When head coach Joe Gibbs evaluated Carlos Rogers prior to the NFL Draft, he saw a cornerback complete with the size, speed and physicality needed to fit into the Redskins defense.
"I think he is a combination of a shutdown corner and a very physical guy," Gibbs said. "I think he fits in good with us. It's going to be exciting to have him on the football team."
For the second straight season, the Redskins drafted a defensive back with a top 10 pick. Rogers, a product of Auburn University, won the Jim Thorpe award in 2004 as the nation's top defensive back. He stands 5-11 and 199 pounds. The Redskins timed him in the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds.
"He's got the size, he's got the speed, and he's physical," Gibbs said. "Here you've got a guy who can really run. We're going to be matched up with some bigger receivers."
The departure of cornerback Fred Smoot in free agency led the Redskins to seriously consider drafting one of three cornerbacks with their first first-round pick. Gibbs said that the Redskins rated Rogers higher than the two other cornerbacks taken in the top nine--West Virginia's Adam "Pacman" Jones and Miami's Antrel Rolle--and were fortunate that he was available when the team selected.
"For us, from the very beginning, Carlos was the person that we kind of felt like gave us everything in a package," Gibbs said. "We loved those other two guys, too."
Rogers holds the Auburn record with 40 career pass deflections. In four seasons with the Tigers, Rogers had 182 tackles (134 solo), seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Gibbs said that he feels very comfortable with the Redskins' corps of cornerbacks, which includes Shawn Springs and Walt Harris among others.
"I've always felt that the corner position for you is something that you feel like somebody that can shut somebody down out there allows the defense to do a lot of other things," Gibbs said. "Right now, if you look at our corners there, Shawn is obviously a bigger guy. We've got Walt there. We think that were kind of geared to go there."
Gibbs was surprised that wide receiver Mike Williams was available for the Redskins to draft, but the team thought selecting Rogers was the best option.
"I think Williams is going to be a heck of a football player," Gibbs said. "Obviously, we've done a lot of homework there. I don't think it's fair for me to talk about somebody else. With our pick, kind of the way we felt about it, we did have a choice of a number of good football players."
Many speculated prior to the draft that the Redskins would attempt to move up in the draft by trading their first-round picks. Gibbs said that the team on draft day considered trading down more seriously than trading up.
"I think we considered everything," Gibbs said. "We felt like we could have maybe have done that. When we evaluated everything, we felt like it was best to sit where we were."
Ultimately the pick was Rogers, who Gibbs envisions strengthening the secondary immediately.
"He'll hit you," Gibbs said of Rogers' physical nature on the football field. "He'll come up and go after it. And for our defense, that's very, very important."