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Pre-Draft Presser

The Skins annual pre-draft press gathering just ended. Pretty much standard fare around the league at these things - an exercise in futility. Teams have no reason whatsoever to be candid about what they hope to accomplish at the draft, and cards are held close to the vest.

Vinny Cerrato would not comment on reports the Skins offered their first and third round picks to Cincy for WR Chad Johsnon, as expected ("We never comment on trades," he said). Should a WR like Anquan Boldin or Roy Williams really be shopped before the draft, I can't imagine the Skins not making a major push.

Cerrato did little to dissuade the idea that the team would be very open to trading out of the 21st overall pick. He spoke openly about contacting all the teams picking behind them to see if any would have interest in moving up to 21, but in the end, as with the pick itself, the Skins are in a dependent position, with the shape of the board in the top 20 picks have great gearing on whom they select, or how successful they are in their efforts to trade down.

"It all depends on how the draft falls," Cerrato said.

If they can't make a trade, Cerrato said "we'll look to take the best player available at 21." However, he was also straight forward about the many areas the Skins hope/need to address with their nine selections - OL, DL, WR, CB, S, LB, FB, in no particular order.

Given the expected run on CBs, Ts and D Linemen in the top 15 picks, the Skins could be left in position to take a DE or WR they otherwise would prefer to take in the second round.

As we reported last night, with their attempts to land Johnson stalled, again, the Skins are looking hard at WR Malcolm Kelly, and will work him out again Wed. in Oklahoma (no doubt hoping his 40 time improves). They've already attended his workout and brought him to Redskins Park last week - that's a lot of action on one kid. They'll watch DE Phillip Merling workout Thursday at Clemson. He's another potential pick at 21, especially with Ts like Williams and Albert all but certain to be gone.

To me, the most interesting stuff was about new head coach Jim Zorn. Privately, some offensive players have been wondering when they'll finally get new playbooks, given they are switching to a brand new, verbage system, rather than number-oriented. Zorn - in essence the head coach, OC and head coach - said he has been committed most heavily to draft prep work, and also works with QBs at 11 every day, so others have been working primarily on getting a mini camp playbook ready for next weekend.

The bulk of the offense will be installed through the OTAs in May and June, getting ready for an early start to training camp in July. When pressed about whether getting the playbook together this late was ideal, Zorn downplayed the significance overall and said: "I'd like to be a five-year vet coach right now, but I'm not."

Zorn also said he has quickly learned to be far more neutral in how he approaches needs, natural given he spent his entire career previously on the offensive side of the ball. "I'm fairly neutral in my thoughts," Zorn said.

By Jason La Canfora  |  April 22, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
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