Now I'll preface this by saying I know that many of you won't like this, but if the Redskins can't trade down and this is what is on the board, these are my picks for the Redskins. I did a full mock draft to try to figure out a rough estimate for who will be on the board, but obviously other outside trades will impact it.
Now I didn't go in with a huge preference of offense versus defense, though typically I'm a defensive minded guy. My main focus was to select the best talent available at a need position. I also put a premium of helping this team early on, and having a low bust factor (especially for the high picks). I also didn't put as much emphasis on guys who don't fit our schemes, but did maybe make one exception.
Here is your 2011 Washington Redskins Draft Class:
1st (10). Tyron Smith- OT, USC:
I know, I know, but the Redskins simply need a RT bookend to complement Trent Williams, and there isn't one currently on the roster. I'm not buying the free agency options because we have no guarantees of how it will be structured and what will be available. As for Jamaal Brown, while there are a number of reasons not to want to bring him back, the simplest is that he likely doesn't want to come back as he wants to go play LT.
I know most will say a RT isn't customarily taken in the top 10, but that is simply because the position is undervalued. Teams typically run more to the right side anyways, and with a ZBS, both tackles have to handle their responsibilities on any cutback play for it to work. More and more teams are also strengthening their pass rush to bring two top level guys off the edge. Also with 3-4 teams you are seeing linebackers more and more switching sides to take advantage of weaker right tackles.
A Right tackle is involved in every single play and barring injury, offensive linemen play the vast majority of snaps at a position in a given year. The best of the bunch will play every single down if they aren't hurt. Not only are they playing every down, but a RT impacts every down as well. They have to block whether it is a run or a pass, and if they blow their assignment it will likely be a negative play. No other position impacts the game like the offensive line. And while it might be impressive to Redskins fans, taking a snap from center without falling down, is hardly impacting a play when a quarterback hands the ball off.
By adding Smith, the Redskins will have ensured two spots on their offensive line with Pro Bowl caliber players. That should allow the entire offense to improve more than any WR or QB will do.
2nd (41st): G/C Rodney Hudson, Florida State-
I know I'm sticking with the O-line, but pretty much all my arguments from above hold true here. Hudson will impact every play and he will do so at basically an All-Pro level. At this point in the 2nd round I think most of the QB's will be off the board and likely the top 4-5 receivers as well. It's possible the Redskins go for a defensive player here, but I don't think anyone offers more value than Hudson.
Some see Hudson as more of a Center, but I personally like him at LG. He has bulked up since the end of the FSU season, and while he isn't completely toned, the extra weight didn't affect him at either the Senior Bowl or the Combine. He has some of the quickest hands you will ever see from a guard and displays good leverage and anchor. I think he is a day one starter, and him and Trent will lock down that left side from opposing blitzers.
5th (144): G/T Marcus Cannon-
This is one that could get me in a little bit of trouble, but one that I'm willing to take the risk on. Cannon was a borderline top 40 talent (with some even putting him in the first round), until he was diagnosed with a form of Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma. While his stock has fallen, it is considered extremely curable and should only involve a 12 week treatment program. While Cannon might need to miss the beginning of the season or go on IR, he is expected to be fine longterm.
I know some will say that drafting another offensive lineman is a waste, but I see this as such a good value pick I can't pass it up. The Redskins could land the solution to their hole at RG, and do so in the 5th round. That is easily worth the risk, and the stockpiling of another offensive lineman. I realize he doesn't fit the mold of a typical ZBS guard, but Cannon has good athleticism and quickness for his size so if he loses some weight he should be able to make the transition.
5th (155): ILB Mark Herzlich, Boston College:
Herzlich is one of the best feel good stories in this draft, and displayed the heart and dedication that I want on the Redskins. Herzlich was once a projected first round talent, but after coming back to school he found out he had a rare bone cancer and he lost a year of playing time. Building himself back up, Herzlich wasn't at full strength this past year, and there was a noticeable difference (which is why he will slide), but he still showed that he can play football.
I think he will fit best as an ILB, where the fact that some of his range has left him, won't be as problematic. He is a sure tackler, with good coverage skills, as well as some decent pass rushing moves. He's a hardworker and the type of guy who can be the heart and soul of this team down the line. With London Fletcher nearing the end of his career I think this is the perfect guy to take over that leadership role when the time comes.
6th (177): RB Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh:
I know some might think that Lewis is too small or not fast enough to be worthy of this pick, but I disagree. Just because he doesn't have a sub 4.4 40 time doesn't mean he can't succeed. Lewis is one of the most agile and quick backs in this class, and I don't know if anyone has a better first cut than him. Lewis simply makes people miss and that is what is most important in a zone blocking scheme.
7th (213): FB Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh:
Mike Sellers has really struggled these past two seasons, blocking, rushing, and receiving and he needs to be replaced in the offense. He still might have a job given his special teams ability, but an every down upgrade is needed. Hynoski is a good blocker, and while he's not a great runner or receiver, he is more than capable of adding something to the offense.
7th (224): WR Jeff Maehl, Oregon:
The Redskins receivers behind Moss (assuming he comes back) and Armstrong aren't anything to get excited about. Maehl looks to be a good possession receiver and while he isn't exactly what the Redskins are looking for, I think he is good value for this spot and will be able to help early on in the passing game.
7th (253): NT Blaine Sumner, Colorado Mines:
If Sumner is still on the board this is a great selection as he fills a need and has some upside. Overall I don't see him as a starter, but I think he will at least contribute as a backup nose-tackle. It's good value for this spot and helps fill a need.
I myself was surprised I went with so many offensive selections, but I was adamant about fixing that offensive line, and kept getting good value in the late rounds. This draft won't be one that gets a ton of people excited but I think it lays the foundation for the Redskins down the road. How do you guys think I did?
Steve Shoup has been a Redskins fan his entire life and dreams of the day they get back to the glory days of his youth. In addition to his regular piece on Hogs Haven, you can find his daily writings at Fanspeak.com. And if you can't make it out to the Hogs Haven party, check out my NFL Draft LIVE Chat, covering every pick during the entire draft! Hope to see you there!