Big Draft Blog
By now we all know the Skins' major needs in this draft. And we all know they are shopping that first round pick. Maybe they end up moving it for a veteran WR at the draft, but internally the Redskins think the odds of that are very slim. They have talked to many teams about trading down, and those trade talks will continue tomorrow, likely right up til they are on the clock. There is a strong desire to get value for the pick and move down, given the positions that make sense to address.
But let's assume they hold on to most of their 9 picks (and they will also look very hard for a good deal in attempts to trade down and acquire more picks as well), and try to address their key areas. This what's being discussed inside the Park now.
The Redskins would leap at one of the top tackles in the draft should they slip to 21. All would meet a need and all would have great value at 21. So if Albert (Virginia), Williams (Vandy), Otah (Pitt) or Clady (Boise St.) is on the board at 21, and the Skins don't trade, sources said they would be happy to get any of them.
If those guys are gone, the Skins also know that taking a WR there is a stretch. Now, if Thomas (Mich St) slips there could be some pause. But, again, their football know that you don't need to take a WR here, it's a stretch and no-one is a definite stud. They love Nelson (Kansas St.), but, again, he's a second rounder. And they obviously have spent a ton of time with Kelly (Oklahoma), but, again, could be had in the second round and there are also concerns about potentially serious issues with both knees, according to team sources, as well as Kelly's weak 40-dash times. So let's say they do the right thing and hold off on WR.
So what are you left with? In all likelihood, you could be down to Merling, the DE from Clemson, and Harvey, the DE from Florida, would also generate significant interest at 21, according to team sources. Merling had a good workout for a guy who missed a few months, but there are worries about the sports hernia. To me that's a little short-sighted, cuz he's a top-10 pick when healthy who should be fine longterm. But they are a little worried about it. And also, Mayo, the LB from Tennessee, has continued to impress the team and is generating more and more buzz within the building, team sources said.
He could be a very real possibility at 21 should the board come down this way. Mayo doesn't full such an immediate need, but if they are in a position to take the best guy available, he'd be very much in that discussion. Harvey and Mayo are seen as somewhat safer to some in the building given the health thing, and the decision could come right down to the buzzer.
Here's a final overview on players who have caught Washington's eye. By no means is this an end-all and be-all, as there are hundreds and hundreds and of kids being evaluated and any team's draft is at the mercy of those who pick before them each round, but some of these players could be in the maroon and black sooner rather than later:
The Skins spent their last day of evaluating players up close on two WRs - Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma) and Jordy Nelson (Kansas State) - as well as DE Phillip Merling. Either, to me, is a stretch at 21, especially given the abundance of relatively comparable receivers in this draft. There's no real standout, definitely franchise guy in the eyes of scouts, but lots of good value to be had in rounds 2-6. Limas Sweed, of Texas, is also clumped in that cluster of what the Skins deem to be the three best WRs in this draft, sources said.
WR has been a position of particular import to Snyder. You often hear about he miffed he was the team passed on Santana Moss in the draft - a player he wanted - and he was very high on Calvin Johnson and Braylon Edwards the past few years, mulling trading up for them. Last year, team sources said Snyder was very interested in taking Ted Ginn with the sixth-overall pick,
Obviously, as we've said for months, they were all about trying to pry Chad Johnson or Anquan Boldin away, but team sources said the club highly doubts being able to get either one, now. So I can't see them passing on this position entirely.
Perhaps they even double up and take another one later on. Should the Skins wait until the third round, sources said they are very high on some small-school kids: Jerome Simpson (Coastal Carolina) or Dexter Jackson (Appalachian State) could burst through in the 3rd-5th round and Arman Shields (Richmond) did very well in his visit to Redskins Park, sources said, and could prove to be a great value pick in the fifth round. (Jackson's return skills excite the Skins as well).
The Skins love Albert (Virginia) and Williams (Vandy), but it would be stunning if they are still there at 21, and trading up would be very difficult. The Redskins also showed some interest in Jeff Otah (Pitt), but, again, would likely have to move up to get him.
More likely would be waiting getting Duane Brown, from Virginia Tech. Joe Bugel has raved about the kid and seen him up close. He's a versatile prospect (a former tight end who is raw but athletic) who could possibly play some guard in the near term. He could still be on the board in the third round, and with two picks in that round I could see the Skins making a move (some scouts project him around pick 40-50 as well, so maybe he goes in the second).
