Needy Redskins could use a few more draft picks
When Mike Shanahan started listing the holes in the Washington
Redskins roster, it took him a while to finish.
”We can have help on the offensive line,” Shanahan said. ”We
need some depth at wide receiver. The quarterback situation as
well. You’re always looking for that young guy possibly being a
”On defense, our interior defensive front, switching over to a
3-4, and also a linebacker position as well. So we’ve got a number
of directions we can go.”
Lots of ways to go, but there’s one other gaping hole that
inhibits Shanahan and the Redskins from getting there – a dry spell
of more than 100 selections in prime talent-gathering territory in
next week’s NFL draft.
The Redskins have picks in the first and second rounds (Nos. 10
and 41 overall) and then aren’t scheduled to be on the board again
until the 144th overall selection in Round 5. The third and fourth
rounds are where savvy teams go to find affordable talent that have
can a significant impact in the not-too-far future, but Shanahan
and general manager Bruce Allen traded away those picks last year
for Donovan McNabb and Jammal Brown.
Giving the Philadelphia Eagles two picks for McNabb ranks as the
first big mistake of the Shanahan-Allen era. Before last year’s
draft, Allen boasted: ”When the 37th pick comes up in our draft
room, there’s going to be a nice cheer that we’ve selected Donovan
It’s safe to say there will be no cheering this year when the
second McNabb-traded pick comes around. McNabb proved to be a
disappointment who couldn’t mesh into Shanahan’s offense and was
benched for the final three games. McNabb is now in Redskins roster
limbo – the team can’t trade him because player deals aren’t
allowed during the ongoing NFL lockout. It’s nearly impossible to
imagine him returning for next season, and the coach has so kept
his plans to himself.
”I’m not going to go into that scenario until after the
draft,” Shanahan said. ”After the draft, I’m going to talk about
If the Redskins only needed a quarterback, they expected move
would be to maneuver the first-round selection to seek the
franchise player Shanahan would love to have, but a team coming off
a 6-10 season – and its third straight last-place finish in the NFC
East – needs help on so many fronts that the more conventional
wisdom has Washington trading down.
”Even though it looks like you don’t have any picks in the
third and fourth round, there’s a possibility you could move back
and get a couple of picks very quickly,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan even outlined specifically how that could play out.
There are two highly touted receivers in the draft – A.J. Green of
Georgia and Julio Jones of Alabama – and many mock drafts have
Jones being available for the Redskins at No. 10.
”Let’s say there’s two wide receivers and all of a sudden one
wide receiver goes off,” Shanahan said. ”All of a sudden it comes
to be the 10th pick, you may have three or four calls very
But Shanahan is also a cagey veteran of the NFL. His talk of
trading down might be his way of creating a smoke screen on plans
to, say, trade up to get a quarterback like Missouri’s Blaine
Whoever the Redskins pick, they desperately need to have a
successful three days. Poor drafts have set the franchise back
repeatedly over the last decade. The last three drafts have
produced only two players – Brian Orakpo and Trent Williams – who
are safe bets as starters on opening day.
”Everybody’s got a game plan,” Shanahan said. ”Some people
want to move up. Some people want to move back. You have to feel
very comfortable with your board either way, if you’re moving back
or moving up. You’ve got to feel confident you can get the players
that you want.”