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Draft Day Decisions: WR, D-Line Bypassed

With the hoopla surrounding the NFL Draft beginning to subside, head coach Joe Gibbs addressed why the team opted not to draft players at the wide receiver or defensive line positions. The team interviewed several wide receivers in the weeks leading up to the draft and in March seriously considered signing veteran free agent defensive lineman Courtney Brown.

On Saturday, the first day of the draft, the Redskins selected Auburn's Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick, favoring the physical cornerback over Mike Williams, a highly rated wide receiver from the University of Southern California. Williams visited Redskins Park in early April.

"I think anybody you take, you can always take somebody else," Gibbs said on Monday. "I'd say to our fans, with all the research and everything that we put into it, we felt like the best pick for us was Carlos."

Rogers, 5-11 and 199 pounds, won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. He was rated as the top cornerback available on the Redskins' draft board.

At 6-5, 229 pounds, Williams helped USC earn a share of the national championship as a sophomore in 2003. He caught 95 passes for 1,314 yards and 16 touchdowns in 13 games that season. He spent last season out of football after unsuccessfully challenging the NFL's draft eligibility requirements prior to the 2004 draft.

The Detroit Lions on Saturday drafted Williams 10th overall, immediately after the Redskins drafted Rogers.

But even before the draft, Gibbs indicated his satisfaction with the Redskins corps of receivers. Earlier in the offseason, the team traded Laveranues Coles to the New York Jets for Santana Moss and signed free agent David Patten from New England.

"I don't think I feel the pressure about doing something [at wide receiver]," Gibbs said prior to the draft. "I think we feel real comfortable there. You are always looking at a good football player."

Gibbs said the Redskins did not select a defensive lineman because the available players at that position did not fit the team's needs.

"There were a couple of players we highlighted where we would have gone for them, but they were already taken," Gibbs said. "[Assistant head coach-defense] Gregg Williams was pretty comfortable with what we had. He was looking for somebody who would really upgrade things for us. We didn't see that very often in the draft.

"Towards the end of the draft, we were seriously considering a few defensive linemen, but Gregg said, 'I'd rather not do it.' We think we've got several free agent defensive linemen who we really like."

It's possible that the team could address the wide receiver and defensive line positions in the coming months. Free agency continues into July and there may be a host of players cut after June 1 so that teams can get under the salary cap.

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