Tandler's Take: Some Unsolicited Advice

It's not often that advice to the Redskins, or any other NFL team for that matter, is offered from this space. What usually comes from here is analysis of what has happened or, as it's more commonly known, 20-20 hindsight.

This is especially true when it comes to the NFL draft. The thinking is that the powers that be have watched much more film on college prospects and have a much better feel for the team's needs. With the NFL coverage taking precedence over everything else going on in the fall, the opportunity to watch college football is limited here and my instinct is that even a flawed judgment by those in the war room on draft day is exponentially a more informed judgment that what could be formulated here.

Despite that, however, there comes a time to throw away the conventions and offer a bit of unsolicited advice to Gibbs, Snyder, Cerrato and company in regards to the upcoming draft. A few bits, actually:

Without seeing what Chris Samuels can do under Joe Bugel's tutelage, it would make no sense to move up for the opportunity to draft Robert Gallery. True, Samuels' cap number is high, especially considering his performance the past two seasons. A team can eat one number like that, though, and still be in good shape. Giving up the fifth overall and gaining some short-term cap dollars and swapping a rookie for a veteran at a key position just doesn't seem to be a very good swap.

There is some logic to trading down, and it goes like this: The Redskins' greatest area of need is on the defensive line and there is no value on the D-line at #5. So trade down, get some extra picks, and get a defensive lineman.

The risk here is that if you trade down you don't know who's going to be available when your new pick comes. Let's say Washington cuts a deal with Houston and moves back to #10, confident that at least one of a couple of defensive linemen will be there. However, those two players could be snapped up in the two selections right before the Redskins draft. What then? Take the best D-lineman available even if you have him rated a dozen slots later? Trade back again? Draft the best available player regardless of position?

How about none of the above? Use the (hopefully) rare opportunity of having a top-five draft pick to take an impact player. One who is a difference maker, who has the potential not only to be a star player in his own right but to change the way opponents game plan, a player who, by his very presence, can make the others around him better.

While that description could fit Miami tight end Kellen Winslow, he's not the guy to take. On the field, there's the fact that a stud tight end is a luxury on an offense that already appears to be loaded for bear (or lion or giant, or whatever else comes along). Off the field, there is Winslow's choice of the Poston brothers as his agents.

Taylor, the Miami safety, is the guy to take. He's a 6-2, 230-lb bundle of outstanding athletic ability and incredible football instincts, a ball hawk with jaw-dropping makeup speed. The Redskins defense immediately becomes better with the addition of Taylor.

Isn't safety, like tight end, a kind of a luxury pick at #5, one of those positions you can fill with a later pick or a cheap free agent? Well, sure, you can and you probably should—unless Sean Taylor is available.

Taylor has Pro Bowl potential as a rookie. His presence will make the other defensive backs better since they'll be able to play tighter and gamble more and have confidence that the opposing receiver won't get past Taylor. Opposing receivers will develop alligator arms when going over the middle. The other team's quarterback will hold on to the ball a fraction of a second longer trying to account for Taylor's presence, giving the defensive line a better shot at sacking him.

In fact, if Taylor calls the coin toss before all 16 games, the Redskins will win every one of them. The grass at FedEx Field will be greener, the traffic on the way to the game will the lighter. Redskins fans all over the world will be naming their children Sean if it's a boy, Taylor if it's a girl.

OK, maybe we're getting a bit carried away here. Still, if drafting Sean Taylor at number five is such an obvious good move that it can be figured out here, then it's the definitive no-brainer.

Just do it.

Rich Tandler is the author of the new book Gut Check: The Complete History of Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. The chronicles of Gibbs quarterbacks is just part of this comprehensive book. Read accounts of each games that Gibbs coached for the Redskins, data on every player who played for him and every coach who coached under him, offseason and between-games headlines and much, much more. For details on how to obtain this book, a must-have for any true Redskins fan, go to http://www.GutCheckBook.com


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