Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 5:07 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
Trade up, deal down or stay put?
Continue rebuilding the offensive line or choose a complement for Brian Orakpo?
Draft the future starting quarterback or an instant-impact receiver?
Those are just some of the choices the Redskins and coach Mike Shanahan faced Wednesday on the eve of the NFL draft.
The Redskins have the 10th overall selection in Thursday's first round, which kicks off the three-day, seven-round event.
Shanahan met with reporters at Redskin Park and although his usual close-to-vest self during the 20-minute session, he did reveal some thoughts on the labor situation and the draft.
Citing his teams needs, Shanahan said common sense dictates the Redskins wont go tight end or safety in the opening two rounds.
Other than that, were pretty open, he said. We can go in a lot of different directions with the needs of our football team.
There are about three-four guys that could wind up there that weve talked about.
Because the lockout has delayed the start of free agency, the Redskins are in a situation where they have a ton of holes on the roster, havent been able to sign or re-sign veteran players (aside from safety O.J. Atogwe) and have only two of the first 140 picks because of trades last year for Donovan McNabb and Jammal Brown.
It is a little bit different, but its something everybody is working with the same guidelines, so therefore its not a big deal, Shanahan said. What were looking for is a little clarity, exactly what the rules are so we can all operate on the same page.
Every NFL team, as of Wednesday, was on the same page regarding free agency: Theyre acting as if it hasnt started. Coaches still arent reaching out to their players, and players under contract still cant be included in draft-day deals.
That limits the Redskins ability to move up into the top five if they covet a quarterback and likely lessens the chance of their moving down, too.
If you had hit free agency already and filled a number of positions, your mind-set would be, What are your remaining needs? Shanahan said. Obviously, we havent had any free agency so youre going to take the best player available that you think can help your football team win.
For a team that was defensively challenged like the Redskins (second-to-last in yards allowed per game), that might mean going with a lineman like North Carolinas Robert Quinn or Auburns Nick Fairley. The Redskins are in need of players who are adept in a 3-4 scheme.
Thats the big question can guys project? Shanahan said. Can a guy who plays defensive end, is he a good fit at outside linebacker? A lot has to do with speed and pass-rushing ability and the ability to drop in coverage.
If the Redskins feel a play-maker is the top need, Alabama receiver Julio Jones would be an obvious pick if he remains on the board. Shanahan went first-round receiver twice in Denver.
And then theres quarterback. Its almost certain the Redskins will end the weekend with a passer on the roster. Shanahan drafted Jay Cutler five years ago.
You have to go through all the scenarios with the quarterbacks and project them in your system, Shanahan said. A lot of the time, you have to adjust your system to the talent of your quarterback.
Another scenario is trading down to acquire extra picks.
Ive been in situations before where we havent had a lot of picks and all of a sudden, you have the 10th pick and get a couple phone calls and make a decision to move back because the player youre looking for is not there, Shanahan said. Other times, youre sitting there hoping somebody is going to call and nobody calls and the guy you want just went the pick before, but you have to make the pick.
You need a game plan for all of those scenarios.
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