The Washington Redskins used their first choice in the 1978 college draft yesterday to select Tony Green, a running back from the University of Florida, in the sixth round.

Green, 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, was the 159th player taken in the draft. General Manager Bobby Beathard described him as "an unusual runner with great ability and an excellent receiver and return man on punts and kickoffs. He's a game-breaker.

"I'm sure you're asking why, if he's so good why he is still there (in the sixth round). It's size and Tony hasn't been known as the greatest practice player. But he's a great game player and he's capable of making a contribution."

In his senior year at Florida, Green gained 726 yards in 119 carries for a 5.8-yard average. He scored eight touchdowns, caught seven passes for 34 yards and returned three kickoffs for a 17-yard average.

Redskin Coach Jack Pardee described Green as "an exciting-type back with good speed and good hands. We felt he was the best athlete available. He has the speed to get outside. We had him rated all along as having the ability to make an NFL team."