With the recent acquisition of Donovan McNabb from the Eagles, the Redskins have solidified the quarterback position and increased their flexibility in the upcoming NFL rookie draft. And with that extra flexibility, it appears the team is now putting up various smokescreens in order to maximize their return from the draft picks they currently have.
Due to previous personnel moves, the Redskins currently have only four picks in the draft and there is plenty of speculation the team will attempt to make trades at or before the draft to increase their overall number of picks.
Their second round pick was moved to the Eagles as part of the McNabb trade, their sixth round pick was part of the Jason Taylor trade and the team used their 2010 third round pick to take defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the third round of the 2009 supplemental draft.
The easiest avenue for the Redskins to pick up extra draft picks would be to trade Albert Haynesworth, who reportedly does not want to move to nose tackle in the team’s new 3-4 defensive alignment. However, few teams are likely to want to take on his massive contract.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan indicated the team was still considering taking a quarterback with the fourth overall selection in the draft, reasoning that some of the best quarterbacks in the league benefitted from being a backup during their first few years in the league.
Then came reports that the team was interested in acquiring former Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams to shore up that position on the offensive line. Even for a Redskins team famed for its reputation for acquiring aging veterans, this potential free agent signing seems to be a stretch.
More likely, these moves are an attempt to create a smokescreen in an attempt to influence teams lower in the draft to increase their offers for the Redskins first round selection.
Numerous teams have needs at tackle and may be willing to move up to acquire the consensus top offensive tackle in the draft, Oklahoma State’s Russell Okung.
However, the real target of this smokescreen is likely the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have a need at quarterback and at left tackle and may be willing to move up to acquire Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
If the Bills are convinced the Redskins are ready to sign Adams to play left tackle and take Clausen fourth overall, they would need to entice the Redskins to move the pick in order to get one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft.
Alternatively, if the Bills were convinced Clausen was going to the Redskins, they might be willing to increase a potential offer for Jason Campbell.
Either way, the Redskins would increase the number of picks they have in the draft as well as receive extra value in any potential Bills trade. Whether or not the Bills and rookie general manager Buddy Nix bite is anyone’s guess.
Here’s a look at the Redskins roster needs as the draft approaches.
Shanahan has a history of using lower round picks on the running back position but that may have to wait until the 2011 draft given the team’s overall needs. With aging veterans Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker occupying the depth chart, this position needs an upgrade but that may not happen unless they can move the fourth overall selection.
Santana Moss returns as the team’s top wide receiver but he leaves something to be desired as a true number one receiver. With Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly entering their third years, the team is hopeful that one or both of them will finally start producing consistently. The team also has hopes for 2009 seventh round pick Marko Mitchell who has good size and speed. There isn’t a need at tight end with the duo of Chris Cooley and Fred Davis.
With Chris Samuels’ retirement, the Redskins have a gaping hole at left tackle and figure to address that at some point in the first round of the draft assuming the Adams interest is a smokescreen.
Right tackle Stephon Heyor hasn’t impressed and could be challenged by Artis Hicks. Derrick Dockery returns at left guard but Randy Thomas was released creating a vacancy at right guard. Casey Rabach is solid at center but is entering his tenth year in the league.
The Redskins need to address two starting positions as well as the overall depth along the offensive line.
The Redskins are moving to a 3-4 defense but don’t figure to have the difficulties in doing so that many teams have faced. The team has significant depth along the defensive line so it will be a surprise if any selections in the draft address this position.
With Andre Carter moving to outside linebacker to start alongside London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh (who is expected to move inside) and emerging star Brian Orakpo, the Redskins figure to have a solid starting unit. There is little depth behind the starters other than H.B. Blades and converted defensive end Chris Wilson.
The Redskins are set at cornerback with DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rogers, Philip Buchanon, Justin Tryon, Byron Westbrook and Kevin Barnes. However, the situation at safety is a little unsettled due to the struggles last season of LaRon Landry, Chris Horton and Reed Doughty. Kareem Moore could push for playing time there but the team would likely address the safety position in the draft.