(photo by Harry How)
For the 31 teams who did not win the Super Bowl the previous year, NFL draft weekend represents hope – hope that through hard work and a little bit of luck they’ll walk away with the missing pieces to help propel their respective franchise to championship level.
Like anyone else, fans of the Washington Redskins are cautiously optimistic that this weekend will be the next step in seeing their favorite team return to glory. To help prepare folks for this weekend’s festivities we asked some local experts to share their take on how things might possibly shake out when the Redskins are on the clock. So far we’ve talked to Matt Terl and Ryan O’Halloran. Our third installment brings us John Keim, who covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributor to the Sporting News and Warpath Insiders.
Before we get started, let’s take a rational look at the Washington Redskins roster as currently constructed. Which areas are most in need of an upgrade heading into the draft?
I think that’s obvious by this point, right? They need a pass-rushing end, a right tackle and a strong-side linebacker. They could use an anchor at left end, a young Phillip Daniels type, but do you draft that sort of player at 13?
Assuming the Redskins can’t trade out of the 13th pick, who would be the smartest pick at that spot? Safest pick? Riskiest pick?
The smartest pick is tough because we don’t know who will be available. If Brian Orakpo falls to this spot, he’d be the smartest because of the position he plays. Same with a guy like Andre Smith. And I think the smartest thing to do here is not to panic and feel they HAVE to get someone at a position.
The safest pick is probably Brian Cushing. He will be there. And those I’ve talked to rate him as the best of the three USC linebackers. He plays a position of need and he fits what they want in an strong-side linebacker.
The riskiest pick would be Michael Oher or Rey Maualuga. Both are talented, no doubt. Both bring some baggage. I also think a lot of the rush ends would be risky because each one pretty much has warts on their game.
If everything fell into place for the Redskins front office, which player do they end up with and what draft spot do they take him from?
Mark Sanchez. Ideally they’d take him at 13 because that would require no trade. To guarantee his arrival in D.C., they’d have to trade to number three. I’m not sold on Seattle taking him, so they might get away by moving into, say, the eighth pick.
Can you give us two or three players who don’t play quarterback who the ‘Skins could possibly be interested in?
Brian Orakpo, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Michael Oher. At this point the names are well-known.
We’ve covered their dream situation. We’ve identified potential targets. When it’s all said and done, who do you think the Redskins end up with after the first round is complete?
Mark Sanchez. The Redskins would look bad if they whiffed on another quarterback.