Redskins welcome 3 pass-catchers from draft weekend Print
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Monday, 28 April 2008 13:06
NFL Headline News

 ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -The receiver known as ``Showtime'' was given jersey No. 85. He's the kid who grew up in the shadow of the University of Michigan, yet attended Michigan State.
The tight end whose nicknames range from ``Bone Crusher'' to ``Freddie Franchise'' to ``Problem Solver'' to ``Fast Freddie'' got No. 86. He's the Toledo guy who's never been forgiven by Ohio State fans for spurning the Buckeyes to attend Southern California.
Then came another receiver, this one without a nickname, posing for pictures with No. 84. He grew up in Texas, yet played for Oklahoma. And he was a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fans until ``about two days ago.''
Want to get good at changing allegiances? Become a football player. Or, more specifically, a second-round draft pick by the Washington Redskins.
``It's not as hard as everyone thinks it is,'' said Malcolm Kelly, the Longview, Texas, native who's had to abandon loyalties to both of his state's biggest college and pro teams. ``You have to play for who you play for.''
Monday was the annual day when all seemed right and good at Redskins Park, the day when the top draft picks and their families are flown into town to meet with the coaches and the media. Washington didn't have a first-round selection, having traded the pick to Atlanta, so the trio of second-rounders donned impeccable suits and got the full welcome-to-the-big-time treatment.
``It's maroon and gold, right?'' said Devin Thomas, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native who wound up at Michigan State, when asked to name the Redskins colors.
Nope. Burgundy and gold.
``Sorry,'' he said. ``I'm getting there.''
The color scheme has been a running joke ever since new coach Jim Zorn mistakenly made the Redskins a ``maroon and black'' team at his introductory news conference in February. So when tight end Fred Davis got it right - ``I'm really excited to be a part of the burgundy and gold'' - the employees gathered in the auditorium broke out in laughter and applause.
``I was a little nervous about the SC colors,'' chimed in Zorn, referring to the similar colors - cardinal and gold - Davis wore at Southern Cal.
Actually, it was appropriate that the Redskins gave the three equal treatment, because they all essentially do the same thing: catch passes.
``I hope there's just a whole bunch of footballs going around,'' Thomas said with a laugh.
Seriously, Zorn's new playbook might have to include a formation with four wideouts, two tight ends and only three offensive linemen - plus two footballs for quarterback Jason Campbell to throw - to keep everyone satisfied. After all, this is a team that already features established receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El and Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley.
``We're going to have three wide receivers and one tight end. We're going to have four wide receivers. We could also put five wide receivers on the field now,'' Zorn said. ``I could see a lot of combinations. That's the flexibility that we have. ... And if we get somebody nicked up, we won't lose anything with the firepower we can put on the field. There's all kinds of things coming in my mind as we go along.''
The flexibility comes with a cost. By loading up on targets for Campbell, the Redskins didn't address other needs - defensive line, safety, linebacker - until much later in the draft or not at all.
The Redskins did add to those positions Monday when they signed 13 undrafted players, any of whom could be an overlooked gem similar to Stephon Heyer, the rookie free agent who ended up starting five games at tackle last year. The draftees and nondraftees will join the returning players for a three-day minicamp starting Friday, when Zorn will run his first practices as a head coach.
The three draft picks smiled and said the right things Monday. Thomas and Kelly want to learn from Moss and Randle El. Davis had a brief chat with Cooley and realizes he needs to become a better blocker.
In particular, Kelly, who on Saturday said he has something to prove to all the teams that passed him by, was ready to turn a new page. Kelly's reputation took a hit when he posted a disappointing time in the 40-yard dash during a predraft workout and then tried to use the condition of the turf as an excuse.
Kelly's father, Moses, said the outburst was out of character for his son - ``He didn't take time to take a breath afterward and just starting talking'' - and Kelly himself said the Redskins ``must not have been too worried about it.''
``It is what it is. That's the last time I will ever do any of those (predraft) drills,'' Kelly said with obvious relief, ``so I'm not really worried about it anymore.''
 

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