Instead of selecting an area of need, Washington opted for future help by drafting Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell with the 25th pick.
Redskins coach Joe Gibbs insists it has no bearing on starter Patrick Ramsey's future (see separate story). Rather, Gibbs suscribes to the theory that a team can never be deep enough at quarterback. On Thursday, former GM Ron Wolf said the same thing, telling the Washington Examiner:
''That doesn't necessarily mean anything for him, not unless [Campbell] comes in and starts right away. If he was that good, then he wouldn't be there at 25. But I will say this: if a guy's a really good player, you always have to take a look at that position. I was a quarterback person. I believed if you didn't have a quarterback you weren't going to win in the NFL. So if there's a QB worth taking, then no matter where you're picking, you should take them -- even if you have someone. That's not to say if I had Tom Brady that I would draft someone to take his place. But we're not talking about Tom Brady.''
And that's why Campbell will play for Washington.
''We didn't think he would be there,'' Gibbs said. ''There were other people we had earmarked. But when you're sitting there and it's time to make the pick, it's very hard to pass him up. . . .I look at quarterback as being very valuable up here. It takes a long time to get someone ready to play. We felt for the value this was something we had to do.''
Campbell's strengths fit well with some of Gibbs' desired traits in a quarterback: he throws the fade well; he can throw outside of the pocket and he's big. The first two characteristics are vital to this offense, which features fades and many bootlegs.
''One of the most impressive things is that he ran a 4.7,'' Gibbs said. ''He's not a runner, but he can get out of the pocket and it's hard to get him down. He's accurate.''
Campbell entered Auburn as one of the most sought-after recruits in the country. But his first three years were filled with disappointment. During that stretch, he had some good numbers, throwing for a combined 25 touchdowns to 17 interceptions.
But he was mostly a dumpoff passer and had not yet lived up to his hype. He did this past season under offensive coordinator Al Borges. Campbelll threw for 2,700 yards, 20 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while completing 69.6 percent of his passes. He averaged 10.00 yards per pass attempt -- nearly two yards better than his previous high. He also helped Auburn go 13-0.
''I guess the [difference] was that we had a balanced offense,'' Campbell said. ''We spread people around on the field, kept people on their heels and we had unity on offense. Guys got along with each other and played with a passion and that's what it takes to win games.''
He also shrugged off the criticism he received his first three years.
''You have to have thick skin,'' Campbell said. ''When everything isn't going right the first thing people say is, 'It's the quarterback's fault.' He's the leader of the team and that's who gets the blame. It's all about winning.''
It helps, too, that he'll be joined by teammate Carlos Rogers, the Redskins first pick and ninth overall. They're tight, but there's one difference: Campbell doesn't hit the casinos like Rogers.
''He loves to go to the casinos,'' Campbell said. ''We nicknamed him Cash. He always thinks he has a lot of money and he has his jewelry. I can't wait for you guys to see his vehicle -- an Escalade, candy red and a lot of stuff inside. It's like a toy car.''
But the Redskins drafting of Rogers wasn't a surprise. Their targeting a quarterback was a surprise. And Campbell was initially surprised at Washington's interest.
''In the NFL you have to have two real good quarterbacks in case one goes down,'' he said. ''My main thing is to come in and learn as much as possible as quickly as I can. It's hard work and takes everything one step at a time. I can learn a lot from Patrick and especially Mark Brunell. He's been in the game a long time. It's a tremendous opportunity to learn from those guys.''
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