Washington’s first three selections in the NFL Draft included two receivers and a tight end.
All three picks came in the second round thanks to a trade with Atlanta. Washington sent its first-round pick (21st), a third-round choice (84th) and a fifth-rounder (154) to Atlanta in exchange for the 34th, 48th and 103rd picks.
The Redskins then selected Michigan State receiver Devin Thomas, USC tight end Fred Davis and Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly.
They bypassed needs along both lines. They also could have used a corner, safety and even a linebacker. But they did fill a gaping hole at receiver, where they lacked anyone of size (excluding the unproven Anthony Mix). Both are taller than 6-foot-1. Thomas has more speed; Kelly has more size.
In the West Coast offense, there’s a premium on size because of the routes. Wideouts often must run shorter routes, trying to turn those into long gains by breaking tackles. Also, they’ll run a number of hitches, which adds to the pounding they’ll take.
"I’m ecstatic," said receivers coach Stan Hixon.
Tight end was not a major area of need, or, at least, many didn’t view it that way considering Chris Cooley was on the roster. But the Redskins wanted more weapons in the passing attack and liked his versatility.
Having Cooley and Davis, if he comes through, is huge for new coach Jim Zorn. This gives him the ability to use them in the same sets, providing a different look for the defense. He can sub out both tight ends if need be and use a four-receiver set thanks to his new players.
But this was not by design, the Redskins said. They had Davis and Kelly both rated as first-round value.
"We’ve been following our board," executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said. "We weren’t going to jump down a round or two to get a need. …[We] wanted to get value for the picks."