There are zillions of rumors floating around about what the Redskins are going to do in the remainder of free agency and the 2010 draft in a few weeks.
But there are some irrefutable absolutes that the team *must* address before the start of the season. Here they are:
1) The Redskins currently have no starting-level left tackle on the roster. Mike Williams or Steph Heyer simply do not count for this position. This is arguably the most important position on the field besides quarterback. This must be addressed high in the draft. If you disagree, you're wrong. Sorry.
2) The Redskins only have two running backs on our roster, one of whom was hurt last year, another of whom is 30 years old and got cut in the middle of the season last year by the freaking Chiefs. Do you feel good about that? I don't.
3) The Redskins have exactly one player on the roster that any of us would feel comfortable suiting up at nose tackle in the new 3-4 defense (Ma'ake Kemoeatu), who was injured all last season. Albert Haynesworth probably could play this position, but he probably won't. If the Redskins run a hybrid 4-3/3-4, maybe he or Anthony Montgomery could get some looks. But I would think the Redskins will need a player here, at least for insurance's sake. Everything you hear or read about a 3-4 defense says the NT is one of the most important positions on the field, and we don't have one of those I feel great about on the roster.
4) The Redskins will want another contender for a starting right guard or right tackle. Clearly, they can't be that happy with Mike Williams and Stephon Heyer given the play of the line last year under Joe Bugel, no slouch. They also may be in the market for backups.
These needs are the most pressing, and believe me, they will be addressed in this draft.
There are some positions where we have a want but not as much of a need:
1) Legit #2 wide receiver (or Brandon Marshall)
2) Another quarterback. Although, the Redskins have two quarterbacks who have started in the NFL, including one who played in a Super Bowl (although he is pretty bad, last anyone knew). They may have a 3rd if the current leadership is happy with Colt Brennan (they probably aren't, given that most things Zorn and Cerrato did would not fly with this organization). They will likely add another veteran or hang on to one of the guys at the bottom of the depth chart.
3) Another LB who fits better for either inside or outside in the 3-4
4) Other -- kicker, cornerback, kick returner, etc.
I'm a lowly sports blogger -- clearly the organization knows about these needs at the top and will fight to fill them as best they can.
That's why all this talk about drafting a quarterback seems so ridiculous to me. When you have a team with enormous needs across the board, why would you invest so much in a player who may not ever be better than the guy(s) you currently have on the roster?
The Redskins should -- and, save for the use of a strategy that employs no use of logic, will -- address their pressing needs in this draft, forsaking the sexy picks that will obviously remain on the board at #4.
It doesn't take a genius to pick out the team's biggest need. It is clearly left tackle. We lost one of our best players when Chris Samuels retired, and there was no young player in the wings ready to jump on that position for the foreseeable future. If Russell Okung is available at 4 overall -- and given that neither the Buccaneers or Lions are likely to take him because Suh and McCoy will be available at 2 and 3, this seems likely -- the Redskins will take him. Yes, you can get a good LT later in the draft. But why risk it? You can't pass up on a need that is so pressing when there is a clear-cut player available for you there. Okung is the best OT in the class, and that's our biggest need. This is a clear choice.
Yes, the Redskins are interviewing Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and many other players as well. That's what you have to do. The Redskins have had about 5 months and have looked at hundreds of players that they are considering dropping $40 million or so on. They are going to interview all the good players in this class, as they should. Todd McShay et al will tell you this means something. Don't buy it. In fact, I hope the media continues to link the Redskins to a player like Clausen, because it may tempt a team like Cleveland or Buffalo to try and trade up to snag him so we don't take him. We will not take Clausen in this draft, unless, like I argued many moons ago, the organization has him pegged as the next truly can't-miss franchise quarterback. Did he ever look like that to you in college? He sure didn't to me, so I can't imagine that any team will make this assessment, especially one that needs other positions so badly.
