It feels like Christmas Eve a little, doesn't it? The day before draft day; the day before the Redskins have another young, elite player on their team.
So far, the Redskins pick at #4 overall (my guess for that pick is that large gentleman on the right), again at #5 in round four ( #103 overall), #32 in the fifth round (thanks to the Adam Carriker trade, that one is #163), and #1 in the seventh round (thanks again to St. Louis... that one is #208 overall).
We all have our ideas about what's going to happen tomorrow, but I thought I'd share mine so that I could look back in a few weeks and see what an idiot I was.
A few weeks back, I wrote my first estimate of how I thought the Redskins draft would shake up. Much has changed. The Redskins now have 300 more defensive linemen, a legitimate quarterback and have discussed trading at least three key players from last season.
So, let's make some predictions, shall we? I'll make 5 below.
1) The first pick for the Redskins will be Trent Williams.
We've all heard the reviews of Russell Okung. I agree that he is a great player, but Trent Williams seems to me to be a better fit for the offense. Williams is probably the best run blocker in the draft, says ESPN Insider (I'd link you to it, but I'm sure few are Insiders.) He's a better athlete than Okung, and apparently Shanahan prefers him because of his fit in the zone blocking scheme the Redskins will likely employ. He's tough as nails and, according to Todd McShay (also on Insider), he has the most skills out of any tackle in the draft. The knock on Williams is his work ethic. Not a great thing to be downgraded on, but I assume that Shanahan will investigate Williams's supposed attitude problem and see if he's the right fit. Okung is apparently safer, and more game-ready right now. But Williams has more upside, and I think Shanahan will make the call to go for the most talented tackle in the draft.
2) The Redskins will trade Jason Campbell on the second day of the draft.
Jason Campbell's value will never be higher than after the first round of the draft tomorrow. Someone will miss out on all the quarterbacks and will say to themselves, "Well, we could draft someone in the later rounds that is likely not game-ready, or we could use a pick on a starter who has had some success in this league." Think about teams that would be happy with Campbell on their roster as of right now: Oakland, Buffalo, Cleveland, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, (Pittsburgh? Jacksonville?). One of those teams (or maybe even someone else) will be more than happy to part with a 3rd or 4th round pick for a starter who has shown competency in the NFL, especially given he only has a one-year contract to deal with. My guess is he is moved to Cleveland, who won't take Clausen and will not want to trade back up in the draft to get Colt McCoy.
3) The Redskins will not trade Albert Haynesworth.
Why would they at this point? Look, the man is one of the best in the business. He's 28. We paid him $50 million. What would you possibly consider a fair value in trading him? Well, he's a first round talent with a ridiculously small contract at this point (considering we paid him almost all of it in guarantees), but a work ethic and history of "injuries" that will make other squads shy away from giving up anything more than a second- or third-rounder at best. That is not acceptable value. One last point about Haynesworth: sure, he is a malcontent. But so was/is Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, etc. These players perform when the team is WINNING. Last year, we did very little of that. I believe that Albert Haynesworth will not sit out or take plays off when the team is winning. And I think the Redskins will be doing a lot more of that this season.
4) The Redskins will draft a running back.
Clinton Portis, Willie Parker, Larry Johnson and Ryan Torian be damned. Mike Shanahan has his eyes on some running back in this draft, and my guess it's a guy none of us have heard of. Shanahan's success with running backs has been well-documented for over a decade. He does not need CJ Spiller to have a successful running attack, so I think he will find his guy later in the draft and one of those old vets will not make the cut when all is said and done. My guess is the running back is the pick in round 5.
5) The Redskins will not take a quarterback in this draft.
The Redskins only have four picks to work with and will likely use two on offensive linemen given the unit's struggles last year-- one at the top and another at the back end of the draft. Another, as I predicted, will be on a running back. Assuming they make those moves, let's look at the rest of the roster. The good news: they are loaded with talent and personnel at defensive line and will soon hopefully be loaded at offensive line. They are unquestionably stacked at TE (Cooley, Davis, Yoder), deep at CB (Rogers, Hall, Buchanon, Barnes, Tryon) decent enough at safety (Horton, Landry, Doughty, Moore), strong at FB (Sellers and presumably Yoder/Cooley if need be). Now the negatives: they have questionable depth at WR (Only four guys, three of whom have never had a full, good season), linebacker (Rak, Carter, McIntosh, Fletcher are the starters, then Blades... then who? Henson?), and possibly at quarterback (McNabb, Grossman and... ????).
Unless someone with true starter potential is still around later in the draft, Shanahan will want to improve at a position where the player may actually see the field. Even though we drafted a whole mess of WR's a few years ago, I would not mind snagging a WR in the 4th round that will push to be the #4 receiver right from the get-go. Also, if the team does not feel confident with the depth of our LB corps, I would hope that could get addressed in this draft as well. A WR or LB could make a significant impact on special teams, if not on offense or defense, right away, in 2010. The chances a 4th or 5th round quarterback actually makes it to the starting level are so small. And if McNabb doesn't pan out, wouldn't you feel better drafting a QB at the top of the draft in the future than a guy who is likely bound to be a journeyman for his entire career? I sincerely hope the Redskins use this pick for a contributer this season, not for a QB who may never see the field down the line.
These are my not-very-bold predictions. We'll soon see if I was right about any of them. In the meantime, enjoy the draft and let me have it in the comments section!