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Need to Know: Will the Redskins go offense or defense in the first round?

Apr 22, 2016, 5:09 AM EDT

Andrew-Billings-Baylor

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 22, six days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 103 days ago. It will be 143 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: 2016 NFL draft 6; Rookie minicamp 21; Redskins training camp starts 97

Hot topic

One week from right now we will know how the first round of the NFL draft unfolded. What Scot McCloughan move will we be analyzing then? Let’s break out the $100 in imaginary casino chips and put our bets down on each of the likely scenarios.

Draft a defensive lineman, $40—It seems like everyone has been trying to figure out scenarios other than this, which has been the most likely and logical since the 2015 season ended. Chances are there will be at least one or two lineman on the board who fits exactly what McCloughan is looking for both in terms of what is on tape and in what he is looking for off the field. If that’s the case, McCloughan won’t overthink it and send in the card with the big guy’s name on it.

Draft another defensive position, $30—If not along the line, then the next most likely scenario is finding help elsewhere on defense. It could be ILB Reggie Ragland or perhaps a cornerback such as Eli Apple or Mackensie Alexander. Perhaps if his knee injury passes the doctors’ scrutiny safety Karl Joseph could be the pick. The draft is deep enough on the line that the Redskins could get a solid player in a later round.

Draft an offensive player, $20—The Redskins’ offense is pretty well set up for 2016 but beyond that there are major question marks. For one thing, both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson will be free agents in 2017. If the right receiver is on the board it would make sense to seriously consider drafting him. I’m not much of a fan of using yet another first-round pick on the interior offensive line but I don’t think you can completely rule out C Ryan Kelly here.

Trade down, $10—While McCloughan wants to collect some additional picks I don’t think he particularly wants to trade down in the first to do it. If “his guy” is off the board and he sees about a dozen who are roughly equal on the board, he might move down to late in the first or early in the second. But I think that the odds are the pick he has in mind will be there. Trades will start in the second round on Friday night.

In case you missed it

  1. Robert Herrera - Apr 22, 2016 at 6:24 AM

    Looking at the scenarios in this week, it would be wise to add a pass rusher or run stuffer linebacker or nose tackle. Second the skins need a safety.

  2. sidepull - Apr 22, 2016 at 6:46 AM

    DL, NT specifically. Come on. Somebody needs to collapse that pocket. Stop the run. I DO NOT want to see Alf run all over the Redskins. I DO want to see RG3 dropped like a sack of potatoes. I am sure it will all work out and Scot is going to give us a lot to think about next week. HTTR

    • babyteal1 - Apr 22, 2016 at 9:01 AM

      Agreed. Get the big man in the middle!!!

    • ET - Apr 22, 2016 at 12:03 PM

      But is a 1st necessary to secure a “real” nose tackle? I don’t think so. If the object is to get a run-stuffing lane clogger, I think a decent one can be grabbed later. A more dynamic lineman who might also operate at NT? Yeah, get one with the 21st pick. I’d be somewhat surprised to see that first pick spent on a two-down lineman. But someone like Andrew Billings (while not perfect) could fill that NT role as a three-down lineman, IMO—and is then worthy of the higher pick. I guess it depends on how the coaching braintrust views the NT position moving forward.

  3. bk70 - Apr 22, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    Rich, I see that you played $20 on the offense…you’re becoming almost a believer in drafting Ryan Kelly at Center.
    It’s all falling into place, Josh Norman should be locked up as a Redskin today. My draft board is looking better…

    Round 1st Choice
    1 Ryan Kelly C Alabama 6-4 311
    2 Vernon Butler DT Louisiana St 6-4 325
    3 Miles Killebrew SS S Utah 6-2 219
    4 Kenyan Drake RB Alabama 6-1 210
    5 Jihad Ward DE Illinois 6-5 296
    6 Nate Sudfeld QB Indiana 6-6 236
    7 Josh Forest ILB Kentucky 6-3 245
    7 Jake McGee TE Florida 6-5 252

    Salary structure changes needed for the signing of Norman will speed up the departures of Culliver, Roberts and Lichtensteiger.

    HTTR

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 22, 2016 at 7:57 AM

      I like Vernon Butler, but I doubt he makes it past the 1st round, let alone to pick 53.
      ~

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      I am not becoming a believer in Kelly. I said I couldn’t rule it out. I think it’s a terrible idea and would write that if it does happen.

