The Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers are considering a trade in which the Redskins would give the 12th and 24th overall selections in April's college draft to the 49ers for the third overall pick, sources close to the situation said yesterday.
The Redskins have the second choice in the draft and the deal could enable them to select two Penn State defensive standouts, linebacker LaVar Arrington and end Courtney Brown.
Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' director of player personnel, declined to comment yesterday.
According to sources, 49ers Vice President and General Manager Bill Walsh has told the Redskins and other NFL teams that the 49ers would be willing to trade the third pick. The 49ers need a widespread infusion of talent after their 4-12 season and have salary cap problems, so having two lower first-round selections might make sense for them.
The Redskins are eager to improve a defense that ranked 30th in the league during the regular season, and they believe Arrington and Brown will have an immediate impact in the NFL.
Cerrato has said the Redskins will consider taking Arrington, Brown or Florida State wide receiver Peter Warrick with the second choice. Most NFL people believe the Cleveland Browns will choose Warrick with the top selection in the draft. The Redskins probably would take Arrington second.
The Redskins also are likely to renew their pursuit of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Joey Galloway and probably would have to part with at least one of their first-round picks in a trade for him. They offered a first-round selection for Galloway during the regular season. But the Redskins would prefer to acquire San Francisco's draft choice if both deals are possible, sources said yesterday.
Cerrato has said that the Redskins will consider trade offers for their draft picks but won't allow themselves to choose lower than third to ensure that they get Warrick, Arrington or Brown.
Westbrook Says Line Is Key
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense ranked second in the NFL against the pass during the regular season and fifth against the run. But Redskins wide receiver Michael Westbrook said the key for his team's offense during Saturday's NFC semifinal will be to control Tampa Bay's defensive line.
"We have to run the ball," Westbrook said. "We have to block those guys. The secondary, to me, is average. The defensive line makes them look good."
Running back Warrick Dunn led the Buccaneers in receptions during the regular season with 64. Running backs often are covered by linebackers, but the Redskins probably will assign a defensive back to Dunn on Saturday.
"No one's going to make a living covering Dunn with a linebacker," Redskins Coach Norv Turner said.