Merling was considered a top-10 pick before the sports hernia injury forced him to miss the combine. He made a strong impression during his workout Thursday, league sources said, and DC Greg Blache has made getting young D Lineman a priority in this draft. At 21 I'm not sure the Skins will find a higher rated guy on their draft board. Harvey's production has slipped in the past few years, but he's seen as someone worthy of consideration at 21.
Miami's Calais Campbell has been plummeting, and if he's still there in the mid rounds and the Skins pass on Merling then they could make a move. They love Miami kids and their new D Line coach coached Campbell in college.
During internal scouting reports, Washington's coaches listed the need for a young tackle, capable of collapsing the pocket, at the top on defense. After passing on a host of free agent and trade possibilities in the offseason, it's hard to imagine the Skins not taking someone on Sunday who could help in this regard. Blache favors young, eager guys, who bring no baggage and will know his way of doing things, and his way only. (Hence passing on so many retreads).
But after the top two studs are off the board, there's a big dropoff in ability (and a glut of players best suited for a 3-4 defense, and not a 4-3), but some good prospects to he had in the 3-6th round. The Skins will focus more on this position Sunday, likely in the 5th round or so, unless the board goes in a strange way and a bunch of guys slip.
Three names to keep an eye on should they drop: Dre Moore (Maryland) was about the only DT to post strong 40-times and he's surging up some boards. He's an athlete Blache could really round into the shape. Skins scouts have also kept a close eye on another player with late-rising potential, Letroy Guion (Florida State). He performed well at his Pro Day, which the Skins attended, and is getting attention from 3-4 teams like the Jets and the Steelers, as well as the Skins and Giants. He could be a good mid-round pick, and has the kind of versatility Blache covets. Trevor Laws (Notre Dame) could fit well, too, and Blache and Cerrato have strong ties to that program.
Again, not something they are trying to nail down in the first few rounds.
The center position is quite thin in this draft, but a couple of players have drawn the Skins attention. Team sources said that they have C Mike Pollak, of Arizona State. He visited Redskins Park and is someone they could pounce on in the second day of the draft. He has the size and is enough of an anchor to play guard - injury and age are a concern for the team at that position - while also backing up Casey Rabach (the Skins have a practice squad prospect currently behind Rabach). Steve Justice, of Wake Forrest, is another candidate for selection and the Skins like him as well, but he is not as physical. Justice does project well to West Coast systems in a zone scheme, and while Bugel has incorporated more of that in recent years Pollak may be a better fit in what he looks for.
Few of the Cs in the draft show good guard ability, but he does. Regardless, I could see Justice or Pollak coming here, depending on how the board shapes up.
Like center, this position is quite thin on bigtime players. Miami S Kenny Phillips will be the first to go, maybe at the tail end of the first round, and taking another DB so high is a luxury the Skins can't afford. But with just 3 safeties on the current roster, they definitely have a need there and intend to take one on the second day of the draft. Kareem Moore (Nicholls State) came in for a visit and the Skins are very high on him, team sources said. He is certainly someone they could target.
Thomas Decoud (Cal) is on their radar and Tyrell Johnson (Arkansas State) earned good grades and could be taken. The Skins . The draft is loaded with corners, too, and though I still see the Skins signed a veteran to be the No. 3 guy while Carlos Rogers tries to recover from major knee surgery, they could take a CB in the 5-7 round as well.
Josh Johnson (San Diego) did not play bigtime football, but he has certainly caught Jim Zorn's eye. He may end up going in the third round, which is higher than where the Skins would ideally take a QB to groom long-term, and Washington lacks a 4th round pick right now ... but I'd still keep an eye on this kid Sunday. He put up amazing numbers. They could make a play for him. Zorn also likes Tenn. QB Erik Ainge, a monster at 6-6, could still be there in the 5th round. If either of these kids are there I see the Skins moving on one of them by that round, perhaps sooner. Ricky Santos (New Hampshire) is a player the Skins could very well try to sign as a free agent should be not get picked Sunday.
Mayo is the only LB to really get serious attention in a high round spot.Very unlikely they move for anyone in the high rounds, though they have some rated high. But getting someone who can back-up on the outside and play special teams is certainly a target for the late rounds. The Skins have misfired on this type of player often in the past, but did find a potential keeper in MLB HB Blades late last draft. There is an abundance of kids worth taking a risk on at this position in the final few rounds.
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