      To be clear, if I was drafting there would be a 0.0% chance I’d take Kelly in the first.

      • bk70 - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:08 AM

        OK, I read you loud and clear.

    • colorofmyskinz - Apr 22, 2016 at 3:47 PM

      Love these picks. Just would like to see a BIG WR on it somewhere.

  4. skinsgame - Apr 22, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    The disposition of the Redskins in 2017 where WR is concerned is exactly why Scot won’t draft a “need” position, like DL. He may well draft a DL but only if he’s the best player available. Needs are relentless.

    I can’t see the Redskins meeting the demands of Josh Norman. I can see, however, Scot using this as an example to Cousins of how his own contract could impede the rest of the team development.

    • ET - Apr 22, 2016 at 12:11 PM

      “Needs are relentless.”

      Ain’t that the truth! There are needs all over the place on both sides of the ball. Relative value has to come into play at some point as well, which is why (for example) I think it’s very unlikely to see a center picked at 21 even though it’s most certainly a position of need.

  5. hotpicksblog - Apr 22, 2016 at 8:23 AM

    I usually disagree a lot with you Rich….and here we go again. Although there is no right or wrong answer on an opinion poll…..I gotta say SIXTY PERCENT…thats a big 60 percent on trading down. So using your scale…I’m going to spend SIXTY BUCKS on moving back in the draft because I am feeling it….Scott M will take just about anything if someone calls because he wants more picks. He told you that.

    • skinsgame - Apr 22, 2016 at 8:31 AM

      Agreed on the trade down, but in desire only. It takes another team wanting to move up. “Gotta have that 21st pick!” isn’t likely.

      • mtskins - Apr 22, 2016 at 8:40 AM

        You never know. Seems like most Mocks have a run on WRs right after with the Texans, Vikings, and Bengals all needing one and probably a lot (if not all) still on the board. Maybe Cleveland will move up from the 2nd to get their guy. They certainly have picks now. But as far as Scot M telling you he will take “just about anything”, does anybody really believe anything a GM says this time of year?

      • renhoekk2 - Apr 22, 2016 at 9:59 AM

        Agree. I can see maybe the Rams, or any team in need, trading back for one of the top WR only because the Texans, Vikings and Bengals are likely top landing spots for first round WR, and pick 22.23.24.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:56 AM

      And if he doesn’t trade down in the first he only has seven more picks to work with.

      This is starting to sound like last year when everyone was positive that McC would trade down and even more positive if you added Leonard Williams being on the board at No. 5. It didn’t happen.

      • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:34 AM

        Rich, you’re getting historical. ;)

      • mtskins - Apr 22, 2016 at 1:47 PM

        Ha. Long time reader, first time poster somehow already on Rich’s bad side. I guess I just wanted to refute the idea there wasn’t a scenario where a team would want to move up for the 21st pick. Wholeheartedly agree it is not super likely especially if Scot’s guy is there. But if he’s not and the team can stay in low first or top of the second as you wrote I think he would be willing. Certainly think the probability is nowhere near Sixty Percent and ten casino chips is probably pretty fair. Also as you have mentioned before they could easily grab a WR themselves if he’s the best on their board.

        • Rich Tandler - Apr 22, 2016 at 2:36 PM

          You don’t get on my bad side by disagreeing with my opinion and predictions. Ignoring facts, yes, that gets on my bad side.

  6. bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    The good news is that we’ve got a qualified talent evaluator making the pick, a ton of needs, and a handful of guys that should both fit one of those needs and be considered the best player available. The bad news is that we have to wait another week and endure all the opinion and conjecture.

    As for the Norman push, could this mean that a long-term Cousins deal is nearly done despite the noise that says otherwise? There are plenty of ways to skin a cat (so I’m told), but how many ways are there to trim the Redskins’ cap. Most of the suggested cuts either create holes or can’t happen until injured players pass a physical. A long-deal for Cousins with a ton of guaranteed money could lower his cap hit to ten million or less. T’is the season of speculation.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 22, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      Sure, but I don’t think the big crunch is this year (save for getting Norman signed, if we do).

      Down the road we’re going to have Cousins and Reed (and Breeland, for that matter) to sign, potentially Galette too. So won;t anything we push out from 2016 is going to come back to haunt us?

