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Feeling a Draft

Mar 31, 2005, 1:35 AM EDT

It used to be that the advent of April meant the spots talk around Washington focused almost exclusively on the release of the Redskins’ schedule and the NFL draft. Now, with the Wizards in playoff contention and the Nationals about to take the field for the first time, the talk of the town is, you guessed it, are the Skins going to open at home or on the road and what they will do with the ninth pick.

OK, there is some love for the Wiz and certainly there is a loud and growing buzz about the Nats. But this hasn’t detracted from Skins talk; it just means that there’s more talk going on overall.

This draft is still a very fluid situation. By this time last year, the Skins were in the fifth spot and honed in on choosing one of two Miami Hurricanes, tight end Kellan Winslow and safety Sean Taylor.

This year, however, the choices aren’t nearly that clear. To be sure, a large part of the difference is that the Redskins are drafting ninth instead of fifth. Still, this draft is much more unsettled than the last for a few reasons:

  • There isn’t a consensus number one pick. Last year, it was Eli Manning; in fact, going back to Michael Vick in 2000, the top pick has been a quarterback for the past five years and seven of the last eight. From March on it’s generally been a scenario where we knew who would go first, it was just a question of if the team in the top spot would deal the pick. Cal’s Aaron Rodgers and Utah’s Alex Smith just haven’t been able to grab the bull by the horns and become The One. We have the unusual scenario of the top pick being dependent on who’s using it.
  • There are a three running backs rated in the top ten players. Auburn’s Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams and Texas’ Cedric Benson, all currently projected to go in the top ten picks, may slide back. This would not be because of any perceived flaws by the two. It’s just because teams may want to move up to take another player that it wants and the team trading out of the position might believe that it can get a running back later in the draft. Prize RB’s aren’t a dime a dozen, but you don’t have to spend a high first-rounder to get a good one. The Skins could find one of the top rock toters fall into their lap at #9. They would then desperately seek to deal the pick, being locked into a deal with Clinton Portis.
  • The Skins don’t have a glaring need. While the Skins might want to replace some of their recent losses by free agency and trade, it appears that they will be perfectly willing to go into the season with Walt Harris at corner, Santan Moss and David Patten at receiver and Lamar Marshall at middle linebacker. If the top two corners and top two receivers in the draft are gone by the time the nine hole rolls around, what do the Skins do–take the third-best at either position or take the best player available?
  • There is unlikely to be a player so good that the Skins would be fools to pass him up. Last year safety wasn’t an area of great need–it rarely is on any team. But the consensus was that Taylor, a defensive back with linebacker size, was just too good a combination of skills and accomplishments to pass up. There won’t be such a player at 9 this year.

Things will begin to gel as April 23 approaches, but there still is likely to be plenty of suspense at sunrise on draft day. Stay tuned.

  1. mbarnes202 - Mar 31, 2005 at 3:09 PM

    I’ve had several lively debates at my office about where we think the ‘Skins are leaning, and what we think the ‘Skins *should* do with the pick.

    With where we think they are leaning, were are sensing very little positive confirmation about picking Jones or Rolle, and I have two theories for that:

    1.) They are just as high on Rodgers and some of the other CBs that they would prefer to trade down and get an extra pick in the process; and/or

    2.) They feel the need is much more urgent at DE. Look at the ages of our DEs– we absolutely have to backfill there.

    I think Gibbs prefers veterans to rookies, and our offseason so far has focused on offense- C, 2xWR, so the draft will focus on Defense.

    The problem is there is no DE prospect worthy for the #9 spot– Merriman on most boards is the first DE taken, but he’s more of a rush LB– a position where we already we have depth. A “true” DE like Pollack, Spears, or James don’t go until the middle or end of the first round.

    The problem with trading down is that it’s hard to construct trade scenarios that make sense given the standard point values on most “draft value boards.”

    On the board I am using, our pick is “worth” 1400 points– if we trade for a #1 and #2, that would most closely resemble Cincinnati picks #17 and #48 (combined “value” of 1405). But who would Cincinnati want to trade up for? Most mocks have drafting a DT– not someone they’d want w/ the #9 pick. The teams that do have 2 #1s (Dallas, San Diego) also don’t make a lot of sense- Dallas has #11 and #20. If we trade down to #11, the difference in value between those two picks is somewhere between their 3rd and 4th round picks; if we trade down to #20, that would require their 2nd and 3rd round, again, based on the draft value board. For San Diego, picks at #12 and #28. Trading down to #12 might make sense– but SD would have to be willing to give up their 3rd round pick. If instead we traded for their #28, they’d have to give us all of their other picks in rounds 2-7, again, based on the draft value board– and who would they want at #9, given they already have the #12 pick?

