Combine Wrap Up: Skins Should Take Branch

INDIANAPOLIS -- Although the workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine continue for the next few days, this will be our last report.


* Kansas City DE Jared Allen wants to be traded but the Chiefs aren't likely to grant that request. Allen wants a new contract and isn't happy with the team's qualifying offer (more than $2 million). Allen would garner some interest on the trade market even though his checkered past includes a DUI. Two years against the Redskins, Allen abused Redskins LT Chris Samuels several times in a 28-21 Chiefs victory. I would be surprised if the Redskins call KC -- they have more pressing needs defensively than a pass-rusher and they can address that in the draft.

* After reading about and talking to several people about the defensive line prospects, if I were the Redskins at No. 6 and kept the pick, I would take Michigan DT Alan Branch over Clemson DE Gaines Adams and Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson. Branch is an athletic freak (6-5 ½, 324 pounds) and although he might not make the same kind of instant impact of an Adams, he may be the better player in the long run. If the Redskins draft him, they should start him right away alongside Cornelius Griffin. The Redskins' rush defense was 27th in the NFL last year and could use a junkyard dog-type in the trenches.

* I was semi-surprised to hear Joe Gibbs basically say Rocky McIntosh was going to get the first shot at one of the outside linebacker positions. McIntosh didn't do much in the games last year and couldn't displace the very average Warrick Holdman in the line up. It could be that Gibbs is committed to giving his young players a chance in the games instead of judging their progress only on their practice play.

* Candidates for the Redskins if they decide to trade down into the first round but still want to take a defensive end: Nebraska's Adam Carriker (6-6, 296), Louisville's 19-year old Amobi Okoye (6-2, 302) and Florida's Jarvis Moss (6-6, 250) and Georgia's Quentin Moses (6-5, 261).

* With Christian Fauria's distinguished one-year term with the Redskins (we're kidding) likely to end this week, the team will be in the market for a blocking tight end – preferably one who can actually block, unlike Fauria, who struggled before being on injured reserve with an ankle/leg injury. This is a weak tight end draft class, but available in the later rounds will be Minnesota's Matt Spaeth (6-7, 270), Nevada's Anthony Pudewell (6-3, 257) and Michael Allan (6-6, 255) of Whitworth, the only Division III player at the Combine.


* For the first time Sunday morning, the Combine opened its doors to the media. Two groups of 15 writers who belong to the Pro Football Writers Association were escorted to a luxury suite to watch the quarterback and receiver workouts for an hour. Before the NFL Network was allowed to televise the workouts, the Combine was a closed-door affair.

Each reporter was assigned a player to watch and then file a report for the rest of the media. I had Florida WR Dallas Baker. From my untrained eye, Baker appears to have pretty decent hands. He dropped only one pass during the hour we were allowed to watch.

The only thing an observer could glean was how a quarterback threw the deep out pattern and how the receivers were able to adjust to long passes.

* Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson and Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson solidified their status as probably top five picks. First, they worked out – many top players choose not to do at the Combine. This shows they're getting good advice from their agents and family members and college coaches. And it shows they're confident in their abilities. Peterson ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash and Johnson ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash. The guess here is that Cleveland – if it doesn't draft a quarterback – goes with Peterson at No. 3 and the Buccaneers take Johnson with the fourth pick.

* Diehard NFL Draft observers may be interested in this nugget: The Combine workouts may be open to the public next year. With the interest in the combine growing among fans, there is a chance that it may be open to the general public beginning in 2008.

"There's been discussions about it, certainly with the [NFL's] competition committee," said Jeff Foster, who runs the Combine. "I know that presentation has been made to the competition committee. It was made in terms of 2007. But we were running too close to the event to make any decisions. There's certainly a possibility."

...Ryan O'Halloran covers the Redskins for The Washington Times.

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