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Zorn Looks Ahead to NFL Scouting Combine

As Seattle Seahawks' quarterbacks coach the last seven years, Jim Zorn would participate in the NFL Scouting Combine helping quarterback prospects in passing drills.

"I liked doing it because I was able to get close to the players," Zorn said. "You get a feel for which players are nervous. You can talk football with them a little bit and you can get a different feel for each player. It was fun for me."

This year, Zorn has greater responsibility that will preclude him from overseeing drills at the combine, which starts Thursday, Feb. 21 and continues through Tuesday, Feb. 26.

As Washington's new head coach, Zorn must take a broader view of the combine now.

Working alongside executive vice president-football operations Vinny Cerrato and director of player personnel Scott Campbell, Zorn will keep an eye on all positions.

"You have to stay very organized," Zorn said. "As a head coach, coach and scout, you really need to know where things are happening because there are so many things going on at the same time. You have to be on top of the schedule."

The Redskins have the 21st pick in the NFL Draft, plus selections in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

Cerrato has identified wide receiver, cornerback, versatile offensive and defensive linemen and fullback as need positions for the Redskins.

"A lot of things are going to be decided at the combine," Cerrato said. "Do their [40-yard] times match? How do they play on film? Depending on all of that, they can move up the draft board or move down.

"You get into the combine and you get a chance to test their athletic ability, interview them and see what type of people they are. You're just putting together a puzzle right now on all of these guys."

Added Zorn: "There'll be a lot of players that you'd love to have at the combine, but it depends on where you're slotted. You may not have the draft choice that probably is going to get a certain player. He's going to be gone.

"Those are the struggles that everyone has as you're looking at guys working at the combine."

Last year at the NFL Scouting combine, the Redskins' coaching staff got their first look at safety LaRon Landry, who the team drafted with the sixth overall pick in the draft. Landry had skipped the Senior Bowl, so until the combine the Redskins could only evaluate him based on game film at LSU.

Landry went on to have an impressive rookie campaign, finishing third on the defense with 97 tackles. He also had 1.5 sacks and seven passes defended.

Obviously, last year the Redskins had a different head coach in Joe Gibbs, two different coordinators and a different approach to the combine.

This year, Zorn becomes a central figure.

"I'll have a lot of say in what we're doing in the draft," he said. "It's just a long process. Our scouting department is in overdrive working to get the board right, making sure we find out as much as we can about the players on the field and off the field.

"We're going to try to do everything to make sure if we choose a player for the Redskins, it's the right position and the right athlete. He'll be able to help us either immediately or down the road."

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