    The real issue is that heartburn for me is that our original #2 (now with Denver) I think could be a really good player– a WR, a top MLB, a good CB, etc.

    It’s very hard to say what we’ll do. I think we’ll try like crazy to trade down, fail, and end up taking Jones, even though we’d really much prefer trading down and getting both a DE and a CB.

  2. mbarnes202 - Mar 31, 2005 at 3:09 PM

    I’ve had several lively debates at my office about where we think the ‘Skins are leaning, and what we think the ‘Skins *should* do with the pick.

    With where we think they are leaning, were are sensing very little positive confirmation about picking Jones or Rolle, and I have two theories for that:

    1.) They are just as high on Rodgers and some of the other CBs that they would prefer to trade down and get an extra pick in the process; and/or

    2.) They feel the need is much more urgent at DE. Look at the ages of our DEs– we absolutely have to backfill there.

    I think Gibbs prefers veterans to rookies, and our offseason so far has focused on offense- C, 2xWR, so the draft will focus on Defense.

    The problem is there is no DE prospect worthy for the #9 spot– Merriman on most boards is the first DE taken, but he’s more of a rush LB– a position where we already we have depth. A “true” DE like Pollack, Spears, or James don’t go until the middle or end of the first round.

    The problem with trading down is that it’s hard to construct trade scenarios that make sense given the standard point values on most “draft value boards.”

    On the board I am using, our pick is “worth” 1400 points– if we trade for a #1 and #2, that would most closely resemble Cincinnati picks #17 and #48 (combined “value” of 1405). But who would Cincinnati want to trade up for? Most mocks have drafting a DT– not someone they’d want w/ the #9 pick. The teams that do have 2 #1s (Dallas, San Diego) also don’t make a lot of sense- Dallas has #11 and #20. If we trade down to #11, the difference in value between those two picks is somewhere between their 3rd and 4th round picks; if we trade down to #20, that would require their 2nd and 3rd round, again, based on the draft value board. For San Diego, picks at #12 and #28. Trading down to #12 might make sense– but SD would have to be willing to give up their 3rd round pick. If instead we traded for their #28, they’d have to give us all of their other picks in rounds 2-7, again, based on the draft value board– and who would they want at #9, given they already have the #12 pick?

    The real issue is that heartburn for me is that our original #2 (now with Denver) I think could be a really good player– a WR, a top MLB, a good CB, etc.

    It’s very hard to say what we’ll do. I think we’ll try like crazy to trade down, fail, and end up taking Jones, even though we’d really much prefer trading down and getting both a DE and a CB.

  3. mbarnes202 - Mar 31, 2005 at 7:09 PM

    I’ve had several lively debates at my office about where we think the ‘Skins are leaning, and what we think the ‘Skins *should* do with the pick.

    With where we think they are leaning, were are sensing very little positive confirmation about picking Jones or Rolle, and I have two theories for that:

    1.) They are just as high on Rodgers and some of the other CBs that they would prefer to trade down and get an extra pick in the process; and/or

    2.) They feel the need is much more urgent at DE. Look at the ages of our DEs– we absolutely have to backfill there.

    I think Gibbs prefers veterans to rookies, and our offseason so far has focused on offense- C, 2xWR, so the draft will focus on Defense.

    The problem is there is no DE prospect worthy for the #9 spot– Merriman on most boards is the first DE taken, but he’s more of a rush LB– a position where we already we have depth. A “true” DE like Pollack, Spears, or James don’t go until the middle or end of the first round.

    The problem with trading down is that it’s hard to construct trade scenarios that make sense given the standard point values on most “draft value boards.”

    On the board I am using, our pick is “worth” 1400 points– if we trade for a #1 and #2, that would most closely resemble Cincinnati picks #17 and #48 (combined “value” of 1405). But who would Cincinnati want to trade up for? Most mocks have drafting a DT– not someone they’d want w/ the #9 pick. The teams that do have 2 #1s (Dallas, San Diego) also don’t make a lot of sense- Dallas has #11 and #20. If we trade down to #11, the difference in value between those two picks is somewhere between their 3rd and 4th round picks; if we trade down to #20, that would require their 2nd and 3rd round, again, based on the draft value board. For San Diego, picks at #12 and #28. Trading down to #12 might make sense– but SD would have to be willing to give up their 3rd round pick. If instead we traded for their #28, they’d have to give us all of their other picks in rounds 2-7, again, based on the draft value board– and who would they want at #9, given they already have the #12 pick?