So, I don't really see the Redskins having any reason to draft a QB in the first round. Many of our writers have speculated about Colt McCoy or another quarterback at the top of the 2nd. My argument against this is similar to the argument for not taking a QB at #4 overall. The Redskins have a gigantic list of needs and a 2nd round quarterback is even less of a sure thing than a clear-cut first rounder. And our pick in the 2nd round, #37 overall, is essentially as valuable as a first round pick. Most of those players at the top of the 2nd round are just as talented as the players who went just before them.
At the 2nd round spot, I would take either another running back (another one of the pressing needs I had listed before the jump) or a nose tackle. Both of these areas are legitimate positions of need. Sure, we have a coming-back-from-injury-was-once-a-beast player in Kemoeatu (and maybe/doubtfully Haynesworth) for nose tackle, but for a position on the defense that is so enormously important to the 3-4, the Redskins will clearly want to add another player here. This may not be a 2nd-round pick, but believe it -- the Redskins will definitely take a big boy to play NT at some point in this draft. Most of those guys tend to be later-round picks anyway (Kemoeatu, incidentally, was undrafted out of Utah), but if we took an absolute machine to play NT at this pick, none of us fans should be disappointed. It would be a great investment.
But it's my opinion that the 'Skins move to take a high-quality running back at this point in the second round. Maybe it's Jonathon Dwyer, maybe it's Jahvid Best, or maybe it's someone else. Either way, the Redskins are going to want to add youth, and speed, to their stable of running backs before the draft is over. You know they're going to add at least one player at this position before the season starts -- it's not like they're going to play this season with 2 running backs that haven't been good in a long time. Not only is that poor planning, but most teams carry at least 3 runners. It's simple logic that they will take a running back either in round two or later in the draft. Given the role that rookie RB may end up playing for the team right off the bat, I hope he's a second rounder. But, if we know anything about Mike Shanahan, it's that he knows how to pick runners!
So, we have 5 picks in the draft. We legitimately have to take a left tackle, so we will take one of those. We need a running back, we will take one of those somewhere down the line. It's likely we take a nose tackle, unless the organization sees someone on the roster capable of playing the spot (doubtful). We will likely take one more lineman, unless the organization feels comfortable with the backups on the roster (also doubtful). So, where does that leave us?
Rd. 1 -- #4 -- Okung
Rd. 2 -- #37 -- Best/Dwyer or nose tackle
At this point, the 'Skins will have three picks left -- #103 in round 4, #135 in the 5th round and #211 in the 7th. At least one of those will be an OL, right? You want about 8-11 linemen on the roster. And come on, this is Hogs Haven. I'm taking another!
We would have Okung (hopefully), Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Chad Reinhart, Heyer, Big Mike, Edwin Williams, Artis Hicks and one or two other guys that could sneak on the roster. So that leaves one pick left for a lineman, I would think. Given the injuries we suffered there last year, Shanahan will likely want to draft a good player who can step in for us. Maybe a backup center or right guard.
The Redskins may be in the market for a 3-4 style linebacker, likely a bigger guy for the inside. We don't have a lot of depth at linebacker, honestly. I would be really happy if they took a LB at some point in their last 3 picks.
Say they take a linebacker, do the Redskins invest our last remaining pick on a quarterback? I don't really see the point. A QB in the 4th, 5th or 7th rounds will not compete for playing time anytime soon, while a kick return specialist (a RB, WR or CB) certainly will.
Also, consider the possibility of the Redskins selecting a kicker at some point in this draft. I doubt the organization really trusts Graham Gano, don't you? Or the Redskins could find a diamond in the rough at WR who could step in and catch some balls. Given the success of the highest-powered offenses in the league, I think it's painfully obvious that having 5 receivers who can all make plays is a huge advantage (see Saints, Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Eagles, etc).
The value of drafting a quarterback at any point seems questionable to me, especially in the later rounds. Unless one of the qb class really knocks off the socks of the management, they won't take one considering how much they need players in other spots, and because he likely won't compete for playing time for several years.
But, maybe I'm all wrong. What say you, blogosphere?
1 -- Okung
2 -- RB (Dwyer, maybe)
4 -- LB or NT
5 -- OL
7 -- LB or NT (whichever is missing from before)