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Rookies Kelly, Brooks Agree to Terms (Updated)

From Jason Reid:

The Redskins have completed negotiations with two more draft picks, agreeing to terms with wide receiver Malcolm Kelly - one of three big receivers they selected in the second round - and punter Durant Brooks. With training camp scheduled to begin in a week, the Redskins finalized deals with Kelly and Brooks, leaving only three of their 10 draft picks unsigned, though specifics of the agreements were not immediately available.

Kelly, the 51st overall selection out of Oklahoma, is the highest pick to have reached an agreement with the team. The Redskins still are in talks with the representatives of their two other second-round picks - wide receiver Devin Thomas and pass-catching tight end Fred Davis. Kelly (6 feet 4, 218 pounds) is considered among the keys to Washington's plan to open up the offense under rookie head coach Jim Zorn.

"Malcolm is excited and the Redskins are excited," said Kelly's agent, Chad Speck. "The Redskins believe Malcolm can really contribute to what Jim Zorn wants to accomplish, and he's very excited to get to camp" next week.

After trading their first-round pick - No. 21 overall - to the Atlanta Falcons on the first day of the two-day draft, the Redskins used their three second-round picks, including two acquired in the deal with the Falcons, in an attempt to bolster their receiving corps, which needed an infusion of talent for Zorn to run his version of the West Coast offense.

Kelly slid down several draft boards because of his disappointing performances in the 40-yard dash (he posted times as high as 4.69 seconds) in workouts and questions about his maturity. Some teams also voiced concerns about Kelly's knees, but Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, said he received favorable reports about Kelly from a Sooners coach.

Brooks, the Redskins' sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, is expected to compete with veteran Derrick Frost for the team's punting job. In drafting Brooks, Washington was trying to send a message to Frost. After offering Frost, a free agent in the offseason, only a veteran minimum contract to re-sign, the Redskins made the unusual move of drafting a punter, selecting Brooks with the 168th overall pick.

Teams rarely expend draft picks on punters because other positions are considered more important, and NFL punters typically take time to develop. The Redskins last drafted a punter in 1993, selecting Ed Bunn of Texas-El Paso with the second of their two third-round picks. Bunn did not make the team.

But with so many picks in the draft, and Danny Smith, Washington's special teams coach, having strongly recommended Brooks, Cerrato selected a punter. Brooks won the Ray Guy Award as college football's top punter last season. He had a 40.6-yard net average as a senior. Frost had a 36.4-yard net average for the Redskins in 2007.

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  July 11, 2008; 7:41 PM ET
 
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