Point-Counterpoint: Drafting Kerrigan

Point-Counterpoint: Drafting Kerrigan
April 29, 2011, 8:17 pm
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Friday, April 29, 2011, 4:16 p.m.CSNwashington.com

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The Redskins didnt take a quarterback with the 10th overall pick in Thursday nights NFL Draft. Instead, they traded back to the No. 16 and took linebacker-to-be Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue.

By moving down in a trade with Jacksonville, the Redskins acquired the Jaguars second-round pick (No. 49) in addition to their own (No. 41).

Was this a good move? Will they regret moving back and letting the Jags claim quarterback Blaine Gabbert, thought by many to be a top-five pick in this draft? Rich Tandler and Ryan OHalloran debate the point.

Rich Tandler: Any time you have a franchise quarterback on the board, you have to take him. Apparently, however, Mike Shanahan did not think Gabbert had the tools to be a franchise guy or even a solid starter. Gabbert did not impress at lot of scouts and some wondered why he was being considered in the first round, much less the top of the draft.

Given their need for a pass rusher to help out Brian Orakpo, the Redskins could have justified reaching slightly for Kerrigan with the 10th pick. But they managed to get him at No. 16 and they wound up with another pick Friday in the process, making this a solid win for Shanahan and company.

One reservation is in Kerrigan and Orakpo, the Redskins now have two defensive ends converted to the outside linebacker spot. The situation will improve the pass rush but could create liabilities in coverage and against the run. Its something around which defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will have to scheme and Kerrigan could end up playing with his hand in the dirt on occasion.

The Redskins perhaps could have done better by taking Cal defensive end Cam Jordan, who could have provided a pass rush from the defensive line, which remains badly in need of an upgrade.

Ryan OHalloran: With quarterbacks flying off the board, the Redskins were in a perfect position when their number came up. Blaine Gabbert was still there. Obviously, the Vikings had an interest in Christian Ponder.

The Redskins should have gone with Gabbert its a huge, huge risk, one that Carolina was unwilling to take with the top pick (Cam Newton).

Chances are, the Redskins would have been able to find a way to get a defensive end late in the first round or early in the second.

On the flip side, at least Shanahan addressed a need position. Although converting a defensive end to outside linebacker like Kerrigan will have to do is always a gamble (see Andre Carter), the defense needed a pass rusher who can scare teams from the two- and three-point stances.

Bottom line, it was the safest pick possible.