Draft Report

For several months there was one guy I thought the Redskins should take. They needed a safety. And the best safety available happened to be a guy who could become the best at his position. In a hurry.

And then I started to waver the closer the draft came. Last week I leaned toward Kellen Winslow, picturing a dominant offense, one that would need no tinkering for several years. I also thought that's where the Redskins were leaning.

Thank goodness they weren't. Because the further we get from draft day, the more I know how right it was to pick Taylor.

Yes, Joe Gibbs loves his H-backs and Winslow could be an exceptional one. But, in hindsight, Gibbs doesn't need an exceptional one. Just a smart hard-nosed player. They may already have that in Brian Kozlowski or even Mike Sellers, though I wonder more about the mental side with him. I wonder much more. Chris Cooley, though, can give Gibbs what he needs.

So they can be covered at H-back without Winslow. But this defense would not have been able to compensate for the problems at safety. Not with a line that is average at best. They needed a guy who could quarterback the defense and that's what Taylor can do.

With Taylor, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can run his type of defense. He can be more aggressive, knowing he has someone back there he can trust at free safety. And Matt Bowen can return to his more natural spot at strong safety.

With Taylor, the corners can play tighter coverage. With Taylor, Bowen can play more in the box if he needs to. With Taylor, they can call more blitzes.

Without him, they would be limited. And that's why he's absolutely the right choice.

As for the rest of the draft, I've never seen Cooley play so any opinion is formed off a scouting report. But I like his description, knowing he sounds like a Joe Gibbs type.

The tackles make me wonder. Not about them, but about Chris Samuels. And I think this is more the reporter/skeptic side of me than reality. I wonder if they drafted the tackles so they could spend a year grooming them, see if one of them will pan out and then use them to replace Samuels, who could be a cap casualty one of these days.

If that is their thinking, I say it's smart. Maybe, for a change, they can replace an expensive player with one who is far less cheaper, but also effective. Of course, if Samuels returns to his Pro Bowl form, then both players would pale in comparison. Still, I like that this line of reasoning. On the other hand, there could be no connection whatsoever, as some have told me there isn't.

I also don't mind them not taking defensive tackles or ends at this point. The kind of defensive linemen they need, they won't find in the fifth or sixth round. Offensive linemen seem to pan out better in these rounds than defensive linemen. Besides, the backups along the line are probably as good as they're going to be. Get someone who has potential to be better. Whether or not Mark Wilson or Jim Molinaro can be that, I don't know. Everyone sounds good when they're picked.

But I don't mind handing Joe Bugel a couple of young tackles, then seeing what happens. If you were going to do that with anyone, it would be him. Isn't it nice to have coaches you can trust with young players?

Breaking Burgundy Top Stories