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Need to Know: What positions are the Redskins unlikely to draft at No. 5?

Mar 30, 2015, 4:57 AM EDT

Brandon-Scherff-Iowa

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 30, 31 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

There are a few different ways to look at Jay’s question here. Are there positions they won’t draft because of need? Should some positions be eliminated from consideration because the value of the position doesn’t warrant a pick that high? And will the Redskins stay away from a particular position because there isn’t a player at that position who has a chance of being anywhere near the best available player?

We can eliminate the needs consideration because virtually any position on the team that is not an area of need this year is likely to be one in 2016. Plus I think by now everyone is familiar with Scot McCloughan’s mantra that the Redskins will take the best available player regardless of need. So let’s see how the NFL values positions in the draft.

Here are the positions played by the top six picks in the drafts from 2011-2014 (24 total players). It’s a fairly small sample size but 2011 is the first year the current rookie pay system came into place and money became less of a factor in deciding what player to select. This gives us a consistent definition of value. We’re taking the top six because any position that have been taken in that range recently is likely to one that you would value enough to draft at No. 5.

OT—6
QB—4
WR—4
DE—4
CB—2
OLB—2
DT—1
RB—1

So the positions that haven’t been drafted in the top six in the rookie pay system era (if you can call four years an era) are interior offensive line, tight end, inside linebacker, and safety. That doesn’t mean that nobody will ever draft any of those positions early but there would have to be an exceptional player there in order to justify the pick. By the estimation of most draft analysts, such a player does not exist at any of those positions in the 2015 draft.

It should be noted that all of the offensive tackles taken in the last four drafts played left tackle for their teams in 2014. The lone exception is Lane Johnson, taken fourth overall by the Eagles in 2013.

Looking at the positions of the players who have been drafted early in the last four drafts, which ones don’t have anyone worthy of the fifth pick this year? Again going by the opinions of most analysts out there, there aren’t any running backs, cornerbacks, defensive tackles or offensive tackles that would be a good value very early in the draft.

To sum it up and answer Jay’s question, the Redskins’ top draft pick if they stay at No. 5 is unlikely to be an interior offensive lineman, tight end, inside linebacker, safety, cornerback, running back, defensive tackle or offensive tackle.

That leaves quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, and outside linebacker as the possibilities. I say that with the realization that there are surprises on draft day and anything can happen. But that is the current best guess looking at history and the current list of players available.

Timeline

—It’s been 92 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 167 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 21; 2015 NFL Draft 31; Redskins training camp starts 122

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. unklewheez - Mar 30, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    What about Leonard Williams?

    • sidepull - Mar 30, 2015 at 6:30 AM

      Yea I thought the same. I guess the thinking there would be he was off the board by 5? I don’t know how they could pass on him.

      • Rich Tandler - Mar 30, 2015 at 6:48 AM

        I’m counting Leonard Williams as a defensive end, since that’s where he would play in the 3-4. By counting out defensive tackle I was referring to nose tackle.

        > > >

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 30, 2015 at 8:16 AM

          Danny Shelton would be a possibility, for a while people were mocking him to us.

          P.S. I think Shelton will go somewhere between pick 7 and 12.
          ~

        • captblood3000 - Mar 30, 2015 at 8:54 AM

          Rich, you’ve also described the list of wanted positions (and indirectly, players), for which a trading partner for #5 would call McCloughan. I’m with thunder on Danny Shelton as a possible outlier.

  2. skinsgame - Mar 30, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    They will take the BPA, regardless of position. Fans may want them to draft “needs” but, if they’re going to compete perennially, they’ll always draft BPA and use “need” after the 3rd round for a tiebreaker, at best.

  3. Scott talbert - Mar 30, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Rich,I really like L.Williams, Dante Fowler jr and Vic Beasley! Rich,when you go to a bar or restaurant do idiot’s bother you? Thanks as always I love reading your blog!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 30, 2015 at 11:32 AM

      No, they only bother me here! lol!

      I do get recognized in Starbucks every once in a while.

      > > >

  4. murphsman - Mar 30, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Are you taking Shelton out of the equation because you don’t think we’re going after him since we signed Knighton and Paea?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 30, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      No, I just don’t think Shelton is a top 5 pick. There was some “Shelton fever” after the Senior Bowl, don’t think his tape warrants top five consideration. He’s in the 10-20 range.

      > > >

  5. kenlinkins - Mar 30, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    Rich, thanks for the data. In this new pass happy NFL, if a team has a QB, LOT, HR hitting WR, a Pass Rush and a Ball Hawk on defense, they can get to 8-8 pretty fast. The big question is still how the new GM rates the 3 QB’s now on the roster and how he grades Mariota. This is the great unknown for the other teams interested in a QB (and for us Redskins fans). For once the Redskins are not leaking info about their Big Board, are making a show of bring in Mariota for a few days to kick the tires, and have been every where looking at every body. For once it seems that the Redskins should be able to get full value for their number one pick. If they stand pat they end up with Fowler, Williams, Mariota or Beasley and if they trade out they will pick up extra early round picks to help rebuild a weak roster. IMO the Redskins will stand pat and pick Williams if there and Beasley / Fowler if Williams is gone. IMO the new GM has played a pretty good game so far, now we just have to see who he grades as the BPA.

    • ET - Mar 30, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      I also think Williams, Beasley, Fowler, (and Cooper) are the most likely picks if the Skins stand pat at #5, but I also believe Scotty will be angling for extra picks. Fortunately he appears to set a firm value on a player or pick, so I don’t think he’ll he’ll trade back just for the heck of it, either. If the equation favors the Skins, he’ll take it, otherwise I expect Scotty to stand pat.

      Regardless, it should be an exciting draft for DC fans.

  6. Stephfan - Mar 30, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    I still want Shelton or a pass rusher

  7. rtcwon - Mar 31, 2015 at 1:44 AM

    Let’s play the 100 chips game, 85 on BPA being a pass rusher, 9 on trade down, 5 WR, 1 that either Williams or QB fall to 5.

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