      P.S. Schefter is putting out 5 years/$15 million a year as the offer. (Of course, devil is in the details, like how much is guaranteed.)
      ~

      • skinsgame - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:02 AM

        5 years $15million for who? Cousins?

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:07 AM

          ~

      • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:13 AM

        Next year, the ‘skins have about $55 million in space BUT do need every bit of that space provided Cousins, Galette, Reed, Jackson, Garcon, and Baker have good years and then Breeland is available for an extension. But it comes down to choice. Do the Redskins want Norman or Galette?

        The devil is in the details but Norman turns 29 in December. A five-year deal could really be a three/four year deal depending on the structure. Who wants to pay a 34 year old corner $15-$20 million? Even in 2020 that sounds like too much money. So again, do the Redskins want Norman for three years over Galette from 2017-2020? Who knows but they seem to be exploring that option.

        • renhoekk2 - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:38 AM

          The length of the contract doesn’t matter to the player. They are all about the guaranteed money. Of course the length of the contract let’s the team spread the money out. Usually the player doesn’t care what the payment plan is as long as they get the guarantees they are looking for. I don’t think there will be more than 3 or 4M guaranteed for 2016. They can push the guaranteed money into 2017-2019, which shouldn’t matter much to Norman. If it’s between SF and WASH I have to think the Redskins are the more desirable choice.

        • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM

          I’m going to quibble with you a bit over some of the details. Yes, agreed that players, by and large, care about the total guaranteed money. Also, agreed that DC is more attractive than San Fran.

          Here is where we are not in accord: “I don’t think there will be more than 3 or 4M guaranteed for 2016. They can push the guaranteed money into 2017-2019, which shouldn’t matter much to Norman.” Players DO care about the structure and a team CAN’T simply push guarantees into different years. Signing bonus — which is usually due at signing — is prorated over the life of the contract. Then there are other bonuses like: workout bonuses, roster bonuses, and guaranteed portions of salary. These are all guaranteed money that is paid at a later date and usually have outs for teams.

          Does Norman sound like a guy that wants his money later? He didn’t sign a contract that was nearly $14 million — all guaranteed but you don’t get it until the season starts and then in weekly chunks.

          Take a look at Patrick Peterson’s deal, which is similarly what Norman wants:

          http://overthecap.com/player/patrick-peterson/417/

          Finally. The important part for the Redskins is what will be the cap hit — especially this year and next year? There is NO WAY that it will be small.

        • renhoekk2 - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM

          I just checked and that $55M is with all of the current contracts on the books. Roberts will be off the books, Lichtensteiger probably is not on the roster next season, T Murphy maybe gone, as well as maybe D Hall and Lauvao. That’s another $8-16M that will/could be freed up as well.

        • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:32 AM

          Yup. Now each of those guys (not Roberts) have a role on the team and those roles will have to be filled in addition to the two WRs and two ILB (Garcon, Jackson, Riley, Compton — off the top of my head.) That additional money is going to be needed for the other holes this team acquires — unless there are replacements in the wings but for now there isn’t anyone on the roster at the positions I mentioned.

        • renhoekk2 - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:43 AM

          Peterson’s deal only has $250K in guarantees in each of the last two years. The Skins may have to push more than that into the final years of the Norman deal. A lot more.

          Here is DJAX first year cap hit

          YEAR BASE SALARY SIGNING BONUS ROSTER BONUS WORKOUT BONUS CAP HIT
          2014 $1,000,000 $1,250,000 $1,500,000 $500,000 $4,250,000

          The deal was 4yr/$24M. The cap hit more than doubled over the last two years. Norman will want double that I’m sure but even if it cost them $8M this season they can make it work.

        • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 2:46 PM

          Jackson is good example in that he became available after the bulk of the money was spent in free agency. His contract also shows creativity in how to spread out the guaranteed money. Apart from that, it isn’t helpful BECAUSE of the different circumstances of the terminations — especially the amount of money due before termination.

          Jackson needed a contract that was going to come closest to guaranteeing him what he lost from what was remaining on his Eagles contract. Norman, on the other hand, had just a one year guarantee of $14M. However, he was looking for more guaranteed $$ anyway — MUCH MORE.

