On Friday, I commented ononeNFL mock draft that had theRedskins selecting a defensive linemanin the first round. Thatkind of projection could send fans intoGus Frerotte mode, looking for a wall - padded or otherwise - to bang their heads into. In this case, fear not, that draft scenario is justnot happening.
So why would a seasoned talent evaluator - in this case Russ Lande from The Sporting News - project the Redskins making such a move when they are solid along the defensive line but lacking in numerous other areas? Because right now the Redskins' needs versus projected available players are mucking up mock draft boards.
This is important to understand. Not because it will influence what the Redskins actually choose to do with the sixth overall pick. But this isan important concept for fans to grasp for their own sanity.
Fans love scenarios where the likes of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III or Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon fall to the Redskins. This team has holes in those areas; the prospects are highly rated.
The issue, and that one happens more often than not in current mocks, is that those players are typically slotted somewhere in the top five picks, along with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, USC tackle Matt Kalil and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Then the Redskins are up at six.
It's fair to say that in some order the Redskins' major needs are at quarterback, wide receiver, safety and offensive line. The consensus draft boards do not easily comply.
Blackmon is the only receiver generating consistent top 10 (or even 20) placement. Anyone dead set on giving the Redskins a passer pushed Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill waaaay up from his current borderline first-round status. Alabama safety Mark Barron is a middle-first-round kind of guy.
After Kalil, there are other offensive lineman in the top 10 to 15 mix (Iowa's Riley Reiff, Stanford's Jonathan Martin), but teams typically do not draft a right tackle in that range. Both prospects are left tackles, so either a draft pick or current blindside protector Trent Williams (2010's No. 4 pick) would shift over.
Add in the assumption the Redskins will be highly active in free agency and, well, this is why mock drafters are throwing darts at their burgundy and gold draft board.
There are plenty of pass rushers like UNC's Quinton Coples around, but the Redskins are stocked there. Dre Kirkpatrick is a big corner the Redskins could use in a division stacked with playmaking receivers, but the front office would really have to fall in love with the Crimson Tide defender to change priorities.
Claiborne, the player Mel Kiper has the Redskins selecting, might be the easiest to project slipping outside the top five, but again, not sure corner is where the Redskins are targeting right now.
Maybe if teams start seeing Blackmon as more Anquan Boldin than Larry Fitzgerald hefalls to six orsome other receiver dazzles at the combine and rises up the ranks. Maybe the benefits of not counting on Jammal Brown outweigh the knocks against taking a right tackle early. Maybe by April, Tannehill at six is no longer deemed a reach.
Right now, mocks are about evaluators fitting their draft boards to the needs of the NFL teams more than the other way around. That balance will shift the other way by late March.
Until then, just stay calm ... and remember to keep your helmet on.