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

franchise guy.

”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

McNabb.”

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

it.”

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

quickly.”

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

Gabbert.

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.”