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Draft: Coaches Will Have to Earn Their Money

May 6, 2006, 12:38 AM EST

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You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

According to the scouting reports, Rocky McIntosh needs to play under control and not overpursue. Anthony Montgomery needs to work on his hand technique in order to shed blocks better. There are also issues with Reed Doughty’s backpedaling, Kedric Golston’s lateral movement, Kili Lefotu’s footwork and Kevin Simon’s tackling technique.

In evaluating these players, the Redskins undoubtedly saw those flaws and many more. And Joe Gibbs turned to the most expensive coaching staff in the history of mankind and told them that they would be the ones who will make or break this draft. Dale Lindsey, Greg Blache, Jerry Gray, and Joe Bugel will have to coach ‘em up, correct the flaws and turn them in to NFL players.

Bubba Tyer’s training and medical staff also may be taxed. McIntosh, Golston, and Simon all carry histories of significant injuries into the NFL and their success will be determined in large part by how well Tyer and company can help them overcome their past ailments.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that this draft class is a nothing more than a group of the undisciplined and the infirm. What they got in exchange for some rough edges and mended joints is athletic ability. Doughty is an excellent natural athlete. Golston, when healthy, amazed many observers with the agility he displayed for a man his size. Scouts were amazed at how light the 311-pound Montgomery is on his feet. McIntosh has excellent speed for someone his size.

They also got smarts—not just football smarts but book smarts. In particular there’s McIntosh, who has already graduated with a 3.0 GPA in Criminology. He won’t be waving his transcript in Doughty’s face, however. Doughty also has his degree, graduating with a perfect 4.0 average in kinesiology. (Yeah, I don’t know what that is, either, but I’m thinking that it’s harder than ballroom dancing.)

Add in a solid dose of versatility, too. Lefotu can play all three O-line positions, a hat trick that McIntosh can match with his experience in all three LB spots. Simon could play inside or outside and several teams talked to Montgomery about drafting him as an offensive lineman. That wouldn’t be the former Golden Gopher’s first foray on offense; in high school, he was a 295-pound quarterback.

The move that is drawing the most fire from the self-declared draft gurus out there is the spending of the 2007 second-round pick to move up 18 spots to draft McIntosh (there was a 2006 sixth involved also). As was discussed here before the draft, the Redskins way of doing things is to be aggressive and go after the players that they want rather than letting things come to them. True, it is not a move that such successful franchises as the Steelers would make. To them, a second-round pick is way too precious to part with a year early and their results validate their methods. However, it is also not a move that franchises such as the Detroit Lions or Arizona Cardinals would have made and their records of futility are testimony to the fact that sitting on your hands and taking whoever falls into your lap isn’t a guaranteed ticket to success either.

It’s not what you do, it’s how well you do it. Time will tell, just as it will with the rest of the draft. If you came here looking for a draft grade, you came to the wrong place. Check back in a couple of years. Golston and Simon are the keys. If they can shed their injury-ridden pasts and play to their potentials, they could be something that the Redskins have not had many of in recent years—late-round steals. That would, at least by this team’s standards, make the draft a smashing success.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game that the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://RedskinsGames.com

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