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Posted at 1:06 PM ET, 02/21/2011

If I were in charge of the Redskins' draft plans ...

By LaVar Arrington

If the NFL Draft were held today and I were the Redskins general manager, whom would I select in the first round?

It's clear this draft will be dominated by defensive players, especially early, with the the typical number of quarterbacks sprinkled in. With this in mind -- and knowing the many needs this team has -- I would trade the 10th pick for more picks later in the draft.

By moving down but getting more picks, I would be in better position to fill what I believe are the Redskins' most imporant needs: nose tackle and tailback.

My goal in this draft would be to land Baylor's Phil Taylor, a very talented and raw nose tackle, and Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams. If I was really fortunate and ended up with two picks in the second round, I would also target Miami wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

If I were able to pull these picks off, I would have effectively made this team better. Let me explain.

I've had the opportunity to watch Taylor grow and mature as a player. He started out at my alma mater, Penn State, before transferring to Baylor. He is very sturdy, strong and surprisingly quick. In my opinion, he's a bigger strong version of the Green Bay Packers' B.J. Raji. Taylor will provide instant presence on a defensive line that needs that dominant force in the middle. The Redskins need an impact player that can contribute immediately at that position.

Next I would go after Williams. He is the type of back that would help Donovan McNabb have more success on offense. Yes, I said McNabb. Keep in mind this is based off what I would do. In my opinion, Williams is the most multi-dimensional running back in the draft. He's elusive, strong, fast and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

This offense desperately needs a back the QB can dump the ball to in pressure situations or on screen plays. I believe such a player would help McNabb reemerge as a dominant quarterback, and Williams' ability to make people miss and get positive yards would also greatly help the offensive line. Defenses would be forced to pay attention to the back releasing out of the backfield.

Williams wouldn't even need to start. Ryan Torain can assume the starting role on early downs. Torain and Williams would form a dangerous backfield that would shore up the backfield for quite some time, and the combination of a power runner mixed with a shifty, quick, elusive back could be perfect.

The dream would be that trading the 10th pick would get me enough that I could also land Hankerson. He is an amazing talent, with a big body and big-play ability, something this team has needed for quite sometime now.

If Malcolm Kelly can come back healthy and finally get in the groove, then we'd have Kelly and Hankerson on the outside, with Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong and maybe even Brandon Banks as the slot receivers. That's a younger and better unit than a year ago.

I would also try to find a quarterback but none in this class blows me away so I'd wait until deeper in the draft before addressing that situation.

By LaVar Arrington  | February 21, 2011; 1:06 PM ET
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I completely agree with this draft plan. There isn't a QB that is a sure thing at the 10th pick. It's time to build this team the right way and arguably, the most important piece of a 3-4 defense is the NT position. Hankerson was very impressive during the Sr Bowl week. Regarding the QB position, I feel that it makes a lot more sense to take TCU QB Andy Dalton in a later rd, possibly the 5th rd. He is a proven winner and it's a low risk choice in the later part of the draft.

Posted by: Danielorourke | February 21, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The only difference between mine and Mr. Arrington's draft strategy, I would target a pass rushing OLB to play opposite Orakpo in the 2nd round. Regarding the RB position, perhaps they could target WVU RB Noel Devine in a later round. Great athlete who could be used in the screen game and is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets a touch.

Posted by: Danielorourke | February 21, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This is great, lavar layed out the most perfect, and actually possible outcome. As we've all heard, the NT position is the most crucial part of a 3-4 defense. That being said, Phil Taylor would be an instant force in the middle. I've been watching ryan williams since he came to blacksburg, and he is a beast. He could have easily been one of the top two rbs in this years draft, had injuries and darren evans not held him back. Leonard Hankerson would be great, but i don't think he will last too long in the second round because his stock has been rising ever since the senior bowl. Later rounds, like say the fourth, we could and should target robert sands, free saftey out of wvu, who is an absolute beast. I'm not saying he is the second coming of sean taylor (who is?), but he could more than fill our dire need in the FS position, atleast, more than kareem moore.

Posted by: akpalla | February 21, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes to trade down.

Yes to Taylor.