    The real issue is that heartburn for me is that our original #2 (now with Denver) I think could be a really good player– a WR, a top MLB, a good CB, etc.

    It’s very hard to say what we’ll do. I think we’ll try like crazy to trade down, fail, and end up taking Jones, even though we’d really much prefer trading down and getting both a DE and a CB.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2005 at 3:47 PM

    I agree that the Skins are looking to trade down, and I agree that there this isn’t the best draft in which to trade down. Maybe if one of the 3 RBs is still around at 9 another team would want to trade??? Anyway, I think they’re looking first at Pac Man, then trade, then Erasmus James if all else fails.

  5. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2005 at 3:47 PM

    I agree that the Skins are looking to trade down, and I agree that there this isn’t the best draft in which to trade down. Maybe if one of the 3 RBs is still around at 9 another team would want to trade??? Anyway, I think they’re looking first at Pac Man, then trade, then Erasmus James if all else fails.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2005 at 7:47 PM

    I agree that the Skins are looking to trade down, and I agree that there this isn’t the best draft in which to trade down. Maybe if one of the 3 RBs is still around at 9 another team would want to trade??? Anyway, I think they’re looking first at Pac Man, then trade, then Erasmus James if all else fails.

  7. Doug - Apr 1, 2005 at 12:05 PM

    It has been said that the Redskins desperately need a tight end, and that they should go after Heath Miller. Maybe so, but that name “Heath” is a little scary to those of us who remember another 1st rounder named “Heath” taken by the Redskins.

  8. Doug - Apr 1, 2005 at 12:05 PM

    It has been said that the Redskins desperately need a tight end, and that they should go after Heath Miller. Maybe so, but that name “Heath” is a little scary to those of us who remember another 1st rounder named “Heath” taken by the Redskins.

  9. Doug - Apr 1, 2005 at 4:05 PM

    It has been said that the Redskins desperately need a tight end, and that they should go after Heath Miller. Maybe so, but that name “Heath” is a little scary to those of us who remember another 1st rounder named “Heath” taken by the Redskins.

  10. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2005 at 9:58 PM

    Does anyone think there is a player in the draft who is not expected to drop to the 9 spot and that the Redskins like enough that if, for some reason, he were to drop to 9, they would have to take him, even if it doesn’t fit with their overall plan? Maybe Mike Williams? Our receivers are small, and Williams could be a tempting pick. Any others? Gibbs, correct me if I’m wrong, does have a history of picking “the best player on the board” regardless of other factors.

  11. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2005 at 9:58 PM

    Does anyone think there is a player in the draft who is not expected to drop to the 9 spot and that the Redskins like enough that if, for some reason, he were to drop to 9, they would have to take him, even if it doesn’t fit with their overall plan? Maybe Mike Williams? Our receivers are small, and Williams could be a tempting pick. Any others? Gibbs, correct me if I’m wrong, does have a history of picking “the best player on the board” regardless of other factors.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2005 at 1:58 AM

    Does anyone think there is a player in the draft who is not expected to drop to the 9 spot and that the Redskins like enough that if, for some reason, he were to drop to 9, they would have to take him, even if it doesn’t fit with their overall plan? Maybe Mike Williams? Our receivers are small, and Williams could be a tempting pick. Any others? Gibbs, correct me if I’m wrong, does have a history of picking “the best player on the board” regardless of other factors.

  13. Marquez12 - Apr 3, 2005 at 11:13 AM

    Matt Jones?

    The Arkansas QB (6’6′, 247) runs a 4.4 and projects as a wide receiver. He is getting a lot of publicity from the Mortenson’s of the world. Is there any chance the Redskins will try to get him?

  14. Marquez12 - Apr 3, 2005 at 11:13 AM

    Matt Jones?

    The Arkansas QB (6’6′, 247) runs a 4.4 and projects as a wide receiver. He is getting a lot of publicity from the Mortenson’s of the world. Is there any chance the Redskins will try to get him?

  15. Marquez12 - Apr 3, 2005 at 3:13 PM

    Matt Jones?

    The Arkansas QB (6’6′, 247) runs a 4.4 and projects as a wide receiver. He is getting a lot of publicity from the Mortenson’s of the world. Is there any chance the Redskins will try to get him?

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