Prospects arrived one by one, wide-eyed and eager to embark on an NFL career. Nearly 55 local college football players and NFL Draft hopefuls worked out for coaches and scouts at Redskins Park on Friday afternoon.
Head coach Joe Gibbs, vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato and director of pro personnel Scott Campbell oversaw the workout.
The top prospect on hand was standout Maryland linebacker Shawne Merriman, widely regarded as one of the top selections in the April 23-24 NFL Draft. Merriman grew up in Upper Marlboro, Md., and attended Frederick Douglass High School.
Merriman, listed at 6-3 and 255 pounds at Maryland last season, has played linebacker most of his career--with some drawing comparisons to Redskins Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington. But Merriman has added bulk in preparation for the draft and some project him to play defensive end in the pros.
Another local prospect in attendance was Howard cornerback Ronald Bartell, Jr. The 6-0, 208-pounder had impressed scouts with his speed at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in mid-February and is expected to be a first-day draft pick.
Merriman and Bartell did not participate in the workouts. Their draft prospects were mostly solidified at the scouting combine.
Maryland cornerback Domonique Foxworth, another likely draft prospect, was also on hand. Foxworth, projected to be a second-round pick in some draft guides, worked out for team officials.
Most of the players came from regional colleges--including 16 from the University of Maryland and five from Howard--but some came from as far away as South Carolina, Alabama and Utah.
Wide receiver Steve Savoy, a Washington, D.C., native who played high school football at Dunbar High School and college football at Utah, also worked out for team officials. Savoy could go as high as the third round in the draft, according to some draft guides.
"It's a good opportunity for the local products to come out and get a chance to work out in an NFL setting," Cerrato said. "For some of these players, it's a good opportunity--and their only opportunity--to have a workout like this. For some of them, this is it."
The players on hand were timed in the 40-yard dash and underwent agility drills on the team's Astroturf field. Then players were put through a series of position drills, including a 10-minute session in which quarterbacks tossed passes to wide receivers, tight ends and running backs covered by linebackers and defensive backs.
Last year, three players who attended the local college workout at Redskins Park later signed with the team as undrafted rookie free agents. Wide receivers Jafar Williams (Maryland) and Jonathan Brewer (Howard) were released by the Redskins at the end of training camp; safety Dennard Wilson (Maryland) spent the 2004 season on the team's injured reserve list with a knee injury.
Said Cerrato, discussing Friday's workout: "We'll find some guys out here who will be invited to mini-camp. It's a good opportunity to evaluate these guys and find some hidden gems."
The event was managed by Redskins personnel assistant Charles Perez. Below is the complete list of players in attendance at Friday's workout:
Joshua Cribbs, QB, Kent State
Zack Mills, QB, Penn State
Ike Chuku, WR, Temple
Darryl Dowery, WR, Kent State
Howard Gilmore, WR, Norfolk State
Rich Parson, WR, Maryland
Steve Savoy, WR, Utah
Edward Simms, WR, William Penn
Steve Suter, WR, Maryland
Michel Warfield, WR, Duquesne
Curtis Williams, WR, Maryland
Ronald Colbert, RB, Howard
Gonzi Gray, RB, South Carolina
Sammy Maldonado, RB, Maryland
Maurice Smith, FB, Maryland
Rob Abiamiri, HB, Maryland
Tom Ridley, TE, James Madison
Victor Sesay, TE, Missouri
C.J. Brooks, G, Maryland
Billy Irwin, C, Connecticut
Lou Lombardo, OT, Maryland
Danny Martz, G, Alabama
Dominique Richardson, G, Howard
Kyle Schmidt, C, Maryland
Brandon Torre, OL, Howard
Bruce Banks, DT, Bowie State
Kevin Eli, DE, Maryland
Shawne Merriman, DE, Maryland
Jerome Nichols, DE, Wake Forest
Chris Glass, LB, Bowie State
Patrick Orah, MLB, Fordham
T.J. Rembert, LB, Marshall
Mike Sanders, MLB, Howard
Dionte Wilson, LB, Marshall
Moriah Anderson, FS, Marshall
Atcheson Conway, SS, Bowie State
Ray Custis, FS, Maryland
Mike Daniels, FS, Virginia Tech
Alex Green, SS, Duke
Chris Kelley, SS, Maryland
Ricky Smith, SS, Virginia State
Lawrence Wade, SS, Temple
Steve Agyeman, CB, Akron
Ronald Bartell, Jr., CB, Howard
Domonique Foxworth, CB, Maryland
Reuben Haigler, CB, Maryland
Marvin Wood, CB, Northwestern
Jon Condo, LS, Maryland
Nick Novak, K, Maryland