

"The thing that I look for, one of the strong suits of a QB, is can he hit what he's throwing at?" Zorn said. "Colt has done that. He's been a 70-percent passer. Whatever level and whatever type of defense you're going against, to throw 70-plus percent, there's some accuracy there. . . .

"And he's got the ability to move around. His lateral movement, his ability to get himself in a position to throw the ball after a play breaks down, is tremendous, I think. Hopefully, he'll be able to come in here and do that."

Some teams had backed off because of concerns about his past (he pleaded guilty to burglary and trespassing in 2004 and spent a week in jail) as well as recent issues with his health and weight, league sources said. "To be honest, as the day was progressing, I was really thinking, 'Maybe I'm a free-agent guy,' " Brennan said.

In three seasons at Hawaii, Brennan set 21 NCAA records. He passed for 14,193 yards with 131 touchdowns while completing 70.4 percent of his passes. Still recovering from surgery April 7 to repair a slightly torn labrum in his hip, Brennan is not expected to participate in this weekend's minicamp and the offseason OTAs.

"I'm doing great," Brennan said. "The doctor said that I'm on the path to full recovery. The surgery was a complete success. I'm about six weeks to being at 100 percent. For me, I just can't wait to get out there and let their doctors and their staff get me through the rehab process and get me ready for training camp."

With starters LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty and backup Vernon Fox the team's only safeties, Moore (5-11, 213) and Horton (6-1, 216) will get the chance to contribute immediately.

Jackson (6-4, 259), the defensive end, will compete for a backup spot. "There was something that John [Palermo, the team's new defensive line coach] saw in Jackson," Cerrato said.

One surprising pick was Brooks, who won the Ray Guy Award as college football's top punter last season and had a 40.58-yard net average as a senior. He is expected to compete with Frost, who had a 36.4-yard net average in 2007.

"I think the Redskins made an awesome choice," Brooks said.

Redskins Notes: The Redskins have agreed to terms with 13 undrafted free agents, including four offensive linemen, two defensive lineman and two linebackers. The team is expected to announce the signings today. . . . Because Zorn and many of his offensive assistants are new, the Redskins will wear names on the back of their jerseys during the three-day minicamp that begins Friday.

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