No to RB/WR so high. We need Oline and an OLB to compliment Rak with those 2 picks.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | February 21, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes to getting a NT. Though I think if you wanted to make all these moves, you would also need to trade our 2nd round pick back into a 2-3.

Posted by: alex35332 | February 21, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Lavar- I'd trade back too...But it takes two to tango. Who would want to move up? Trades into the top 10 are rare.

Posted by: Diesel44 | February 21, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

One more thing LA: You've bemoaned the OL and made excuses for McNabb (some deserved)...How are you not going to draft OL with one of those 3 picks?

Posted by: Diesel44 | February 21, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your selections and the needs you identified is very true. But, you did not address the offense line. The line needs are very real. Need guard and a center and the right tackle also needs to addressed. The current guards and center are in the twilight of there careers and if nothing else, drafting replacements in the lower rounds will not be easy.

Posted by: dcskipjack | February 22, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

LaVar says Taylor would make an immediate impact..yet he says he is a raw talent. That usually means the player is a couple of years away from being ready. Trent was suppose to be ready coming in..he had learning I wonder about Taylor? How many great O linemen did he play against..and how did he do?
The team can use help almost everywhere..we all know that. HOWEVER..they need the most help on the O line. A strong, fast O line..
makes any running back better, allows the QB more time to scan the field, make reads, and get set to throw. That good O line..makes any QB better..remember Mark Rypien, and Doug Williams...they took the team to super bowl victories..mainly because of the O line.
It would be nice to have that big fast receiver..but we now have speed at that position. Who wouldn`t trade most big receivers for a DeShawn Jackson?

Posted by: blazerguy234 | February 22, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

So Williams will help McNabb "reemerge as a dominant QB"???? Listen, McNabb was a very good QB about 5 years ago with Brian Westbrook and a great O-line in Philly. No rookie RB is going to get him back to that level. That's just silly...c'mon Lavar. Let it go dude.

Posted by: dbunkr | February 22, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Way to go out on a limb. A first and 2 second round picks for our #10 pick? Yeah right. File this post under Fantasy Fiction.

Posted by: paperwc | February 22, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Excellent, Mr. Arrington. This is just right in my opinion. Add draft picks to begin a youth movement throughout the roster; draft heavy in rounds 2 thru 4, to fill a bunch of positions for the future. Forgo the big pick at the QB position for now. Well done, sir.

Posted by: dhenken1 | February 22, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"If I were in charge of the Redskins' draft plans ..."

You would draft all LB's who wore number 56, couldn't take instruction, and ad-lib on thier own.


- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 22, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Torain would be our starting running back so a rookie will most likely be a 3rd down back. And get off of McNabb's back. You fools want to blame every QB for the offensive problems of the team.

So Williams will help McNabb "reemerge as a dominant QB"???? Listen, McNabb was a very good QB about 5 years ago with Brian Westbrook and a great O-line in Philly. No rookie RB is going to get him back to that level. That's just silly...c'mon Lavar. Let it go dude.

Posted by: dbunkr | February 22, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: psock1 | February 22, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Who is that attractive at #10 to trade up for and give away picks? More than likely the Redskins will be stuck with that pick. Most teams aren't as dumb as the Skins. I think a better scenario is to look at somebody like Cooley and try and get a pick for him. Davis should be ready to step up and Cooley has looked more and more vulnerable lately. We need a NT with the #10, then look at an OLB to help out RAK with a later pick. Don't know if the Redskins will be able to significantly improve this year.

Posted by: jfoster13 | February 22, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

........Someone who doesn't get caught up in the DC night life.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 22, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse


Would have no problem with your draft strategy, except would like to draft Taylor later on as he is projected as a mid-rounder, not a 1st or 2nd rounder. How about draft another Penn Stater Wisniewski along with Hankerson and Williams in the 1st/2nd rounds, and then draft Taylor on the 2nd day of the draft.

Posted by: risk48910 | February 22, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree with LaVar and most of the posters here. We need to solidify that NT position and trading down is a great way to sure that spot up, plus another position.

I would rather wait until the very late rounds to pick up a RB. Maybe pick up someone for the OL with that other pick. Grossman, because I doubt McNabb will be starting, is going to need the protection.

