Much of the pre-draft hype surrounding the Redskins - all the mockety mocks and that stuff - has focused on the Skins taking a WR or DE with the 21st pick. But after speaking with people involved in Washington's process - which is still in a relatively nascent stage - the sense is growing that taking a O Lineman at 21 is a strong possibility.
Trading down, in the end, given all the scenarios we will go through, is also something talked about daily, and could make the most sense given how the top 20 picks unfold. The Skins will be at the mercy of those that come before them, and as they breakdown every position in the draft the next two weeks the names at the top of their internal board will continue to change.
A week ago we spent a lot of time blogging about Branden Albert, the guard/tackle from Virginia. And for good reason. He would be a steal at 21, and, sources said, the Skins are very high on him, considering him the best of the O Linemen likely to be available and a player they would gladly pounce on here.
Concerns with the age and health of most starting linemen are significant, and Albert could possibly start at guard sooner rather than later and eventually play tackle (chances of milking two more years out of Jon Jansen will go out the door if he gets hurt again). Albert is a potential cornerstone, and if there is a run on Des and CBs at the top of the draft as expected, plus the obvious skill guys (Ryan, McFadden, etc.), some within the organization could see the Skins trying to explore trading up for Albert should he be there around 15.
But few other trading up scenarios exist.
New DC Greg Blache is deadest on getting an interior lineman who can push the pocket, and after Ellis and Dorsey are gone in the top 3-5 picks, well, the dropoff is huge. And DE is not seen by Blache as nearly as much of a need as DT, and they could still get a DE in the midrounds. As for WR, there is a sentiment that none of the tall guys is a sure fire can't miss guy, and there is not much separating Sweed, Thomas, Hardy. One or more could be available in the second round as well.
Albert is seen as the best guard available in the draft, and the franchise tackle no brainer - Long - is probably going first overall. The Skins are also very high on Vandy tackle Chris Williams, sources said, and he would be very enticing at 21. Duane Thomas, a tackle from Virginia Tech, is someone they could take on the first day as well, sources said, particularly if they trade down.
O Line guru Joe Bugel has been on the road, working out these players himself, sources said, something he had not done in previous years here. That has generated a buzz inside the building that taking an O Line at 21, or with whatever becomes Washington's first pick after a trade, is a legit possibility.
The WR class just isn't wowing them, at least not yet, and there is plenty of depth at the D Line after the top guys go in the top 12-15 picks. My gut is that Albert and Williams are off the board and the Skins try like heck to trade out of that pick, which makes total sense to me.
Some of you by now will be saying, what about CB, silly? And you're right. Again, expect a run on the best guys early, which presents problems. There are some within the organization who believe Carlos Rogers will start the year on the PUP list, and while the Skins were very pleased with the development of Leigh Torrence last year, its risky to enter the season with him as the No. 3 corner. And even if you take a corner high, again, young corners generally struggle and the Skins play so much nickel ... so, again still a gamble.
Sources suggested a trade for a solid veteran corner in the next few weeks is possible. Philly's Lito Sheppard is the most prominent name being shopped, but as we went over last month, the Skins rebuffed Philly's advances, concerned about his health and not wanting to deal a high pick.
But the Skins could very well package one of their third rounders, and maybe something else, to get a dependable corner, and then, on draft day, trade out of the 21st pick and essentially re-acquire the draft pick assets they dealt for the corner.
Comprende? I've felt all along the Skins will make a trade of some kind to address either WR or CB, and perhaps it will play out sooner rather than later.
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