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News & Notes: Mini-Camp Is a Wrap, OTAs Are Next

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With the conclusion of mini-camp on Sunday, the Redskins said goodbye--for now--to their 2009 draft class and undrafted rookies.

Redskins rookies return to their respective colleges for graduation, while veterans move on to OTAs starting Monday.

Head coach Jim Zorn praised the performance of the team's six rookie draft picks during mini-camp, saying they were among the "bright spots."

In particular, top draft pick Brian Orakpo, the pass rusher out of Texas, drew raves.

Orakpo lined up at strong-side linebacker during mini-camp, but he was also expected to see action at defensive end.

Said Zorn: "Each one of the draft choices who participated, they were a bright spot, just seeing the speed with which they were working and how they picked things up."

"When [defensive line coach] John Palermo would tell Brian Orakpo to make a correction, the next play Brian would make that correction.


"[Linebackers coach] Kirk Olivadotti liked what he saw of Orakpo at that strong-side linebacker and he felt like that was a pretty good position for him as well. So [Orakpo] is going to be a real versatile athlete."

Rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes and linebackers Cody Glenn and Robert Henson showed athleticism and good movement as they adapted their skills to the Redskins' defense, Zorn added.

Barnes, the Redskins' third-round draft pick, was tested during mini-camp.

That's because wide receiver vs. cornerback drills were a big part of practices.

Barnes often found himself one-on-one against the likes of Antwaan Randle El and tryout veterans Kelley Washington and D.J. Hackett.

Glenn suffered a mild hamstring injury during Saturday's mini-camp practice and he had to sit out the Sunday session.

"He pulled up a little bit as he was making an adjustment and slipped," Zorn said. "We thought it was his groin, but it was his hamstring. He'll be fine."

Fullback Eddie Williams came into mini-camp rehabbing from knee ligament surgery, so he worked on the side with physical therapist Larry Hess.

Wide receiver Marko Mitchell saw plenty of action during mini-camp and displayed good size and speed, Zorn said.

"He's learning," Zorn said of Mitchell. "What I like about him is that he has some speed and he has a knack on the things he's really familiar with. The things he did in college--you can see how comfortable he is doing those [at mini-camp].

"The new techniques were teaching him, you can see him thinking those through. He'll get more comfortable as we go along."

-- THOMAS HAS HAMSTRING INJURY

With Santana Moss, James Thrash and Malcolm all sidelined for mini-camp due to injuries, Devin Thomas impressed as he saw significant playing time in the Redskins' offense.

It was short-lived, though.

Thomas tweaked his hamstring on Friday and he sat out the Saturday and Sunday sessions, watching from the sidelines.

"I don't think it's a pulled hamstring, I just think it's irritated," Zorn said. "We're just going to give him rest. I don't want him to have a setback. This is a minor one."

Thomas could be sidelined for part of this week's OTA practices, Zorn added.

Moss was sidelined with shin splints, Thrash had neck soreness and Kelly continued to rehab from off-season knee surgery.

-- REDSKINS RE-SIGN MANUPUNA

The Redskins brought in defensive tackle Vaka Manupuna for mini-camp, signing the first-year player last Friday.

Manupuna had stints with the Redskins in 2006 and 2007. He played for the Arena Football League's Utah Blaze last year.

The 6-0, 300-pound Manupuna was originally signed by the Redskins as a college free agent out of Colorado in 2006. He was released following training camp and signed to the Redskins practice squad. He also spent time on the New York Jets practice squad in 2006.

Manupuna was in training camp with the Redskins in 2007 before being released.

Manupuna, 26, is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii.

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