Posted by: arjefferson | February 22, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Rebuild the trenches is the way I would draft!

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | February 22, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Arrington does address the lines with pick #1 at NT.

After taking Trent Williams at #4 overall last year, you can make the argument that the team should be targeting guards and a center in free agency and lower in the draft.

I don't think it's necessary for the Redskins to take guards with their #1 or #2 selection.

If a stud tackle drops into the second round I could see an argument for a guy who can play RT.

But the needs on defense are too numerous at this point to NOT address NT and perhaps OLB as the top priorities.

OLB may be a position the club also needs to address in free agency.

The Williams pick to me by Arrington is a question mark. Donovan McNabb's comfortability in this offense to me doesn't come down to having a better third down back to depend upon.

He and Kyle Shanahan differ on HOW the offense should be structured.

In Philly, there was far less emphasis on the long passing game as the first read and McNabb made much of his living off of plays that were in that 5-15 yard zone.

Shanahan wants to see a progression starting from 30-40 yards and then in.

That is not something that at age 34 I would think McNabb is going to adapt readily too.

The other factor not considered by LaVar is the aging of Donovan McNabb.

He is no longer the player who runs 30 yards out of the pocket in the fourth quarter or buys time to the outside to complete passes down the field on the run.

He has slowed down, which is natural.

And without that mobility McNabb is not the same player.

I think he can still be a starting NFL quarterback but he is no longer elite.

And he needs to be put in an offense suited to HIS talents and not to a rigid system that fits a 6'5 pocket passer like Matt Schaub.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 22, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I completely disagree with Lavar.

The NFL has quickly turned into a QB-driven passing league and it takes a few seasons to get a good QB NFL-ready.

The Redskin's should take the pill now and draft a solid QB that Shanahan can groom for a season or two.

Plus, no team releases or trades a good QB these days - only old ones past their prime to teams not knowing the value of draft picks.

Face it, the Redskin's are at least two seasons away from contending so get the QB now.

I do like the Ryan Williams pick if he's still around in the 2nd round.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | February 22, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Twas an entertaining article and then I read that Malcolm Kelly was included in the plans. I stopped reading at that point.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | February 22, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I also like the LaVar's draft scenario. I only wonder if Taylor is bit early. I think we can get him later. Everything else works. Getting Williams AND Hankerson in the 2nd round would be a tremendous steal and the best 2nd round this franchise has ever seen - maybe even their best draft in a very long time.

Posted by: mlindsey13 | February 22, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Hell; Let Lavar run the draft!

Posted by: dargregmag | February 22, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Same scenario that every fan with half a brain has been calling for in every draft for the last 5 years, just with different names plugged into it.

Posted by: soriphius | February 22, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yep agree with Diesel in the end they do need more OL. Sorry LaVar that OL just isn't up to snuff ... they still need to draft replacements. They can wait on the QB situation or just sign an interesting free agent or two.

Posted by: periculum | February 22, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree with taking a NT although I haven't seen Taylor play but it is definitely the biggest need on this team right now. Also I want no part of a QB at #10 just to take one so I'm with you on that Lavar. I do however believe there's some local bias with Williams. A RB I see as a steal in the 2nd rd is Daniel Thomas from K-State.

Posted by: ryanlewis4 | February 22, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The fact still remains that you have to have a team that has the desire to move up and have the picks to do so!!
Just to say you want to acquire additional picks doesn't make it happen!!
Look into your crystal ball LaVar and tell me which team has the picks to move up and which player they covet so badly that they will trade up!!
As always, it's easier said than done!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | February 22, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Hell; Let Lavar run the draft!

Posted by: dargregmag | February 22, 2011 1:54 PM
The last thing Lavar ran (Sideline Sports Bar) went bankrupt, so why should we listen to anything he has to say?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 22, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Of course it would be great if they could trade down and get more picks but someone has to want to come up, there has to be a player there some other team is willing to trade up for it is not that simple at all!!

Posted by: wstclair | February 22, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

There's also a good chance that the players Arrington menationed will turn out to be NFL busts.

