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Redskins Sign Cooley; Taylor Next

The Redskins completed the signing of 2004 third-round draft pick Chris Cooley on Monday. Cooley is a tight end selected out of Utah State with the 81st overall pick. His size and field vision, as well as his fit in Joe Gibbs' offense as a H-back, convinced the Redskins to trade up in the draft to select him.

"We spent a lot of time studying tight ends and H-backs in the draft and the rundown on Chris was that he makes big plays against real tough teams," Gibbs said. "He did a lot of different things in college, he played in the backfield and all along the line of scrimmage and at tight end. So he did a lot of things which made us think he'd fit in well with us."

Said Cooley: "I'm really looking forward to this. If I had to pick the perfect scenario to come in and play in this offense for Coach Gibbs, this would be it."

With Cooley in the fold, the Redskins have only one unsigned rookie: first-round pick Sean Taylor, a safety out of the University of Miami (Fla.).

Cooley, at 6-3 and 265 pounds, finished his collegiate career with 95 catches for 1,255 yards and 11 touchdowns, adding 21 yards and a score on three carries. He led the nation's tight ends in receptions and receiving yards in 2003 and recorded at least four catches in 13 of his last 14 college games. His blocking skills and toughness earned him the Aggies' Golden Helmet Award, given to the team's hardest hitter.

In 2003, Cooley was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, as well as an All-American second team pick by The NFL Draft Report. As a senior, he was a team captain, earning a share of the team's Offensive MVP honors. He was also a finalist for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. Cooley led the Aggies in receptions with 62 for 732 yards and six touchdowns and registered 65 knockdown blocks, including eight that resulted in touchdowns.

As a junior, he finished with 31 receptions for 502 yards and four scores and was honored as the team's hardest hitter with the Golden Helmet Award. In 2001, he played in ten games, seeing time at tight end, fullback and H-back. He started his collegiate career on defense, playing defensive end in eight contests as a rookie, in addition to seeing time at tight end and on special teams. He registered 19 tackles, two sacks, four stops for losses, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

A native of Powell, Wyo., and resident of Logan, Utah, Cooley attended Logan (Utah) High School where he was an All-State selection as a senior, catching 46 passes for 625 yards at tight end. He also recorded eight sacks as a defensive end. An All-American wrestler as well, he went undefeated his senior season and won the state championship.

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