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Move up, move down. . .or move out?

Apr 12, 2008, 7:13 AM EDT

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There has been a lot of talk of the Washington Redskins trading down from their #21 slot in the upcoming NFL draft. In fact, Vinny Cerrato has publicly placed a “For Sale” sign on that pick.

Such a move could garner the team picks high in the second and third rounds. That would give the Skins five of the top 100 picks, a great setup for a team not necessarily looking for any immediate starters to come out of the draft but one that needs replacements to groom for aging and/or expensive starters.

According to Jason LaCanfora in the Post, there are some at Redskins Park who could see the Redskins trading up if offensive lineman Branden Albert of Virginia was available at around pick #15. Such a move would cost the Redskins their third-rounder this year (the original; they can’t trade the compensatory pick they were awarded) and next. It’s probably a moot point as it’s likely that Albert will be gone by then, but it’s still something to keep an eye on.

How about a third option? Suppose a team calls while the Redskins are on the clock and offers next year’s first and some other, lower picks for Washington’s pick at #21. Should the Redskins consider such an offer?

We have an example of what such a deal might look like in the Redskins’ recent past. A few days before the 2005 draft they traded away their 2005 third-round pick and their 2006 first and fourth rounders for Denver’s first ’05 pick, #25 overall.

Suppose the Carolina Panthers take defensive Derrick Harvey with their pick and #13 and then decide to make a move for their quarterback of the future. They will need someone to take over when Jake Delhomme is done, something that is likely to be the case sooner rather than later. Brian Brohm of Louisville is there when the Redskins are on the clock at #21. Marty Hurney decides to make his move.

He offers next year’s first and third and this year’s third for Washington’s first. Should Cerrato take it?

If this or something like it is offered, Vinny should take it and run.

The main reason it makes sense for the Redskins to delay gratification is that Jim Zorn is going into his first year as head coach. He doesn’t really know who on the team can perform in his version of the West Coast offense and who is going to struggle to adapt.

And while Greg Blache will be running a defense similar to that of Gregg Williams, he will have his own wrinkles and it will take live game action for him to see how his personnel adjust.

Instead of expending a first-round pick when you really don’t know what you’re looking for, it would be wise to wait a year, make a thorough assessment of what you have and what you need, and then make this year’s first-round pick in 2009. Along with that first, the Redskins would have Carolina’s third, giving them five of the top 100 picks in the ’09 draft.

In the meantime, the Skins would get a third this year (if the deal is with the Panthers it would be the 74th overall) and they would still have four of the top 100 picks.

For a team that needs to get younger in a hurry that’s an offer they can’t refuse.

We don’t know if such a deal will present itself. If it does, Cerrato and company would be very wise to consider it.

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