It was a weekend full of excitement--and a little bit of tension--at Redskins Park, but in the end team officials came away with four players they had targeted in the 2004 NFL Draft. Perhaps just as important, they addressed several needs--even if head coach Joe Gibbs wished he could have acquired more players.
"When you look at all that talent on the draft board, you always wish you could have gotten a lot more players," he said. "But I think overall we maximized our opportunities in the draft. I felt good about our draft considering we didn't have a lot of picks.
"On the first day, we wanted to add somebody at H-back--we did that. When you're looking at a top five pick, you're looking at adding a potential game-changer--we did that."
With the fifth overall pick in the first round, the Redskins drafted safety Sean Taylor out of Miami. In the third round, the Redskins traded up to acquire tight end/H-back Chris Cooley out of Utah State.
On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Redskins selected a pair of offensive tackles in Mark Wilson, a 6-6, 314-pounder out of California, and Jim Molinaro, a 6-6, 301-pounder out of Notre Dame. Wilson was drafted in the fifth round (151st overall) and Molinaro was drafted in the sixth round.
Both Wilson and Molinaro have the skills to play at the guard positions, Gibbs said.
"We got some young, big tackles that we want to give to [assistant head coach-offense] Joe Bugel and let him go to work," he said. "They're tackles and guards--hopefully they can move inside, but in particular we want them to be able to play tackle. And we have two real good candidates there."
Molinaro, a native of Bethlehem, Pa., is regarded as a versatile and powerful blocker. As a senior in 2003, he started all 11 games at left tackle while blocking for tailback Julius Jones (who, incidentally, was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys). He also served as a game captain for seven contests.
Of Molinaro, Gibbs said: "He's a good athlete--he had a real workout--and a big, young guy who we think would be good for Buges to work with. He's only started 16 games or so, but we felt like he would fit in real well with us. We've had real good luck in the past"
Late into Sunday evening, the Redskins shifted their attention to acquiring undrafted rookie free agents.
Gibbs said he expects the team to sign 8-10 undrafted players in the coming days. An official announcement will come later this week.
Said Gibbs: "I think we worked real hard the whole weekend. We were here real late and early this morning, verifying players on film who we thought would be available, to make sure we felt good about what we were seeing. Our coaches and scouts made a great effort in the entire draft."