One thing I know is that to get to and succeed in the playoffs you need a good QB. If you really think the skins would pass up taking Cam Newton if he fell to them, you are, how should I say this, redskins fans. No one knows how good or bad Newton will be but we all know that bypassing him would be a foolish move.

Posted by: keedrow | February 22, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

So LaVar is pushing for the Skins to draft a nose tackle from PG County (who has had major attitude problems) that went to Penn State-unreal!!! Let me guess...LaVar counts Phil Taylor as one of his clients or soon will. Fact is LaVar has several agendas which keep him from acting objectively and *should* keep him from writing for the Post.

Posted by: sjp879 | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Being realistic this is not a bad; plan. We have to realize that the skins are not just a year away. Establish a foundation now then get the QB. NT, RT,and LOLB is a foundation IMO.

Posted by: hammer4 | February 22, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This is all well and good, and the best plan almost every year for a team with many needs. Only one problem and that is finsing someone to trade with. It's easy to what if, but what we know is that we have 2 picks in the first two rounds right now, so how do we use them Lavar?

Posted by: dbrine1261 | February 22, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

LaVar: a GM who would actually exceed Vinny's incompetence.

Posted by: c_e_daniel | February 22, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. Trading down requires a trading partner who really wants your spot. That can be "the plan", but you never know until your time comes up.

I remember the Redskins trading down numerous times to draft a QB in the first round, bypassing a future HOF Safety who plays right nearby at least 2-3 times.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 22, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I have read many of these pre-draft articles on the internet and I have to say this is the first one that says that the Redskins should trade the ten pick away. I completely agree from the start of this draft talk I have said we need to get more picks from trading our tenth pick away. It also allows us to target more players and fill the gaps that we have. I think the nose tackle and tailback would be excellent positions to try to fill. I also think that we should try to get Casey Matthews who is Clay Matthews younger brother. He plays inside linebacker and can also play outside linebacker. If he is anything like his brother i think he would bring a lot of excitement to the team.

Posted by: RyanPowell | February 22, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

We all know that the Redskins need another great offensive line. But it is easier to form such an offensive line through later round draft selections and free agents than it is to find a quarterback that can lead the team to a super bowl.

With that in mind, and you might disagree, which would you rather have if both were coming out of college today? Cam Newton or Donavan McNab?

In my mind, this is a no brainer. Draft Cam Newton if he is available.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 22, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

In my mind, this is a no brainer. Draft Cam Newton if he is available.

To me this sounds good but if you miss on this pick with a qb then you are gonna be set back 5 yrs and we dont want to do that again. I say wait and if your looking for a qb take Ponder in the later rounds if he is still there.

Posted by: wattsicon | February 22, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Nate Solder in the first, gives the skins bookend tackles for a decade.

In the 2nd round, draft the best available nose tackle, d end, or linebacker.

Posted by: cabraman | February 23, 2011 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. Arrington for GM!

Posted by: atven | February 23, 2011 1:15 AM | Report abuse





Posted by: SOLVBACK | February 23, 2011 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Zone blocking prevents the need for a high round tailback pick. Shanny ran dogs behind his lines in Denver. FatAlbert at nose tackle or bust. I would grind his Fatness into the ground at every opportunity. Wide receiver? Really?
This team needs one thing only, offensive lineman who can play. They should use every single pick and free agent signing on one thing - offensive line. Given the personnel switched over to 3-4 last year, they may surprise some folks this year.
McNabb is a fine young man, just a washed up old quarterback. They need to cut him and save the salary.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | February 23, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

After a year in the system I think McNabb may be ready to excel.

Posted by: thorhero | February 23, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If they can trade down then by all means they should. The kid from Baylor has impressed scouts and looked good. Sometimes all "raw" means is he hasn't had a ton of football experience but got a great feel for the game and is easily coachable. I dont think Ryan Williams will be around in the second round, his stock as been flying upwards. I really have no problem in drafting a QB if Gabbert is there or Newton if he wows everybody at his combine, but one thing is for certain if this management doesnt think it can truly win next season they need to trade players for upcoming picks. As fans we need to realize that this team may be farther away than we think and maybe taking a run for Andrew Luck is a good thing. Build up a young team that can be around a while.

Posted by: Killerangel81 | February 23, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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