By the time General Manager Bobby Beathard had read off the name of the last of the Washington Redskins' six draft selections yesterday, the trend toward rebuilding the offense, which began in the opening session Tuesday, had turned into a landslide.
Of the 13 players obtained through the draft and trades, only two play defense, and one of those has a bad knee.
"We wanted to do better for the defense," Beathard said after adding three wide receivers, a quarterback and two offensive linemen to the roster during the draft's second day. "It just didn't work out that way. We were just taking the best players on the board and they all were offensive players.
"But we still think we can get help for the defense between now and training camp. At any rate, we are a much better team now than we were before the draft began.Look at the offensive holes we filled. No way could I have dreamed we would do so well."
Coach Joe Gibbs believes the Redskins have become quicker, stronger and more explosive, especially at running back, on the offensive line (five new players) and at quarterback (three drafted). But two problems, which had been given top priority, remain: depth at linebacker and on the defensive line.
One of those weaknesses might be alleviated if the Redskins acquire Joe Ehrmann, the disgruntled and much injured Baltimore defensive lineman. Although not an all-star, Ehrmann could be a big help at tackle. The teams have talked about a deal, but the Redskins refuse to part with the high draft choices the Colts have demanded.
After Tuesday's wild proceedings, yesterday's session was exceedingly calm.
Beathard made only one trade -- acquiring two 10th-round choices from Cleveland in exchange for an eighth-round selection next season -- while adding six players to the seven, including halfback Joe Washington, he obtained the first day.
Yesterday's draft picks were:
eighth round: Charlie Brown, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound wide receiver from South Carolina State, who Beathard decided was worth drafting just last week. Brown caught only 19 passes last season, but he has excellent speed and impressive hands. His size could be a problem, although Beathard considers him the Redskins' major sleeper in the draft.
Ninth round: Darryl Grant, a 6-1, 276-pound guard from Rice who Beathard described as the best long kick snapper in college last season. He is expected to give Jeff Bostic competition in centering for the kickers this year, although No. 3 pick Russ Grimm also can fill that role.
Tenth round: Phil Kessel, a 6-2, 180-pound quarterback from Northern Michigan who threw for more than 5,000 yards in college. The Redskins thought so highly of Kessel that they engineered the trade with Cleveland in order to select him. Beathard said Kessel has a chance to make the roster, since Gibbs wants to keep three quarterbacks.
Tenth round: Allan Kennedy, a 6-7, 275-pound offensive tackle from Washington State who is a Canadian citizen. Beathard said other NFL teams shied from him, figuring he would play in the Canadian Football League. "He has told us he wants to play here," Beathard said. If either Kessel or Kennedy make the final roster, Cleveland receives a sixth instead of an eighth pick.
Eleventh round: Jerry Hill, a 6-1, 180-pound wide receiver from North Alabama who is the son of former Chicago Bear Harlan Hill. Another receiver with good speed but from a small college.
Twelfth round: Clint Didier, a 6-3, 238-pound wide receiver from Portland State who was the primary target of record-setting quarterback Neil Lomax. Didier was one of the largest wide receivers in the draft.
The Redskins, who had only seven picks a month ago, made four trades, including one earlier in the month, to acquire Washington and the 12 rookies. In the process, they gave away their first and eighth selections for next season. But six, and possibly as many as eight, of those drafted could be around on opening day.
Now Beathard has to deal with his defensive problems. He expects to sign at least five free-agent linebackers and there is some optimism that Larry Kubin of Penn State, drafted by the Redskins on the sixth round, will decide to turn professional and pass up his last year of college eligibility. Before hurting a knee, Kubin was considered the fourth-best linebacker available in the draft. Farley Bell, a fifth-round selection last year who quit in training camp but is back on the team, has been moved from end to linebacker, as has Dallas Hickman.
The quality of the defensive line, and the need for trades there, will hinge on the progress of end Mat Mendenhall, last year's No. 2 choice. If he can become a starter, as the Redskins are planning, Coy Bacon will become a third-down pass rushing specialist. The coaches also think Dexter Manley, this year's fifth-round pick from Oklahoma State, could be used as a pass rush specialist.
"We also need a cornerback for depth," Gibbs said. "I think we will listen very hard to trades and look for free agents. But we don't feel we need to rush into anything."
The draft could contribute two starters to this season's offensive line, No. 1 pick Mark May and Grimm, and one at running back, Washington. And quarterbacks Tom Flick and Kessel have excellent chances of sticking.
"Maybe I'm excited, but I know we are a much better offensive team than before the draft," Gibbs said. "We are more physical. We've helped our offensive line, we've totally revamped our quarterback situation, we've added speed in the backfield. I think we can score points and move the football. I want to be aggressive on offense and this should do it."