          So the starting point for Norman is $14 guaranteed this year. So, in order to meet Norman’s demands, the Redskins need a contract that averages $14-16M a year AND more than $14M in guarantees with at least that much guaranteed in year one.

          Here’s an example: 4 years, $60M, $20M signing bonus, 1st & 2nd year’s salaries guaranteed. Then it may look like:

          Year, cap hit, salary
          ’16, $7M, $2M
          ’17, $13M, $8M
          ’18, $17M, $12M
          ’19, $23M, $18M
          (bonus prorates at $5/year)
          This conract has $30M total guarantees — $22M of which comes in year one.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:46 AM

          Most plausible reason that I’ve seen for the Panthers revoking the tag:

          If they signed a longer term deal for the amount that Norman wants, then they’d have a tough time retaining defensive tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. They think that resigning those two and finding another zone corner would be easier than trying to replace either one.

          http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/20185/panthers-taking-necessary-steps-to-keep-dts-star-lotulelei-and-kawann-short-together

          (Link is to their desire to retain the DTs, not the recent Norman news.)
          ~

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:49 AM

          renhoekk2 , sure they can make it work this year.

          The concerns are what happens with the cap and our ability to resign our other players in the future.
          ~

        • renhoekk2 - Apr 22, 2016 at 12:05 PM

          A lot of that 16M in roster cuts will be replaced with rookies from the $3M rookie pool this year. That still leaves $13M. That’s how the good teams build their rosters. Good teams don’t pay a 33yr old CB $5M to play safety or a number 4 WR $4M. They will be replaced with rookies. They can draft a S this year to step in for D Hall next year. Find some one to be a #4 or 5WR what ever Roberts is. They already have 4 other guards on the roster besides Lauvao and can easily draft another next year. If they take a DL or two this year T Murphy probably doesn’t make the roster. Replace Lichty’s $3.6M cap hit with a 3rd rd pick that costs $600K. $3M rookie wage pool goes a long way.

        • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2016 at 2:49 PM

          Now you’re pigeonholing what you have to do in the draft. This isn’t best player available and when those picks don’t work out you end up having to spend top dollar on free agents. Sound familiar?

  7. pdxskin - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    I agree that Rich is off base with only allocating $10 to trading back in the first – I would think that is the MOST LIKELY round for trading back, as you can accrue some valuable picks (Day 2, early Day 3) by trading back at that point. I could see us trading back a couple of times (5 slots or so each time) in the 1st, and then trading out of the 1st all together and into the top half of the second round (with a team who wants to come up and take one of the second tier QBs). There is not that much difference in this draft between guys in the mid-20s to mid-40s, so if you can trade back while staying within that range, and add some quality selections in the mid rounds in the process, then you almost have to do it. Realizing that yes, it does require a team that also wants to trade up….

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 22, 2016 at 10:53 AM

      You’re talking like it’s as easy as going to the bank and getting a 10 and two 5’s for your $20 bill. Most GMs are in tune with McCloughan’s “more is better” philosophy.

    • ET - Apr 22, 2016 at 12:28 PM

      It’s very likely that Scot trades back at some point in the draft. That’s something we can agree on.

      A 1st round trade? Yeah, it might happen. But it requires A.) a willing trading partner and B.) reasonable certainty for Scot that the player(s) he wants will still be there.

      Me? I’m guessing a mid-round trade back.

  8. smotion55 - Apr 22, 2016 at 11:03 AM

    This is a well spent 100 bucks. Defense in the 1st most likely and trade down unlikely also. He would have to really work a deal to get out of the 1st, I also believe 20’s into 40’s not much difference. would love to get 1 extra early to make it worth the risk.

  9. kenlinkins - Apr 22, 2016 at 3:25 PM

    “Ah, yea Kurt, I am pretty sure that the Redskins will pick that kid from Ohio State with their first pick and if not, they will for sure pick that kid from Alabama”.

  10. John - Apr 23, 2016 at 12:59 AM

    Time to move back into the 2nd round. If they can do that and find picks early to mid 2nd to go with #53, then they could end up with a Cody Whitehair (G), Chris Jones (DT/DE) and a decent safety. Then in the 3rd get Nick Martin or one of the other centers. 4th, get the running back from ND. 5th find another Keyshan Jarrett. 6th draft Cody Kessler to be the project QB. 7th and undrafted rookies depth and WRs.

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