"He sure looks beautiful, but can he dance?," Emlen Tunnell the late Hall of Fame defensive back, used to ask about rookie football players. The Redskins, despite no choices in the first five rounds of the college draft, believe there are still several peachfuzz picks who can make the 43-man roster this fall.
"I'm excited about our draft," Bobby Beathard, the team's new general manager insisted yesterday after the Redskins had added six players to their roster in rounds eight through 12, including a quarter-back with some flashy statistics out of Santa Clara, the school that produced Dan Pastorini.
"I would think that all of our kids can come in, compete and make a good showing," Beathard said. "I'd say we've got three people in this group (of draftees) who can make our team, and we've got a couple of free agents who will make a run for it, too."
The Redskins began the second day of the draft by trading Joe Harris, a linebacker who played on special teams last season, to the San Francisco 49ers in order to improve their position in the eighth round.
With the 49ers' selection - the eighth choice in the round - they chose Walker Lee, a wide receiver on a North Carolina team that hardly ever threw the ball last season. With their own choice, they replaced Harris with Don Hover, a linebacker from Washington State.
The quarterback came on the ninth round, and while Billy Kilmer and Joe Theismann hardly will quake in their cleats, Beathard believes John Hurley, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, just may be a prospect for the future.
In the 10th round the Redskins took Scott Hertenstein, a defensive end from Azusa Pacific College; in the 11th Mike Williams, a cornerback from Coach Jack Pardee's alma mater, Texas A&M, and in the 12th offensive guard Steve McCabe from Bowdoin College.
Lee was a walk-on at North Carolina after playing quarterback in high school in High Point. "It was king of frustrating never catching the ball," he said. "I'm just happy the Redskins showed any interest at all."
Lee, who says he has run the 40 yards in 4.4 seconds, caught 16 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns last season.
"He's got the speed, quickness and cutting ability you look for," said Beathard. "We were looking for help at flanker, and he'll be a good special teams player."
Hover sat out a year at Washington State in 1976 to earn enough money to support his wife and 2-year-old son. Beathard described him as a "very intense, intelligent player with good speed "who can play inside or outside linebacker."
Hurley already had been earning a living as an accountant in San Jose after graduating last December from Santa Clara.
Although he alternated as a starter his junior year and missed three games with a broken right index finger his senior season, Beathard said Hurley showed more than enough promise to justify a ninth-round pick.
"He's the type of quarterback with the potential one day to play in this league," Beathard said. "His coach, Pat Malley, had Pastorinia and a kid named Mike Nott (formerly with the Cheifs) go to the pros. They play a pro-style offense. I'm not selling him as a kid who's ready to play right now. But we are looking for him to come in behind the two we've got now."
Before Hurley broke the finger on his throwing hand in the third game of the 1977 season, he had passed for 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns with a 63 percent completion average and only one interception.
Despite the injury against San Jose State, incurred early in the game, Hurley went on to complete 19 of 30 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns that day.
And as a junior, Hurley came off the bench in the second half against Nevada-Reno in one of the wildest games in Santa Clara's history . With his team trailing 42-17 at intermission. Hurley came out smoking, hitting 28 of his 42 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns. He put 31 points on the board, even though Santa Clara lost the game, 56-48.
Hurley's father, who played under Amos Alonzo Stagg at the College of the Pacific in 1943, was drafted by the Redskins in the mid-1940s as an end. He chose law school, however, and never made it east.
"Don't worry, I'm coming," Hurley said.
Beathard said all teams in the NFC East had upgraded themselves in the draft, particularly the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giiants. "The Cowboys didn't have to upgrade," he said, "but they got some players, too.
"Even though we didn't pick early, it's not like we don't have some young players who can come in and help us. We've got a lot of guys coming back from injured reserve, people like Duncan McColl (a defensive end), Reggie Haynes ( tight end) and Brian Fryver (wide receiver) who will help us. Those are our top draft choices, and I think we're going to have a very competitive camp."