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Five Rookies to Watch As Camp Unfolds

18730.jpg counts down to the start of Redskins Training Camp Presented by RE/MAX. Here are five rookies to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds.


Sixth-round draft pick H.B. Blades is a long-shot to see significant action on defense this year. He'll work behind London Fletcher at middle linebacker and try to establish himself on special teams.

Blades is 5-10 in height, somewhat small for a prototypical linebacker. But during off-season work, he impressed coaches with his energy level.

If Blades can prove to be an adept tackler at the NFL level, he could follow in Fletcher's footsteps. Flecther is a tackling machine at 5-10 and 258 pounds.

"Being around London will help us coach him," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "[Blades] is good around the ball, and we have a better chance this year of being good around the ball. His production numbers stand out. He tackles well and he gets his hands on the ball."


As the Redskins' top pick, LaRon Landry has high expectations. He could see action at strong safety right away, next to Pro Bowl free safety Sean Taylor.

How Landry and Taylor mesh together will certainly be one of the top storylines of training camp.

"I would like to put Sean Taylor in a position to go and get the ball," Williams said. "I think LaRon is going to help us do that. LaRon has the versatility that you want the safety to have. Really, in any system we play defensively, LaRon will be able to help us out with so many things."

First, Landry must earn his position. He'll compete with a crew of veterans at safety: Omar Stoutmire, Pierson Prioleau and Vernon Fox.

Landry is fully healed from his unfortunate paintball accident in mid-June. So he'll be back on the football field for the first time since OTAs.


Dallas Sartz, the Redskins' fifth-round draft pick, is slated to back up Marcus Washington at strong-side linebacker.

Sartz showed promise as a pass-rushing linebacker at USC, sacking quarterbacks seven times as a senior.

He'll need to bulk up to play strong-side linebacker in Gregg Williams' defense, but he could see an immediate impact on special teams.

Said linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti: "We see him as a very conscientious young player, and as a player who good movement skills, good foot skills. Like any young player, he has to prove that he can make the adjustment to the physical nature of the game."


With Nehemiah Broughton sidelined due to a knee ligament injury, the Redskins do not currently have a veteran backup to fullback Mike Sellers.

That means there's an opportunity for undrafted rookie Pete Schmitt. If he impresses during training camp, he could earn a spot as Sellers' backup.

Schmitt signed with the Redskins shortly after the NFL Draft. As a tight end at Wisconsin-Whitewater, he grabbed 91 passes, including 14 touchdowns, the last two years. He helped lead Wisconsin-Whitewater to two straight NCAA Division III championship games.

The 6-1, 248-pounder has never played the fullback position before, but coaches like his blocking skills and his versatility as a receiver.


As the brother of Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook, Byron Westbrook will certainly be a curiosity at Redskins training camp. He signed with the Redskins after impressing coaches at Rookie Camp shortly after the draft.

Westbrook, a 5-10 and 195-pound cornerback, is eager to make his own mark in the NFL.

"Byron has toughness," Gregg Williams said earlier this offseason. "He has game instinct. Hopefully, he can play inside on the nickel or the safety position because he has a good frame."

Westbrook starred at nearby Salisbury University, a Division III college in nearby Salisbury, Md. He compiled 18 interceptions in his collegiate career and also returned punts and kickoffs.

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