Redskins Surprise U-Md.'s Barnes

Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, April 27, 2009

After focusing on the defensive line at the outset of the NFL draft, the Washington Redskins sought secondary help yesterday and selected Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes with their third-round pick.

"I was pretty much speechless," said Barnes, who spoke with reporters on a conference call, of his reaction when the Redskins contacted him. "I really wasn't expecting them to pick me. I hadn't really talked to them too much in the process."

Washington used its first pick (No. 80 overall) on the second day of the draft to select the 6-foot, 187-pound Barnes, who was sidelined for the second half of his senior season because of a fractured shoulder blade but performed well in physical and intelligence testing at the NFL combine in February. If he makes the opening 53-man roster, Barnes, who attended Old Mill High in Glen Burnie could provide secondary depth behind starting corners DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers and compete with veteran Fred Smoot for a significant role.

"He's a very tall corner," Coach Jim Zorn said of Barnes. "He kind of reminds you of maybe a little thinner . . . Carlos Rogers. He can run fast. He can run with receivers" down the field.

Although the Redskins finished fourth overall statistically in defense last season, they have made several moves in an attempt to produce more big plays next season, including luring Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth from the Tennessee Titans and drafting Texas all-American defensive end Brian Orakpo with the 13th overall pick.

In addition to Barnes, the Redskins also took two linebackers (Cody Glenn of Nebraska, with the 158th pick, and Robert Henson of Texas Christian at 186), as well as Idaho tight end Eddie Williams at pick No. 221 and Nevada wide receiver Marko Mitchell with the 243rd selection.

Barnes, 22, said he plans to be a part of the Redskins' new-look group on defense.

"I know they just signed DeAngelo. I know Carlos is on the last year of his deal," said Barnes, whose agent, Todd France, also represents Rogers. "Smoot, he's getting a little bit older. I'm ready to get in there and compete as soon as possible and try to have an immediate impact. I do my studying. I do my research."

Barnes expects to contribute immediately because "I feel like I can compete with anybody. I'm a big corner but I also move like a smaller guy. It's not like I'm a big guy who's a long strider, [and] not very quick, I'm very quick also. I feel like, being a big corner, I can compete with the big receivers and move with the smaller receivers, too."

The Redskins, who tried to trade down and out of the third round in some scenarios, league sources said, were not among the teams that had concerns about Barnes's shoulder injury.

"It was repaired," Zorn said of Barnes's shoulder injury. "He's not going to have a problem at all."

The injury occurred during a game against Wake Forest in October while Barnes was attempting to make a tackle. Doctors inserted a pin, which is still there, into the damaged area of Barnes's shoulder, and he sat out the Terrapins' final five games while rehabilitating.

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