Jeremiah Attaochu, Demarcus Lawrence, Marcus Smith, Scott Crichton, and Kyle Van Noy. . . . .what three things do these players have in common?
#1. They're pass rushers.
#2. They are expected to be drafted in 2nd-3rd rounds
#3. They're all visiting with the Redskins
Brian Orakpo recently said in an interview that he would be "disappointed" if he and the Redskins were unable to get a long-term contract done before the July 15th deadline. If I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, Orakpo should probably brace for the let-down right about now. While pre-draft visits aren't the end-all, be-all of the draft process, and even though you can never have enough pass rushers, it all seems a little deeper than that.
After Brian Orakpo was tagged, there was no indication of any long-term agreement coming in the future. In fact, the exact opposite was true. When Jay Gruden spoke about the decision to tag Orakpo, he said:
"Pass rushers don't grow on trees, and at the time we did it, we weren't sure what pass rushers would be available."
Call me crazy but that is not a ringing endorsement at all. I'm not asking for a "we want him to be a Redskin for life," but at the very least you could praise the player you signed instead of insulting the market you might have had to shop. When Gruden was asked about the likelihood of a long-term deal, he said:
"We'd like to get him for as many years as we can, but right now I wouldn't mind letting him play out this franchise tag and see what happens."
That quote started well but didn't end up being an endorsement either. Looking at the bigger picture, "see what happens" appears to be coach-speak for "draft his replacement, groom him for a year behind Orakpo and have him take over in 2015." I've talked about contingency plans all off-season and how things always change, but that appears to be "Plan A" right now. The Redskins aren't only bringing in pass rushers, they're bringing in notable pass rushers with just low enough pedigree to be available the first and/or second time they're on the clock.
Brian Orakpo shouldn't be counted out just yet though. With the help of Coach Brian Baker, the addition of Jason Hatcher up front, and more of a one-gap attack, Orakpo could possibly have a great year. In that case, you have the luxury of having the draft pick possibly taking over a side and possibly deciding between Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. While that doesn't sound like the best plan, a luxury choice is much more inviting than one out of desperation. Ultimately, they want to avoid a repeat of this year, where they were forced to pay someone more than they valued them at because there wasn't anyone on the market or groomed that could man that spot.