Five Issues: The Draft Version

As the NFL Draft talk enters the homestretch and the actual selecting of players gets underway Saturday a little after 12 noon, here are five issues the Redskins are debating.

Trade down, trade down, trade down, trade down. I can't say this emphatically enough without yelling it out loud. The Redskins have one – ONE! – pick in the day's first draft. On day 2, they have a fifth, two sixths and a seventh. Their recent drafting history (aside from Kedric Golston last year) suggests they won't find big-time help in the final three rounds. During a pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato said the draft's best value round is second. With that in mind, the Redskins should trade out of the No. 6 spot, acquire a second-round pick and ideally, a third- or fourth-round pick. That would give the Redskins more ways to improve their depth. Even if they don't pick until the middle of the first round, they will be able to find a quality defensive lineman.
If they don't trade down, they should take Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. Here's why: A) He fills a need. The Redskins best defensive tackle – Cornelius Griffin – is getting up in age and has a history of nagging injuries that makes it unlikely that he will last all 16 games, and former starter Joe Salave'a isn't an every-down player and might not make the roster. B) Golston and Anthony Montgomery are solid players, but I don't think they're Pro Bowl-type players so depth is an issue. C) The Redskins' run defense was terrible last year and a big, athletic body is needed in the middle to take up blockers so Griffin isn't double teamed and so new middle linebacker London Fletcher won't have to fend off guards and centers to make tackles.
Trade up. Joe Gibbs said this week he ideally wants to end this year's draft with the Redskins holding all of their 2008 draft picks. (They have already lost a fourth-rounder as part of the memorable T.J. Duckett trade last year). Because they have so few picks this year and so few trade-worthy assets on the roster, dealing up to the top 3-4 picks would take their first-round pick, a player and likely the 2008 second-round pick. Yes, this would likely land them an instant impact player in Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, the surest thing in the draft. But how would this solve a defense in need a repairs that started in March and should continue in the draft?
Draft LSU safety LaRon Landry. If the Redskins are content to stay at No. 6, that's fine. I don't think the team's fanbase will fault them for not taking a bad deal just for the sake of dealing out of the spot. But do the Redskins really need a safety? No. Sean Taylor is entrenched at one starting spot and the duo of Pierson Prioleau and Omar Stoutmire can hold down the fort for another season while helping Taylor line up in the right positions. Landry can't be expected to know the defense better than Taylor and Taylor can't be expected to lead Landry since he's shown none of those characteristics. Plus, Landry's weakness is plays on the football, which means he won't help the interception total climb. Drafting Landry would make three top-10 defensive back picks in the last four years. Not good.
After listening to Gibbs, Cerrato and Snyder for nearly an hour on Tuesday, my gut is that if they stay at No. 6, they'll take Landry. Don't know how that will solve the pass rush or the run defense but it will make for a very expensive secondary and show that Gregg Williams still wields power in the draft room. Later in the draft, look for the Redskins to eventually take a defensive tackle and possibly a receiver who they think has slipped through the cracks.

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