Champ Bailey


Considered by many the best athlete in April's college draft, Bailey immediately showed his big-play capability by intercepting a pass from QB Drew Bledsoe in the preseason opener against New England and returning it 46 yards for a touchdown. Bailey added a second interception in the next preseason game, against Buffalo.

A multifaceted player at Georgia, Bailey last season won the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to top defensive player in college football. He also was second on the team with 47 receptions, including five for touchdowns. He was the seventh overall pick in the 1999 draft.

Coach Norv Turner has not ruled out using Bailey as a wide receiver for a play or two in the season opener against Dallas. Bailey also may handle kick returns at some point. For now, though, Turner wants Bailey to focus on learning all he can about playing cornerback from 17-year veteran Darrell Green.

Bailey's addition means the Redskins once again have balance at cornerback. Last season, with Cris Dishman off to a slow start, opponents didn't hesitate to exploit his side of the field.

Jon Jansen


The struggles of the Redskins' offensive line proved a recurring story last season. Injuries were a chronic problem, and the team used five combinations of players to compensate. Center Cory Raymer was the only lineman to play the same position in every game, as guards were converted to tackles and vice versa, with mixed results.

The Redskins hope that Jansen, who they selected in the second round of April's draft, will stabilize matters at right tackle. Highly regarded for his toughness and leadership at Michigan, Jansen quickly moved into a starting role with the Redskins.

He is 6 feet 6, 302 pounds -- and he's a fighter.

Most importantly, he brings the quality the Redskins need most from their offensive linemen: durability. Jansen set a Michigan record with 50 consecutive starts. And he made it through training camp without so much as a turned ankle, even though the coaches worked him mercilessly.

Shawn Barber


Barber's success while filling in for the injured Ken Harvey last season earned him a promotion from third-down specialist as a rookie to starting right linebacker in his second season after leaving Division I-AA Richmond as a fourth-round draft choice.

To prepare for the job, Barber spent much of the offseason working with strength coach Dan Riley to build bulk and power. Now 6 feet 2 and 224 pounds, his preseason results suggest he did both without losing speed, which was a major concern.

So far, Barber looks to be one of those smaller-college gems that former general manager Charley Casserly often turned up in the middle rounds of a draft. Coaches love his quickness and flair for getting to the ball.

The Redskins are gambling this season at linebacker, where all three players are either first-time starters or playing new positions. In going with Barber and Greg Jones on the outside and Derek Smith in the middle, the coaches are figuring youth and speed are better than experience and heavy-duty strength.