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Hogs Haven Chats with Mike Richman, Host of Burgundy and Gold Magazine

With the draft in the books, we had a chance to sit down with Mike Richman, the host of the local TV show Burgundy and Gold Magazine. The show will be taping next at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockville this Thursday night. Guests on the show include former Redskins great Brian Mitchell, Grant Paulsen from 106.7 The Fan, and Ken Meringolo (yours truly) from Hogs Haven. Hope to see you all out there.

I put a handful of questions to the author of The Redskins Encyclopedia and The Washington Redskins Football Vault. Stay tuned for more of our conversation later in the week.

Hogs Haven: So the Redskins finally took a lineman...who would you have selected between Trent Williams and Russell Okung?

Mike Richman: It's just a relief that the Redskins drafted an O-lineman, particularly a player who can seemingly step in immediately at left tackle.  With the retirement of Chris Samuels, filling that position was the Redskins' top priority.  Forget whether they should have traded up for Sam Bradford or drafted Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow.  Knowing Vinny Cerrato's tendencies, that's what may have happened if he were still in Washington.  Donovan McNabb is hopefully their starting QB for the next three of four seasons.  Williams and Okung were two of the most highly touted O-lineman in the draft, but Williams seems to have a little bit of a greater upside because he runs a 4.8 40, which is phenomenal for a man his size.  You need someone with very quick feet at left tackle to protect the quarterback's blind side.  Williams is also versatile and can play various positions along the line.

HH: Do you think Trent Williams was the overall best player available when we picked? 

MR: You could argue that Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry was a better "overall player" than Williams.  Berry is arguably the best safety to be drafted since the Redskins took Sean Taylor in 2004.

HH: What did we learn about Bruce Allen's draft style?

MR: We learned that Allen has a firm handle on the Redskins' key need: fortifying the O-line.  He drafted three offensive linemen: Williams, New Mexico center Erik Cook and West Virginia's Selvish Capers.  He didn't just draft the highest-rated players that were available when the Redskins picked, which was Cerrato's philosophy.  The Redskins have neglected drafting offensive and defensive linemen in the past decade, and never before in the Snyder era had they picked as many as three O-linemen in the same draft.  You win this game in the trenches.  Also, Allen needs to stockpile draft choices.  The Eagles had 13 picks in this year's draft, the most of any team, and we know how successful they've been in the past decade.

Unfortunately, what the Allen-Shanahan duo failed to do was trade problem-child defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.  Allen says the Redskins never tried to trade him, but I think that's just a smokescreen.  I would've been happy with a third-round pick.  When Big Al comes to play, he's the best in the game.  But he often takes plays off - as we saw many times last season - and can be more trouble than he's worth - as we're seeing now.  The Redskins need to part ways with him.  Otherwise, I foresee a disaster this season because he doesn't want to play in the 3-4 system.

HH: How happy is McNabb about the Williams pick?

MR: I'm sure that he's elated.  McNabb isn't as mobile as he once was and will be 34 next season.  He needs all of the protection he can find.

HH: Assess the Jason Campbell trade:

MR: It was good for the Redskins and Raiders.  A No. 4 pick was probably the best the Redskins could get for Campbell, so that's a bit of a victory.  The Raiders have their best quarterback perhaps since Rich Gannon, who quarterbacked Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII.   For me, JC's departure is bitter-sweet.  I've interviewed him one-on-one and have been involved in many of his media scrums and press conferences.  He's probably the most humble pro athlete I've ever been around.  There isn't a conceited bone in his body.  For that reason, he's the type of player you want to root for and see succeed.  Plus, he had his best season statistically last year playing behind a porous O-line and with no consistent playmakers.  With that said, Campbell is a slightly above-average quarterback at best.  He often tightens-up when games are on the line, a characteristic that prevents him from being a great QB.  In at least four games last season, he had an opportunity to lead the Redskins on a game-winning or game-tying drive in the final two minutes and failed to do it:

--- 7-6 loss to Cowboys - interception

--- 27-24 loss to Eagles - 4-and-out  

--- 33-30 overtime loss to Saints - interception at end of regulation

--- 23-20 loss to Chargers - 4-and-out

HH: Will Perry Riley be starting in Week 1?

MR: It's possible, but we won't know until he plays in minicamps and training camp.  It looks like he can play in a 3-4 system, which the Redskins plan to use with Jim Haslett running the defense.  Riley, a 2008 finalist for the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker, can play on the inside, and the Redskins need someone to step in at MLB with London Fletcher about to turn 35.  The Redskins also may prepare Riley to replace Rocky McIntosh, who may be gone after the 2010 season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.