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Draft Chatter: A guard for the Redskins at 34?

Apr 24, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Xavier-Su'a-Filo-UCLA

We all know that NFL teams should draft the best available player when they are on the clock. But how you define that term is very much open to interpretation. Is it the guy with the best measurables, the biggest, fastest, strongest? How much does character count? Should you factor in if you think you can get a player nearly as good later in the draft? Should your team’s needs factor into you evaluation of the best available?

Sometimes, teams overthink things. The quandary of what constitutes being best available can often be solved by answering a simple question:

Which player would I most regret passing over three years from now?

For the Redskins, that player could be guard Xavier Su’a-Filo of UCLA.

Yes, we know that the Redskins don’t draft guards that high. They did take Josh LeRibeus in the third round in 2012. Before that, the last time they drafted a guard at all was in 2008 when they took Chad Rinehart in the third round. They haven’t taken a guard in the second round since 1994 when they took Tre Johnson with the 31st overall pick (that was a second-round pick back then).

Johnson was the only guard they have ever drafted as high as the second round. Mark May, who played tackle at Pitt and played both guard and tackle for the Redskins, was a first-round pick. But Johnson is the only pure guard the team has ever taken before the third round. And we’re not just talking about post merger, we’re going back to 1936 here.

But perhaps they should change modus operandi in this case and take the 6-4, 307-lb. Su’a-Filo if he’s still on the board. Why? Frank Cooney of NFLDraftScout.com explains it well:

“Let’s see what you want in an offensive lineman. Size? Check. Athleticism? Check. Reliable character? Double check. Draft him, suit him, play him. Take credit for making an easy decision.”

Some team is going to take Su’a-Filo right around the 34th pick and will likely never regret it. He might not be a home run but Bruce Allen could probably do a lot worse with his initial draft pick after taking control of the Redskins’ draft.

We’ll see what happens but Allen might best be advised not to overthink this one.

  1. abanig - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Ughh. Put the gun to my head!

    We have to see what LeRibeus can do first!

    We should either draft a RT or defense, defense, defense in round 2 & 3

    • primetimehero - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      What if LeRibeus isn’t ready until late in the season? Su’a-Filo could start instantly and LeRibeus could (HOPEFULLY) take over the other spot later in the year. Is anyone really convinced that Lauvao is the answer at one spot? Or is Chester the answer at the other?

      Bottom line: Su’a-Filo is about as close to a “sure thing” as you can get. If he’s there at 34, with the interior pressure we got last year, we’d be stupid to pass on him.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      LeRibeus had his shot last year and he decided to show up in his old X-Box persona (that’s what they called him in college because he went 360 at times). There is zero loyalty to another regime’s draft pick. It would be hard to blame them if they decide they can’t trust him and move on.

      > >

      • kenlinkins - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        OK< I buy the LeRibeus logic, but what about Gettis, Hurt and Chester?

    • greed - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      agreed sir !

  2. kenlinkins - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Rich: I understand that coach Gruden feels the Redskins O-Line is a work in progress, but would just drafting a OG and not a RT work? Do you think they are willing to over haul 80% of the O-Line in year one (by drafting a OG, RT, moving someone to C and signing a starting OG as a Free Agent)? If they are, I would love to see coach Grudens notes when he reviewed the O-Lines performance. Many a new face on the 53 man roster?

    • captblood3000 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      I suspect that the Redskins front office has given Polumbus a better grade than their fans do. They might see no bigger need to upgrade RT as opposed to RG. If they’ve given a first round grade to Zack Martin, or Cyrus Koundjio or Morgan Moses, and one of them is available at #34, that could well be their pick. But don’t be surprised if Polumbus or Compton is their starting RT. Or that they wait to a later round to pick a tackle. Do they give Su’a-Filo a first round grade? We will see.

  3. mauriceatwood - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    I definitely believe Rich is right. The offensive line has been a question mark far too long and with the free agent signings the Redskins have brought in to help the OL it just hasn’t panned out. Selecting Su’a-Filo would help shore things up tremendously. As for the secondary needs on defense I think age and experience will help the rookies from last year get better, but the Redskins have a history of finding heavy contributors in the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds. Would love to see Bruce Allen pull some extra draft selections by trading down to pick up more draft picks kinda like the Skins did a few years back.

  4. internetcareer - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    I’ve been on the GUARD bandwagon for 3 months, posting several times a week about it. All the top guys at all positions will be gone at Pick 34 EXCEPT at Guard. The Redskins can pick and choose the best guard in all of College footballs 5000 players. Just take your pick. Polumbus is serviceable and there are still June cuts to be made in order to pick up a veteran backup at Tackle but most of the pressure on Griffin was coming from Center and Guard.

    This is a no brainer for me but if the Skins don’t 2nd round draft guard, then the 3rd round should most certainly be aimed at bringing in Cyril Richardson, RG3’s teammate from Baylor because he is a man mountain and it takes about 3 minutes to run around him

    GO GUARD….GO GUARD. score more points than the other team. that’s how you win games.

  5. thankslittlebrandonbanks - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    Totally agree with the article. Not a glamorous pick, but it is a smart and sound choice. The hogs were a huge part of our glory years. We have incredible weapons on offense; let’s build an unscalable wall to protect them. In draft simulators, ( I know, I know, but they’re so fun) it seems either Su’a-Filo or Yankey are always there at #34.

  6. Hart - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Is Tom.Compton really that bad that he cant beat out Polumbo?? I would even be happy with a center. They need good young lineman. Not going with cheap 6th round picks that nobody wants. Look at the way.SF built their oline.

    • jaxjoe - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      I’m with you. I think center is the biggest question mark on the OL to date. One may not like Chester or Polumbus, but at the moment, Center is the biggest unknown with Monty being released . Lichtensteiger has not snaped a ball in, what, seven years?. McGlynn (6′ 4″ 325) is capable and was signed as insurance as he’s 29 yrs. I think we can draft a better Center.

      So, #34 could easily land us Marcus Martin. But I would be pleased to land Xavier Sua’Filo or Gabe Jackson as well. I’d also like to see a DE like Stephen Tuitt or Rasheed Hageman at #34. That’s the great news in this years’ draft: because the Skins are pretty set at all the skill positions (QB, CB, WR, OLB, etc) we should all be pleased with just about anybody selected in the second.

  7. mgcelestino - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    cyrus koundjio at 34 if available
    cyril richardson at round 3
    round 6 jc copeland fb (lsu beast of a fb)

    you will never have to worry about short yardage or goal line situations!

  8. UK Matt - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:48 AM

    If we don’t upgrade our line RG3 gets injured and our season goes down the toilet. Any O’Line pick at 34 would be a welcome addition in my book. LeRibeus has potential but possibly not the focus or commitment to be a pro player so cannot be relied upon. If we went O’Line with our first 2 picks it wouldn’t be something I would criticise.

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