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Awfully needy 9-7 team

Matt Williamson at ESPN writes: Redskins have a new head coach and lots of draft needs. The title shouted at me, since I was of the opinion that we didn't have that many serious needs, as we have in years past. But, to Williamson's credit, I think he does a fine job of explaining just where the team is at and where it isn't, even if the title perhaps overstates the case. He says...

Washington could go a lot of different ways with its early draft selections. However, that is both good and bad. The Redskins are not pigeon-holed into one glaring position of need so that should allow them to take the best athlete available, but that also is a sign that Washington could use help in a lot of areas. Washington could use a safety, line help and probably another cornerback on defense. They could also use offensive line depth and a big wide receiver, which is probably their most prominent need if we had to choose just one. The other obvious remaining question is how Zorn will handle his new duties.
Reed Doughty will know where he stands with the coaching staff by draft day 2; if we haven't selected a safety by then, it's a good bet he'll end up the unchallenged starter heading into 2008. I remain convinced, though, that Doughty overachieved his way into Gregg Williams' heart and question whether a new HC is willing to take a chance on a 6th round pick out of Northern Colorado. The good news for Doughty is that new Redskins D-Coordinator Greg Blache has been with the team for the past four years and thus is more inclined to keep personnel around than if, say, Zorn had brought in his own guys. Blache knows Reed Doughty.

Everyone could use line help. By the metrics I care about, the Redskins were mediocre last year. Our adjusted sack rate of 5.7% was lower than the league average (6.4%). This was still a marked improvement over 2006 and there is reason for optimism. Andre Carter appears to have found himself once more in Washington, and we've developed some young defensive tackles in Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston, who should both improve over time. Also, Chris Wilson emerged as a pass rushing threat with 4 sacks on the season and two mas in our playoff loss. The bad news is that Phillip Daniels and Cornelius Griffin aren't getting any younger and need replacing sooner rather than later. I have more confidence that Kedric the Barbarian can be a full time defensive tackle than I do that Chris Wilson can do same for Phillip Daniels (based only on the sample size; I know more about Golston) and so I tentatively lean towards drafting a DE over a DT. Also, Daniels is 3 years older than Griffin. Another reason to suspect we'll go defensive line as opposed to another position is that Greg Blache was formerly the line coach, and he understands the needs of that position more than anyone else on staff.

Offensive line depth is a no brainer, even as we just resigned Jason Fabini. That unit is old by old standards, and five positions cannot be filled by Stephon Heyer and Lorenzo Alexander, even thought he latter is the definition of a football utility player. At some point we're going to have to start drafting offensive linemen and, more importantly than that, they're going to have to start sticking. That means less Kili Lefotu, less Mark Wilson, less Jim Molinaro, more Derrick Dockery. (Draft history.)

Another cornerback could be a good direction given injuries to Carlos Rogers and Shawn Springs' age, though I don't know if that's something I'd address in the first two rounds. Just my opinion, though.

On to the Big Wide Receiver. You guys already own this discussion in this diary, raising all the points I would and then some. If we're sold on WR and Defensive Line, the question is how best to exercise a draft day one-two punch. Do we go...:

Malcolm Kelly / Calais Campbell first two picks better than a Harvey / whoever draft?
The alternative is that we go big wide receiver after the first two, a strategy I wouldn't mind especially given my perhaps irrational faith in Anthony Mix to emerge as that role player. If all we want is a large body to move chains not farther than 7-8 yards from scrimmage, can we not get that guy in later rounds?

That said, I am not opposed to drafting a wide receiver early on (2nd round!). As the SB Nation Mock Draft is quickly approaching, I'm using this opportunity to solicit you, reader(s), for advice on who to draft. I want Hogs Haven's pick to be community decided, as it is apparent you all know more about the draft than I do. I'm simply not a draft guru. X+1 heads > X heads.