The Washington Redskins separated the names of three college players from all the others on their draft board yesterday morning, Coach Joe Gibbs said.
They wanted them, and got them all, one-two-three: Boise State defensive lineman Markus Koch, Hawaii wide receiver Walter Murray and Kansas defensive back Alvin Walton.
But they came in unusual ways, and each with a peculiar story.
Like most drafts at Redskin Park, it was a day of comings and goings. Eleven men became Redskins, at least until this summer, and one veteran Redskin became a Kansas City Chief.
Center Rick Donnalley, a starter in 12 of the 13 games he played last season, was sent to Kansas City for a sixth-round selection that was used to draft Washington State quarterback Mark Rypien.
Rypien has an "excellent chance" to make the team, General Manager Bobby Beathard said, because the Redskins plan to keep three quarterbacks this season.
But Donnalley was odd-man out on the offensive line.
"With Jeff Bostic here, Rick probably would not have had a chance to play center here, and would have been moved to guard," Gibbs said. "It would not have been a good situation. He wants to play center, and he'll get a chance to in Kansas City."
Donnalley, obtained by the Redskins for a draft choice two years ago, played in Bostic's place when he was injured. Both are 27.
Koch, a Canadian citizen who is the son of East German defectors, became the Redskins' surprising top choice when he was selected with the third pick in the second round, the 30th choice overall.
For the 15th time in the last 18 seasons, the Redskins did not have a first-round choice.
They don't have one in 1987 anymore, either. Minutes after their first choice, they traded away next year's first-round pick for San Francisco's spot in the second round (45th overall) and chose Murray, a coveted wide receiver with legal problems in Honolulu.
Next Monday, Murray will be arraigned in the circuit court of Hawaii on a charge of trying to bribe a police officer. He was arrested Oct. 18, 1985, when he offered a police officer two tickets to a University of Hawaii football game, according to police records.
Murray was a passenger on a moped driven by a 19-year-old woman when it was stopped by the officer near campus. It is illegal for two people to ride on a moped in Hawaii. As the officer issued a traffic citation to the woman, Murray allegedly offered the tickets.
"I'm going to plead not guilty," Murray said yesterday. "I was just trying to be a good samaritan. I hope chivalry isn't dead."
If convicted, Murray would face a maximum sentence of five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The Redskins said they researched the arrest and do not believe Murray is going to go to jail.
So it was a light subject at Redskin Park.
"Well, it's the same as drafting Napoleon McCallum," Beathard said jokingly, referring to McCallum's five-year naval commitment. "It shows he doesn't live in Washington. A cop would have taken the tickets."
Were it not for a problem reaching Murray by telephone at a hotel in Oakland, Murray, not Koch, "likely" would have been the Redskins' top choice, Beathard said.
Murray and his family rented a meeting room for a party at the Claremont Resort Hotel near their home in Berkeley, Calif. There, they watched the draft on a big-screen television and waited for the phone to ring.
They didn't realize it, but there was a problem. The room did not have a telephone.
When the Redskins called the hotel prior to their first pick, they couldn't find Murray, Beathard said.
"You want to know if they're alive before you draft them," Beathard said. "I called and they told me they couldn't find him. They asked if I wanted to leave a message. I said, 'Tell him we want to draft him.' "
Mike Liepman, the hotel's resident manager, realized how serious this was and sent an assistant manager to find Murray. By the time Murray got to a house phone, the line was dead, and, for the Redskins, Koch was the next best thing to being there.
Beathard said he told Koch it would have been "likely" that Murray would have been the team's first selection. Both were regarded equally by the Redskins, but the team needs a wide receiver much more than it needs another defensive lineman.
Gibbs said wide receiver was the area that concerned him most going into the draft, while defensive end, the position Koch plays primarily (he probably will play both tackle and end here), is solid with starters Dexter Manley and Charles Mann.
But the Redskins didn't want to pass on Koch, a high school pal of Washington Capitals defenseman Scott Stevens in Kitchener, Ont. He fractured his left fibula when East-West Shrine game teammate Rueben Mayes kicked him by mistake during a practice and only recently was able to try out for NFL scouts.
Sixteen showed up in Boise last week, Beathard among them. They liked what they saw in the 6-foot-5, 270-pound lineman.
They figured it was a gamble to take Koch first, because Murray might be gone, but the flip side of the situation wasn't much better.
"Either one we took, we were afraid we'd lose the other one," Beathard said. To get Murray, the Redskins also gave up their 10th-round pick, one of three trades made by Beathard during the 18-hour day.
In the third round, the Redskins took Walton, who missed his entire senior season because he was declared academically ineligible.
Arkansas linebacker Ravin Caldwell, who fractured a kneecap in the fifth game last year and missed the remainder of the season, was selected in the fifth round. Caldwell will get a shot at outside linebacker.
In later choices, the Redskins obtained two local players: Virginia guard James Huddleston (sixth round) and Maryland running back Rick Badanjek (seventh). The Redskins also took Brigham Young linebacker Kurt Gouveia (eighth round), Texas A&M cornerback Wayne Asberry (ninth), Henderson (Ark.) State running back Kenny Fells (11th) and Idaho wide receiver Eric Yarber.
A spokesperson at the Kansas sports information department said Walton did not have the necessary 2.0 grade-point average to remain eligible to play last fall. He was one of 12 academically ineligible football players at Kansas last season.
But Gibbs said Walton, along with Koch (pronounced Cook), tested as the "two brightest" players of all those the Redskins brought in before the draft.
Walton, a cornerback in college, is likely to become a strong safety with the Redskins, which would allow them to move rookie starter Raphel Cherry to free safety, where it is thought he will perform better.
Walton, a junior-college transfer who played only one year in Division I, was a curious story at Redskin Park, but was not nearly as intriguing as Murray. Murray thought he would be selected in the first round, said he was "disappointed," and blamed the whole situation on equal parts bad luck, bad publicity and the Redskins not being able to reach him.
"Up until the arrest , my record was completely perfect," Murray said. "I never had any problems with anyone. I'm really sorry people didn't take the time to get to know about my situation . . . I was just joking. It wasn't serious. It's like Geraldine Ferraro. Everything was going perfect for her until she ran for vice president and then they tried to destroy her."
Murray, whose mother is a police detective, spent four hours in jail early in the morning of Oct. 18, after his arrest. He posted $1,000 bond after he was indicted Thursday and was given special permission to leave the state to go home to California.
"I'll give you two tickets to the UH football game if you forget about this," the police report quotes Murray as telling officer Kyle Nobrita. "What's that?" Nobrita asked, according to the report.
Murray allegedly repeated the offer, which was when he was arrested.
Honolulu deputy prosecutor Jerry Muller announced the indictment by the Oahu Grand Jury last week. If the case goes to trial, it likely would occur within six months after the arraignment.
"Let's hope that it's not going to be a problem," Gibbs said.