The Washington Redskins have the #5 pick int the NFL draft. That’s, of course, great for a team with the core talent that the ‘Skins have. Their primary need is the defensive line. Bruce Smith retired, and we’ve got some decent guys there, but not the overpowering types that Gibbs is used to. Butz. Mann. Manley.
I’ve been thinking that the ‘Skins would trade the pick, possibly for a running back. (I’m thinking Corey Dillon, but this article indicates that his price won’t be so high.) That’s something that Gibbs did on several occasions during his first legendary stint with the team, and something that the recent years have brought us as well. The ‘Skins only have four picks in this year’s draft, and if they can get the guy they want at #10, they may swap with someone farther down the line to pick up a few extras.
The article also mentions that the ‘Skins would probably like to upgrade several other positions, including tight end.
But Gibbs — who coached Kellen Winslow Sr. while a San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator in 1979 and 1980 — uses tight ends primarily as blockers. A few scouts believe if the Redskins select a tight end, it will be in the second round, when Florida’s Ben Troupe or Georgia’s Ben Watson may still be available.
[Former Redskins Hog Mark] May agreed: “I don’t think there’s ever been as much as 25 catches by a tight end while Joe was coaching. Why would you take a Kellen Winslow to use as primarily a blocker?”
While it’s true that Gibbs always had another offensive lineman with a number in the eighties on the field, Don Warren and Rick ‘Doc’ Walker come to mind, May must be forgetting Clint Didier. Didier played on some of the same teams that May did, and he usually managed to make a fair number of catches. He had three straight years of 30 or more catches (remember, this was when more than 50 or 60 in a season was a great year) and he had four straight seasons with four or more TD grabs.
And speaking of Don Warren, I’m reminded of a game against the Giants, almost certainly in 1990, when the Redskins had former Giant Jeff Rutledge as a backup QB. During practice, Rutledge asked Gibbs what a particular defensive player was doing during a pass play.
“He’s guarding Don Warren,” was the reply. Rutledge shook his head. “The Giants don’t EVER guard Warren. Haven’t for years.”
“What did you say?” Gibbs asked.
That Sunday’s game was one of the best receptions-wise in Warren’s career. I don’t think the Giants started covering him until the third quarter. However, I also believe that the Redskins lost that game. I couldn’t find any info on it, but that’s the way I remember it.
So, while I don’t believe that the ‘Skins are going to draft a tight end very high, Joe Gibbs has had pass-catchers at the position in the past, and has made pass-catchers out of blockers when the situation called for it.