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At No. 53, Quality Talent Should be Available

For the Redskins, the first day of the 2006 NFL Draft should be far different from drafts of the past two years. Washington had top 10 picks in 2004 and 2005, making for an exciting draft day afternoon at Redskins Park.

Barring a trade, the Redskins won't make their first selection this year until midway through the second round, at No. 53 overall. It's the latest the team has picked since 1989, when the Redskins didn't pick until the third round of the draft, at No. 66 overall.

Picking late is not new to the Redskins, certainly. From 1969-90, the Redskins had just three first-round picks. (Two of those picks turned out to be Art Monk and Darrell Green, a pair of Hall of Fame-caliber players. The other was "Hog" Mark May.) In 1998, the team's first pick was at No. 48 overall (tight end Stephen Alexander) and in 2003, the first pick was at No. 44 overall (wide receiver Taylor Jacobs).

The Redskins traded their 2006 first-round draft pick last year to the Denver Broncos so that they could draft quarterback Jason Campbell.

So what type of player should be available at No. 53 on April 29?

"It'll be different for us [to be drafting so low], but there'll be some good players there," head coach Joe Gibbs told TV's Larry Michael on April 6.

A look at past drafts reveals that the No. 53 pick has produced some solid NFL players, but also a handful of busts. (It's worth noting that Pro Bowl-caliber players can be found in that draft range: running back Clinton Portis was selected at No. 51 by Denver in 2002.)

2005: Dan Cody, DE, Baltimore

Cody was placed on injured reserve after preseason last year due to a knee injury. He will return in 2006 hoping to have the kind of impact he had at Oklahoma, where he logged 25 career sacks in 42 games.

2004: Michael Boulware, S, Seattle

Boulware has started to emerge as one of the top safeties in the league, recording nine interceptions in his first two NFL seasons. He was a key starter in the Seahawks' playoff run last season.

2003: Victor Hobson, LB, N.Y. Jets

Hobson has developed into a reliable starter for the Jets. He started all 16 games and recorded 78 tackles and one sack last season.

2002: Langston Walker, T, Oakland

After starting intermittently his first three NFL seasons, Walker appeared set to emerge as a full-time starter last year, but he suffered an abdominal injury after six games and was placed on injured reserve.

2001: Quincy Carter, QB, Dallas

Once regarded as the Cowboys' quarterback of the future, Carter is now out of the league. He did not play in 2005 after being released by the New York Jets. He recently signed with the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League.

2000: Todd Wade, T, Miami

The 6-8, 317-pound lineman started 63 games for the Dolphins from 2000-03 and signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent prior to the 2004 season. He started 19 games the last two years in Houston, with his 2005 season cut short due to a knee injury.

1999: Peerless Price, WR, Buffalo

Price logged a career-high 94 catches for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns in 2002, emerging as an elite receiver alongside Eric Moulds. He was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Falcons, but could not live up to that No. 1 status. He was with Dallas last season, but caught only six passes for 96 yards before being released. He re-signed with Buffalo on Monday, April 10.

1998: Bob Hallen, OL, Atlanta

Hallen started at guard for the Falcons early on in his career, then signed with the San Diego Chargers. He has struggled through some injury plagued seasons, but recently signed with the Cleveland Browns.

1997: Will Blackwell, WR, Pittsburgh

Blackwell never developed into anything more than a third receiver, catching 67 passes for 682 yards and two touchdowns in five NFL seasons with the Steelers. He is out of football.

1996: Gabe Northern, DE, Buffalo

Northern logged five sacks in his rookie season, but never developed consistency in the years that followed. He has bounced around from Pittsburgh to Minnesota in recent years.

1995: Andrew Greene, G, Miami

Greene was a backup in Miami his rookie year, starting one game, but he spent just one season with the Dolphins. He has played for Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League the last few years.

1994: Kevin Mitchell, LB, San Francisco

As Redskins fans remember, Mitchell was a solid, dependable backup and special teams star through his 11-year NFL career. Drafted by the 49ers, he later played two seasons with the Saints before ending his career with the Redskins from 2000-03. His best year was 2001, when he started 13 games and recorded 81 tackles and two sacks.

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