Despite a trade that sent cornerback Tory Nixon, the Washington Redskins' top pick in the 1985 draft, to the San Francisco 49ers yesterday, General Manager Bobby Beathard and Coach Joe Gibbs say they feel satisfied with the high draft picks they have made over the years.
"You're not betting on absolutes here," Gibbs said, referring to the draft. "You're betting on people."
And since Beathard began directing the team's choices in 1978, some of the Redskins' draft-day bets have paid off handsomely.
In that period of time, the Redskins have used their top two picks in each draft to acquire 10 players now with the team: Raphel Cherry, Bob Slater, Steve Hamilton, Darrell Green, Vernon Dean, Mark May, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, Don Warren and Rich Milot.
In 1985, the Redskins' top two choices were Nixon, chosen in the second round, and Cherry, a free safety, taken in the fifth. Of the 12 players drafted, Washington also retains cornerback/strong safety Barry Wilburn, who was taken in the eighth round; guard Raleigh McKenzie, chosen in the 11th, and defensive tackle Dean Hamel, taken in the 12th.
The Redskins have two other players from this year's draft on injured reserve: running back Lionel Vital (seventh round) and tight end Terry Orr (10th round).
With six of the 12 players drafted making the 45-man roster and two others on injured reserve, Beathard and Gibbs are pleased.
"In evaluating the draft, you've got to look at it overall," Gibbs said. "Everyone has a tendency to jump the gun and look at only the higher picks. But if you look at it overall, this draft is probably second only to our first one (in 1981)."
In 1981, the Redskins used their first two picks to get tackle Mark May in the first round and guard Russ Grimm in the third. In later rounds, they obtained defensive end Dexter Manley (fifth), guard Darryl Grant (ninth ) and tight end Clint Didier (12th). Charlie Brown (eighth round), recently traded to Atlanta, and Larry Kubin (sixth), traded yesterday to Buffalo, also were chosen in the 1981 draft.
In 1984, the Redskins' first choice, in the second round, was Slater, a defensive tackle who was on injured reserve all last season and has been declared physically unable to perform this season. Their second choice, also in the second round, was Hamilton.
Jay Schroeder (third round), running back Keith Griffin (10th) and tight end Anthony Jones (11th) are also products of the 1984 draft.
The first-round choices in the 1982 and 1983 drafts still are with the team, but the second choices from each draft were waived before the start of the regular season.
Green, a cornerback and the first-round pick in 1983, is still a Redskin, but the second-round choice, running back Richard Williams, was waived before the start of the season. Charles Mann, taken in the third round, is the only other player who the Redskins retain from that draft.
Dean, the Redskins' top 1982 pick -- he was taken in the second round -- still is with the team. But wide receiver Carl Powell, taken in the third round, was waived before the start of that season. Defensive end Todd Liebenstein and strong safety Ken Coffey still are with the team, although Coffey is on injured reserve.
In 1980, Washington used its top two picks to take Monk (first round) and defensive end Mat Mendenhall (second). Mendenhall was waived before the start of the 1984 season, during which Monk caught a record 106 passes and earned all-pro honors. No other players drafted by Washington in 1980 still are with the team.
In 1979, the first two players the Redskins took were Warren, in the fourth round, and Milot, in the seventh. Of the three other players selected that year, only linebacker Monte Coleman is with the team.
In 1978, Beathard's first year as general manager, the Redskins' first two selections were Tony Green in the sixth round and Walker Lee in the eighth round. Green, a running back, was waived before the start of the 1979 season and Lee, a wide receiver, was waived before the 1978 season.