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Need to Know: Why the Redskins might not want to trade down in the draft

Mar 31, 2015, 5:12 AM EDT


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

Why McCloughan might stay put

I get a lot of questions about the Redskins trading down from the fifth pick in the draft and fans are almost unanimous in believing that it would be a good thing for Scot McCloughan to do. But the conventional wisdom might not be the way to go here; the Redskins may want to stand pat.

Consider this from yesterday’s Monday Morning Quarterback column by Peter King:

Here’s what a few football people who were at the league meetings are thinking about the breakdown of this draft: Nine prime picks, then eight or 10 really good prospects, then maybe 30 or so of the same-level player. The top nine: quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, defensive tackle Leonard Williams, wideouts Kevin White and Amari Cooper, pass-rushers Dante Fowler and Vic Beasley, offensive tackle Brandon Scherff and cornerback Trae Waynes. After that, beauty starts to be in the eye of the beholder. I had one GM tell me: “The 17th pick on our board might be the 53rd pick on another team’s board—and that could be a team we really respect.”

In other words, even if the Redskins trade back into a pick somewhere in the early teens they could be looking at a major drop off in the quality of the player they will get in the first round.

There is always the debate over quality or quantity. The crowd that wants to trade down thinks that giving McCloughan more selections will increase the chances that he can find future contributors. But there is also something to be said for getting a single impact player who has a very high chance of being successful and who can make other players around him better.

There isn’t a player among the top nine that King lists who wouldn’t be able to have impact. The Redskins’ quarterback situation is very unsettled, Williams would upgrade any defensive line, White or Cooper could replace one of the Redskins’ aging and expensive top wideouts, Fowler and Beasley would help the secondary by getting more heat on the QB, and Scherff and Waynes would both help out at critical positions.

If the Redskins stick with the fifth pick that doesn’t mean that McCloughan will have only seven picks. They can trade down in later rounds to get more selections.

One other thing to consider here is that McCloughan’s draft board doesn’t necessarily jibe with the conventional wisdom as described by King. He might have more prospects that he deems to be top notch and he might have fewer. So he could be more willing to trade down from No. 5 or less inclined to do so.

Like everything else involving the draft, we will have to wait another four weeks and a few days before we start to find out.

Tandler talks Redskins QB’s and more on PFT Live:


—It’s been 93 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 166 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 20; 2015 NFL Draft 30; Redskins training camp starts 121

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. bk70 - Mar 31, 2015 at 5:50 AM

    If Peter King is accurate then the Redskins should get two quality “starters” with picks 5 and 38 – Yes, stand pat.

  2. troylok - Mar 31, 2015 at 6:24 AM

    You make a compelling argument, Rich, but if you look at it from the standpoint that every player taken is a risk – for every Payton Manning there is a Ryan Leaf – then the quantity argument wins out over quality. You increase your odds. I think the high number of players in the second level is an opportunity and if they could pick up mutliple picks in that section of the draft, they could add some quality offensive linemen or a safety.

    • ET - Mar 31, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      Quality linemen, a safety, a CB that may convert to safety (e.g., PJ Williams), ILB and OLB talent—seems like this draft is somewhat thin in terms of true blue chips, but quite deep in the next two tiers below that at many key positions. There are a lot of players the Skins could pick up between, say, the 20th and 100th pick that could add real depth and value. That, coupled with the Ryan Leaf Factor, does make a trade back / accumulate picks strategy a possibility.

  3. sidepull - Mar 31, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    For once in quite some time, this is gong to be a fun draft to watch our new GM, Scot, do his thing. Afterwards we can then all sit back and comment on our take. Cant wait. It is a draft just has you describe, heavy on the front end and then the rest is wide open. Lots of suspense to this one!

  4. hk2000 - Mar 31, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    What qualifications does King have as a talent evaluator? If he ever was a GM and had a proven track record, I’d listen, otherwise, I’d take his ramblings with a huge dose of skepticism! I’m not saying trade down is the way to go but I’d trust your (Rich) evaluation of players as much as Id trust his, if not more. Let’s not forget these are young men who are very impressionable and the organization and coaches they end up with will have far more influence on the end result than anything we’ve seen from them so far. In other words, if there is a chance to get more players, I’d trust our GM to get guys who will likely be great once he gets the right coaches in.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 31, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      These are not King’s evaluations. He talked to a number of personnel types around the league at the owners meetings last week and this was the consensus of opinion. He does have some connections so I wouldn’t reject this out of hand.

      > > >

  5. warpath1 - Mar 31, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    I think alot of these evaluations are based purly on atheticism and talent. They dont usually take into account the charactor and heart of a player. Ill take to guys that play their a@@ off over an overhyped talented diva anyday HTTR

    • troylok - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:55 AM

      Yeah, I think you are right. The sports writers / analysts just don’t have the kind of access to these players, their film, their coaches, etc. like the pro personnel teams have. Just like the pro personnel people, I think some of these analysts fall in love with certain players (Tim Tebow) and despite what they have seen, they still rank them pretty highly.

  6. cowboyhater - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    Bottom line…..just stay at #5 unless they get a trade they cannot refuse. I think there will be a trade at #2, #3, or #4 for Mariota before they even get to the skins. This could be great news if Fowler, or Williams fall into our laps.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      That’s the key. If someone knocks your socks off with the offer, than you do it. Like the Rams did when Danny wanted RGIII so badly.

