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Redskins Trade First-Round Draft Choice to St. Louis for Gilbert

April 8, 1996

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) _ The Washington Redskins bolstered one of the NFL’s worst defensive lines Monday when they finalized a trade for St. Louis Rams’ Pro Bowl defensive end Sean Gilbert.

The Redskins, 29th out of 30 teams against the run last season, traded their first-round draft pick _ the sixth overall pick in thus month’s NFL draft _ to St. Louis for the 6-foot-5, 310 pound lineman.

``There’s no question that everyone in the league regards Sean Gilbert as one of the up-and-coming bright prospects in the league, and he is already acknowledged as one of the best young defensive tackles in the National Football League,″ said Washington general manager Charley Casserly.

The Rams reportedly want Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips with the pick.

``This trade will afford us an opportunity and a flexibility to strengthen the other side of the ball,″ said Rams coach Rich Brooks.

However, to get Phillips, they may have to package the sixth pick with their own first-rounder, the 13th overall, and trade it to either Arizona, No. 3, or the New York Jets, who pick first. Baltimore, the former Cleveland Browns, reportedly want to take Phillips with the fourth pick.

The third overall pick in the 1992 draft, Gilbert made the Pro Bowl in 1993 when he recorded 81 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He turns 26 on Wednesday.

Last season Gilbert played defensive end, had 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks, and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

Redskins’ head coach Norv Turner said Gilbert will start at right defensive tackle.

“We feel it gives our football team a heck of an opportunity to get better and get better fast,″ said Redskins head coach Norv Turner.

``He’s a guy who can be a dominant player on the inside,” said Turner. “He can rush the passer, He can play the run, he’s a 300-pound guy with great quickness.”

Gilbert, an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming 1996 season, will make $1.25 million in the final year of his contract assumed by the Redskins. St. Louis was reportedly was willing to trade him because his salary demands next season would be too great.

``If I had a preference I would play end because you could probably play another 10 years,″ he said. ``But the trenches are where the men hang out and I also like being in there. It’s whatever the coaches decide is best for the team.″

Gilbert has only missed four games in four NFL seasons but is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

To make room under the salary cap for Gilbert, Washington released defensive tackle Bobby Wilson Monday.

Wilson was the Redskins’ first pick, 17th overall. in the 1991 draft.

Casserly and the Redskins wanted to draft Gilbert in 1992, but the then-Los Angeles Rams took the University of Pittsburgh standout with the third overall pick, one pick before Washington’s turn.

The Redskins settled for wide receiver Desmond Howard.

The Redskins had been negotiating with Gilbert’s agent Gus Sunseri for weeks to finalize the deal, and will have to try to resign him to a long term deal next winter.

``I think that Sean Gilbert is an outstanding player. Certainly I think we’ll miss him, without a doubt,″ Brooks said.

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