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NFL Draft Discussion: When Should Need Trump Talent?

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s getting close!!!!!

With no sports to watch on TV and a little less than two weeks before the start of the 2020 NFL draft, fans have almost reached the breaking point.

Discussions have turned to debates. Debates have turned to disagreements. Disagreements have quickly morphed into arguments.

Tis that time of year, and in Redskins country, this is the norm.


One of the biggest discussions around the draft is filling needs versus drafting the best player available regardless of need.

I am of the belief that Value has to match up to the Need, but others argue that teams who draft for need often miss out on better players for doing so. There is a time where I think need does trump talent, and that is when a quarterback is in play. Now, it may not always work out this way, but many times, teams in NEED of a franchise quarterback will move up, or select that signal caller over a more talented player that may not be at a high position of need.

Which side is right?...

This is a debate that will go on long after we are all gone. But, make no mistake - each side has its pros and cons.

For the Redskins, we have seen BOTH approaches over the past decade.

2010:

Selected: Trent Williams

No problem here. Offensive tackle was a big need and there were two players who were viewed at the top of this offensive tackle class - Trent Williams and Russell Okung. The Redskins made the correct decision taking Williams.

2011:

Redskins traded the 10th overall pick to the Jaguars and received number 16 and a second round pick.

Selected: Ryan Kerrigan

Passed up: J.J. Watt

Kerrigan was a great college player in his own right, but was definitely seen as a 4-3 defensive end rather than a 3-4 outside linebacker. Watt could have plugged right into a 3-4 front as a 5-technique. The Kerrigan pick was not a bad one, but the Watt pick could have been a franchise-changer.

2012:

Redskins traded pick number 6, 2012 second rounder, and 2013 and 2014 first round picks to the Rams for number 2 overall.

Selected: Robert Griffin III

This was definitely a need pick and a desperate one at that. Despite the fact that Griffin was an outstanding athlete playing the quarterback position, the draft capital given up to go get him is viewed as excessive by most.

2013 and 2014:

*No 1st round picks

2015:

Selected: Brandon Scherff

Passed up: Leonard Williams

There was a TON of debate over who was the better prospect at number five between Leonard Williams and Brandon Scherff. Most leaned towards Williams, but many assumed, based on Scot McCloughan’s pre-draft comments, that the pick would be Scherff.

2016:

Redskins traded the 21st overall pick to the Texans and received number 22 and a seventh round pick.

Selected: Josh Doctson

Passed up: Will Fuller

This is a tough one. There wasn’t a ton of can’t miss prospects in the first round. There certainly was a need at wide receiver, as the Redskins were entering the final years of both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson’s contracts, and it was widely speculated that at least one, if not both, would be gone in 2017. This was also a draft that was considered fairly deep at defensive tackle(a pretty big team need).

2017:

Selected: Jonathan Allen

This is a case where value and need lined up perfectly.

2018:

Selected: Daron Payne

Passed up: Derwin James

This is the classic need over best player case. There was a major need for a run-stuffing defensive tackle ever since the Redskins switched to the 3-4 defense back in 2010. Bruce Allen and company chose that need over the far better player(who was also a need) in safety Derwin James.

2019:

Selected: Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Selected: Montez Sweat

The Redskins held the 15th overall pick in the draft. They held tight at that spot and landed tremendous value at a position of great need in quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Then, they made a move back into the first to select EDGE rusher Montez Sweat, who had fallen due to a mis-diagnosed heart condition. Despite trading away future draft picks to land Sweat, that pick also represented massive value at a position of great need.


2020 NFL Draft Class

The Redskins currently hold the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The team currently has the following top NEEDS.

-Offensive Tackle

-Cornerback

-Tight End

-Free Safety

-Wide Receiver

Two of these needs currently reside within the Big 4(QB, Lock-Down Corner, EDGE Rusher, Blindside Offensive Tackle).

With a team who has as many needs as the Redskins, drafting the pure Best Player Available is a luxury. The question is, is that “luxury” too good to pass up on?

I am a believer in a Value versus Needs drafting approach. A team may have a few players bunched together at their pick. They may not all be rated exactly the same, but if they are rated CLOSE enough, you pick the player who fills the greatest need. The issues arises when you have a player who is by far and away the best player in the draft at your respective position - which is how I see our situation this year with Chase Young likely to be on the board when we pick at number two.

Young does fall into the Big 4 category, but he’s not an immediate need for this team. The question then becomes, is there a player who the Redskins have rated close to him, who also fills a position of need?

Some say Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah is that player.


Playing the Hypothetical Game:

Just for feces and giggles, let’s say that Chase Young, after seeing the top three teams in the 2020 NFL Draft, decided to return to Ohio State for his senior season.

The Redskins are picking at number two. The team’s needs remain the same(OT, CB, TE, FS, WR). Who would be the pick assuming no one is interested in trading into the number two spot?

- Isaiah Simmons: Some Big Boards have Simmons ahead of Okudah, others have it switched. Regardless, Simmons is widely viewed as a top five prospect in this draft. However, he’s not one of the Big 4, and he’s not as a position of desperate need for the Redskins.

- Jeff Okudah: Okudah certainly checks off a few boxes for the Redskins. He’s widely regarded as a top five overall prospect in this draft, and he falls at a position of great need for the Redskins. He’s also one of the Big 4.

- Derrick Brown: The Auburn defensive tackle is viewed as a top five overall prospect by both Todd McShay and Daniel Jeremiah(both have him as the fourth overall prospect), but he is not at a position of need for the Redskins and he’s not one of the Big 4.

- Tua Tagovailoa: If not for injury concerns, Tua may be higher on this list. Still, many view him as a top five draft prospect for 2020. He does fall into the Big 4, but he’s not at a position of need for new head coach and decision maker Ron Rivera...or is he?

Poll

If Chase Young were not in this draft, who should the Redskins pick at number two?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Isaiah Simmons
    (255 votes)
  • 55%
    Jeff Okudah
    (405 votes)
  • 0%
    Derrick Brown
    (7 votes)
  • 8%
    Tua Tagovailoa
    (62 votes)
729 votes total Vote Now