Welcome to the first installment of what should be a highly speculative, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style of Redskins' offseason coverage. In this edition of Boldly Hoping, let's line up a dream scenario for the draft.
Forget for a moment that Vinny thinks teams should not draft for need. Forget for a moment that Vinny thinks drafting defensive linemen is dumb. Damnit...forget for a moment Vinny is our default-GM. Ahhhhhhhhhhh...
What if we were to attack an area in the same manner as we did with receiver in last year's draft? In this case, the line of scrimmage. In our fantasy scenario, we propose a few trades to better our draft position. I would like to see Carlos Rogers come back. I really would. But the rumblings are that he is unhappy with his spot on the defense (presumably behind DeAngelo Hall), and it looks like the money he thinks he should get is about to go to Hall. If the CBA situation comes to a head next year, he loses his unrestricted free agency. This offseason would be a good time for the Skins to get a pretty decent draft pick for him, and the team trading for Rogers could turn that frown upside down with a new long-term contract. Everyone wins.
And what about Randle-El? What would his trade value be? Surely it does not reside in his return abilities. But he is a decent receiver. On a team with a pass-happy offense, he could fill the Wes Welker-type role (albeit as a 3rd receiver). Small, fast, smart, hard to keep up with underneath. It's not that we can't use Randle-El, it is simply there is a MAJOR problem at Redskins Park that needs to be handled during THIS offseason. The team simply feels compelled to start older veterans that are healthy and getting paid. This past season, you wouldn't hear me argue that Devin Thomas was ready to supplant Randle-El in the lineup. But next year, he simply must be given those reps. You can't convince me that Chad Rhinehart couldn't have done the job Pete Kendall did for us on the line. You can't convince me that Stephon Heyer is/was not at least as craptacular as Jansen was all season (when healthy). A youth movement means going with younger guys. Bugel is notorious for his loyalty to the older guys. Now it looks like Kendall could be gone, and what do we really know about Rhinehart?
Rogers will get us our 2nd rounder back I would bet. Randle-El could get us a 4th or 5th rounder I hope. If we traded future picks this offseason, I would like to see them traded to acquire picks in this year's draft (as opposed to veteran players). Assuming we could net a 2nd rounder in this fashion, let's imagine a 1st day with one 1st rounder, two 2nd round picks, and one 3rd round selection. With those picks, here is what i want to see: 1 OT, 2 DE/OLB, 1 OG/C.
From what I am reading, it appears that there will be some pretty decent offensive line depth in the upcoming draft. If that ends up being the case, let's take the best DE/OLB prospect available at #13 overall. A Brian Cushing from USC or Aaron Curry from Wake Forest would be huge for us, since Marcus Washington seems to be on his way out the door. We missed the boat on Shawne Merriman and DeMarcus Ware...who knows if these guys can fill that mold, but I think that should be our goal.
In the 2nd round, we go for the best OL (preferrably Tackle) available. Given the rush of skill players into the draft this year (underclassmen QB, RB, and WR), a decent crop of otherwise first-round worthy offensive linemen are getting pushed into the 2nd round. If we can get someone to start opposite Samuels on Day One, we win.
With our remaining pick(s) in the top 3 rounds, I would love to see us go after a Center and another DE/OLB.
Let's face it, they are going to let Samuels and Fletcher play until their wheels fall off--and probably rightfully so. Jason Taylor has 1 more year with us, perhaps. We need some talent to be able to come in next year and solidify the right side of the offensive line and bolster a linebacking corps that will be heavily relied upon in the pass rush, both from the end (with their hands on the ground), as well from the LB spots.
FOUR impact players on the first day of the draft--at the area where we need it most in 2009? That is Bold Hoping indeed.
We will certainly refine the segment and focus harder on actual events and stategies either employed by the Redskins or woefully neglected by them. Please feel free to add your own thoughts as we have all come to realize, if Vinny can do it, it just can't be that hard.