      For example, say Mariota is still around at 5 because Winston, Williams, Fowler, and one of the receivers (or Beasley) go first. The Browns (rumored to be interested in Mariota) offer their two first round picks (12 and 19).

  7. redskinsnameisheretostay - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    You can’t coach the talent and gifts that Vic Beasley possess. He’d me my ideal choice if he were available to select.

    • kenlinkins - Mar 31, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      My only concern with Beasley: Is he a Combine warrior or a football player? Did he get his Combine numbers by just practicing for the combine or are they a true measure of his talent to play football. Too many times in the past I have seen guys kill the combine and not development into great football players. The new GM has said that the DNA is in the game film, so are the combine numbers over blown vs his production on the field? I just so not know. BUT his Combine was just OUTSTANDING!

      • captblood3000 - Mar 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        The DNA should be there. In 2014 Beasley had 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss. But scouts were concerned that Beasley was too small to do this at the NFL level. By showing up heavier and faster at the Combine, Beasley silenced some doubters.

      • Rich Tandler - Mar 31, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        Beasley was highly productive on the field, 33 sacks and 52.5 tackles for loss. I think the combine just opened the eyes of a lot of the media types. The GMs knew all along.

        > > >

        • rtcwon - Mar 31, 2015 at 12:16 PM

          I don’t watch college much and don’t pay attention to draft picks until their pre-season snaps that I can witness so I’m purposely out of the loop but what about Ray & Gregory? Those were the names I heard early and didn’t really hear about Beasley & Fowler until combine phase so my assumption is the later are workout warriors and former are the gamers?

        • kenlinkins - Mar 31, 2015 at 5:03 PM

          He just looks more like my dream SS than DE/OLB.

  8. kenlinkins - Mar 31, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    The key to this years Redskins draft picks will be the grade that the new GM places on the players in the draft and the grade he places on the guys on the roster now. IMO we Redskins fans will get greater insight into the new GM after his first few picks. It seems to me that rebuilding a NFL roster is very much like building personal wealth. It is the buying and selling of assets at the correct times that each situation dictates coupled with the risk tolerance allowed by the current state of the team. IMO the Redskins are in the early stages and have little room for risk after the RG3 deal has not yet produced the expected returns on investment and the poor showing of many of the trade backs used in the last few years. In short, the Redskins must find ways to increase the value of each pick, the problem is not knowing the assigned values of the assets listed. In years past most Redskins fan has a good idea of those values as the GM would allow that kind of info to leak out. The problem was other NFL teams then knew the Redskins values and their own, which placed the Redskins at a disadvantage when making deals (i.e. trades to get QB’s or trading down to get more picks). There is an art to pulling off a great draft and this year IMO the Redskins seem to be on the right road to getting that done. Time will tell and the first few picks will give us fans more data. Until then, it is a guessing game but that is the way it should be!

    • renhoekk2 - Mar 31, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      Funny you should use the financial analogy. Bill Belichcik has a degree in Economics and always seem to treat players and draft picks differently than most teams. So many times he would trade out of the first round to acquire additional picks. And he always got rid of players before their play dropped off to the point of detriment. He never seems to hold on to guys for sentimental reasons like most teams do, The Skins and Fletcher and the Steelers and Polamalu for example. He misses on certain guys like Haynesworth but it only cost him a 5th rd pick instead of $40M guaranteed and crippling his salary cap for years. Hopefully McCloughan brings some of that tact to the Skins front office.

      • troylok - Mar 31, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        Belichick has the advantage of knowing that he can pull a player out of a questionable college program and provide them with much better coaching that will lead to their development. Does Scot McCloughan have that same advantage? Will the Redskins coaching staff be able to develop players? We all put a lot on the GM’s shoulders, but if he does his part with getting quality players; will Gruden do his part and provide them coaching and playing time? I think of the promise Ryan Grant showed at the beginning of the season and then… nothing. Gruden shut him down and instead was playing aging-veteran-thanks-for-the-memories Santana Moss. Baccarri Rambo makes mistakes and he gets cut. A few weeks later he’s making interceptions for Buffalo. Players aren’t going to develop if the coach is not going to suffer through a few mistakes.

    • ET - Mar 31, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      If the draft is akin to wealth management, it’ll be interesting to see how Scott chooses to manage risk / reward. Will he go for any boom / bust prospects, or will he target players with a higher floor and lower upside? Or will he mix it up? Should be really interesting.

  9. tralfaz10 - Mar 31, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    Taking the best player available is the best policy. Example: In the 2005 draft we drafted Carlos Rogers #9…clearly drafting for a need and not the best player. We also needed a quarterback. We ended up with Jason Campbell at #25. Who did we pass on and end up with Campbell? A guy named Aaron Rodgers that we could have taken with the #9 pick. Team history would have changed. Instead of drafting/signing QB after QB and Carlos Rogers being gone from our team in a few years, we could have been picking at the bottom of the draft instead of the top. Best player available. Period.

    • DaCowboyKillah - Apr 6, 2015 at 8:50 PM

      If everyone would of known that Rodgers was going to be this good he wouldn’t have dropped to 24. There were 23 other teams who made the same mistake. And if we didn’t get Carlos chances are we still wouldn’t have gotten Aaron Rodgers.

  10. jonevans511 - Mar 31, 2015 at 6:24 PM

    Fowler will look good in Burgundy & Gold Archives

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