I have seen a lot of posts arguing about which player the Redskins should take with the 34th pick in the draft. All of these are wrong. This is like Vinny Cerrato thinking that the team was one great player away from glory. It wasn't, and it isn't. This team needs at least 10 new players who could start with a year - and won't get them all in this draft. The team needs numbers, not one or two players. This front office cannot afford to fall in love with one any potential draftee anywhere in the draft.
This is the deepest draft I can ever remember. There are at least 45-50 players would would be a #1 pick in a normal year. That means that the team can TRADE DOWN and get a quality starter plus one or more other picks who would start by the end of the year. According to the standard value table, you should be able to get a mid-round #2 and a #4 pick for the 34th pick, maybe with a #6 or #7 thrown in. Try the Fanspeak mocks that have a trade engine built in - it's very easy to do. In fact, you can trade down 4-6 spots and keep picking up more picks until your are in danger of not getting the equivalent of a #1 you want with your mid-round #2. Note: There will be starters chosen through the 5th, maybe into the 6th round. Essentially, you get 2 starters by trading the higher pick, and you may be able to do this several times. You can easily turn the 6 picks the Skins have in 11 or 12, almost all of them above round 7.
WHAT DO THEY NOT NEED?
WR: Given all the needs this team has, drafting a WR early is a waste of a pick that could yield a starter. Which high-priced starter are you going to sit to play a draftee? Who are you going to get that's better than the reserves there now?
RB: RB is a luxury, given the depth now. They should not draft a RB before round 6 (if they end up with at least a dozen picks) or round 7 (if they have fewer). This year is a bad class of RBs. They only late round talent work taking that I see is Tyler Gaffney, who is Alfred Morris with 4.5 speed. Please, no head case like Anthony Thomas.
QB: Taking anyone before round 6 is a wasted pick - they will languish on the bench and take the place of a different pick that could be a starter. Nobody who will be taken late has any talent worth drafting.
WHAT DO THEY NEED?
OL: Obviously critical to get 1; 2 would be nice. I think G is a bigger need than RT - how many times was Chester pushed into RGIII's passing arm last year? Polumbus is about average for the league - Chester was downright bad. Center is a long-term need too. Good news: They may get a starting guard in Round 2 (Su'a-Filo, Yankey, or my favorite, Gabe Jackson). Bad news: No mid-round guards are worth the pick. They can get a starting OT into Round 3, maybe even Round 4. At least one of Jack Mewhort, Tiny Richardson, Ju'wuan James, or Billy Turner may be there at the top of Round 4, and any of them would be an upgrade. However, they need an OL early. Other than Hurst, no other OT is worth the pick in this draft. Lots of permanent reserves or worse in later rounds. On the other hand, I like the centers likely available in Rd 6; Bodine (my preference), Starks, or Ikard could start some day.
S: They need 2 if they can get them. Desperate need. They have 2 players in their last year starting for the team, Thomas who may or may not recover from a Lisfranc injury that often never heals, and Rambo who is underrated but a career backup at best. They other options are just guys. They need players who can take over at FS and SS after a one year apprenticeship. The problem: there are very few safeties available after Rd 1 who can fill that bill. Likely available in Rd 2: Ward, Buchanon; Rd 3-4: Loston, Dixon, Brooks, Bailey, Reynolds. Rd 4-5: Marqueston Huff. That's it. They have to pick the first one by the end of Rd 3 or they may miss out completely. It's a matter of numbers.
CB: They need 2, at least 1 of which who can play now. Hall has a year or two at most left in him; they need to groom his replacement ASAP. Little depth in the crew at the moment - they need a backup too. Fortunately, eventual starters will be available through Rd 5 (there are a lot of them who will go in that round).
DL: They must get 2. They have one of the oldest lines in the league, and there isn't much talent there. Hatcher and Colfield may have 2-3 years left; everyone else on the line is a below average player who should be replaced ASAP. It isn't talked about much, but this is one of the deepest drafts for DL in memory. They have got to take at least 2 DL. Here's the problem: they have specialized needs. Ideally, they would get 2 players who can play both in a 3-4 and a 4-3 DL because they play both. That means: 250 lb weakling speedster edge rushers who become 3-4 LBs in this defense don't count. There are a limited number of quality 5 Technique guys, especially those who are versatile to the 3-4 and 4-3. The best are Tuitt, Crichton, Hageman (all going in Rd 1 or top half of Rd 2), Kareem Martin, Daquan Jones (Rds 3-4), Taylor Hart, Brent Urban (Rds 4-5), and maybe Stinson (Rd 5) if you can live with a guy who might not get a sack in his entire career at DE. Any of these could start within a year, and nobody else in the draft has the versatility and dependability to do it. The rest of the DL class is filled with underachieving coach killers who have no technique or motivation (e.g., Quarles, McCullers, Ellis, Easley). You would love to have a NT for this D but there aren't many. Nix and Jernigan probably will go in Rd 1; late, everyone with a 3-4 will want Carrethers. Don't hold your breath on getting a true sumo wrestler NT.
LB: They need a starting ILB (and this draft has few of them) and an edge rusher who can be turned into an OLB, possibly to replace Orakpo if he leaves in a year, otherwise for depth. This draft is loaded with those guys and quality rotational players will be there through Rd 5 who potentially could start for Orakpo (not his equal, but capable replacements). ILB who can start within a year (such as Zumwalt) also will be available in Rd 5 or maybe 6 (Fortt).
Overall strategy: Trade down relentlessly to get picks in Rd 5 and above. Try to turn 6 picks into 10 -12 picks this year. Priorities, taking into account scarcity in the draft and need, as follows:
Rd 2: Trade down until the choice is obvious in the best top S, DL, or OL left on the board.
Rd 3: One of the other positions not taken earlier. Wait on DL if necessarily until Rd. 4.
Rd 4: Last chance to get an OT. By the end of the round, get a S, DL, and OL. If trading down produced an extra pick, also pick up a second S, CB, DL, or speed rusher/OLB, whichever is top of the board at that point.
Rd.5: Hopefully they will have 3-4 picks after trades. Get CBs and DL while you can. ILB and speed rusher/OLB here.
Rd 6: Hopefully at least 2 picks here. Get a reserve C (Bodine), NT (Carrethers only), TE (Jack Murphy), or 4-3 OLB (Shembo).
Rd 7: BPA from among S, OLB, RB (Gaffney only) or G - the value is at those positions in the round, especially safety if we still need one.