Redskins pick RB in 2nd round

The Redskins needed a guard. Or a defensive tackle. Maybe even a receiver. So, naturally, they selected a running back in the second round, taking Iowa's Ladell Betts in a pick obtained from a trade with Baltimore.

Washington coach Steve Spurrier said Betts gives the Redskins a potential third-down back this season and someone who can give Stephen Davis a breather. It also means Washington probably won't re-sign running back Ki-Jana Carter or pursue another back. And keep this in mind: Davis will count $11.4 million against the salary cap in 2003.

Betts started most of his four years at Iowa, finishing with 3,686 yards and 25 touchdowns. Each season he scored on a run of at least 40 yards or better, with a long of 74. As a junior he rushed for 1,090 yards, averaging 4.7 yards a carry. As a senior, he gained 1,060 yards at 4.8 yards a pop.

And, in four seasons, he caught 72 passes for 702 yards.

''He has great hands, great lateral movement and he can catch the ball,'' Redskins running backs coach Hue Jackson said. ''He has all the things you're looking for and on tape he showed a lot of toughness. In this league you have to have that to run the ball between the tackles and pass-protect.

''He's more of a darting runner. He can get in and out of holes because he has real good speed. With what we do running the ball, in the draw game, he'll be very effective.''

Betts likely will back up Davis in much the same way Carter did a year ago. With Betts' darting style, and the Redskins penchant for playing three- and four-receiver sets, he could have plenty of running holes to pick from.

''For the most part I'm an everydown back,'' Betts said. ''I like to think I can run between the tackles or I can take it outside. I can run routes from the backfield or from the split position. That's what I bring to the table.''

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers.

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