by Grant PaulsenBy Grant Paulsen

ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — The Redskins’ began their quest to give Robert Griffin III a chance to have a successful rookie season by drafting an offensive guard in the third round of the NFL Draft.

Washington, originally scheduled to pick at No. 69, traded down two spots to No. 71 before selecting Southern Methodist University left guard Josh LeRibeus. By dropping two spots Washington also added an additional seventh-round pick (No. 217 overall).

LeRibeus is a 23-year-old offensive lineman who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 311-pounds. He started in all 13 of SMU’s games in 2011 after missing the entire 2010 season because of academic ineligibility.

A Richardson, Tex. Native, LeRibeus was named an honorable mention All Conference-USA performer as a senior.

With left guard Kory Lichtensteiger recovering from a knee injury and right guard Chris Chester having been signed to a $20 million contract last offseason, adding LeRiebeus provides Washington with some much-needed depth along the interior of the club’s offensive line.

LeRibeus, who spoke to the media via conference call moments after being selected, said that many of the teams who worked him out prior to the draft discussed the possibility of playing center with him. He says he’d be comfortable playing that position in the NFL.

The athletic lineman who once lost 70-pounds (dropping from 380 pounds to 310 pounds) in a calendar year.

“I lost a toddler off the side of my belly,” LeRibeus said about his dramatic weight-loss.

LeRibeus ran a 5.37 40-yard dash prior to the draft. His 32.5 inch arms were responsible for pumping 29 reps (of 225 pounds) at the NFL Combine.

Having made 28 collegiate starts, LeRibeus says he spent his time at SMU playing in a man-blocking scheme. He did, however, get to work in a zone scheme at the Shrine game earlier this offseason. “I felt at home,” he said about the experience.

Several publications had LeRibeus being drafted in the late rounds, but the newest Redskin said he was anticipating being taken “somewhere in the third or fourth round.”

His selection is further evidence that the Redskins evaluate linemen differently than most teams. Kory Lichtensteiger, who will likely compete with LeRibeus, was out of football prior to Mike Shanahan’s hiring in Washington. Now he’s one of the Redskins’ best run-blockers.

Starting center Will Montgomery, who signed a four-year deal to remain in Washington this offseason, was never a regular starter before latching in Washington. Right guard Chris Chester was a backup in Baltimore before the Redskins paid him starter-money to anchor their right guard position.

If LeRibeus garners playing time this coming season, Washington’s selection will be justified. But at the least, the team addressed a need by acquiring additional competition along the interior of the line, an area where the Redskins were paper-thin a year ago.

Washington’s next selection is scheduled for the fourth round, where Washington is slated to be on the clock for picks at No. 102 and No. 141 overall.

With Friday night’s trade the Redskins – who have added a quarterback and an offensive guard – now have six picks in the final four rounds.

The guard was the first draft selection the Redskins made since they picked Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick on Thursday night.

Follow @granthpaulsen, @FNNChuck and @1067TheFanDC on Twitter for breaking Redskins news.


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