Thursday, December 2, 2010 3:00 PM
By Rich Tandler
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The calendar has turned to December and the 5-6 Washington Redskins playoff chances are slim and none, with slim possibly packing up and leaving town after Sundays game at the New York Giants. Regardless of the team's playoff status, there is much left to discuss about the season and its aftermath. But it also is time to start looking forward to late April, the 28th through the 30th to be specific, when the NFL draft will take place. With the college football season getting ready to wrap up and the bowls starting in about two weeks, it is time to start examining which players might be turning in their college colors to wear the burgundy and gold next fall. Redskins should have seven picks It may shock many to know that as of right now it looks like the Redskins have seven picks in the 2011 draft. They have their own selections in the first and second rounds and in rounds five, six, and seven. Their third and fourth round picks will go to the Eagles to complete the Donovan McNabb trade and to the Saints for Jammal Brown. We wont know which pick is going where until the end of the season but the Redskins get a pick back from the Saints regardless. According to Adam Schefter: If New Orleans receives Washington's third-round pick, then the Redskins will get a 2011 fifth-round pick back from the Saints. However, if Washington's third-round pick goes to Philadelphia, then the Saints will send a 2011 sixth- or seventh-round pick back to the Redskins. In addition to getting that pick, it appears that the Redskins will get a late-round pick in the trade of cornerback Justin Tryon to the Colts. That deal, made on the day that the rosters were cut to 53, was for a late-round conditional pick and since Tryon made the Colts' roster and has been seeing some playing time in Indianapolis the Redskins probably have a seventh-rounder coming their way. There seems to be very little chance of the Redskins picking up an extra selection by being awarded a supplemental draft pick. While some former Redskins have signed with other teams, such as Antwaan Randle El (Steelers) and Ladell Betts (Saints), the Redskins had released them. A team can only get a supplemental pick if it loses players who become free agents by playing out their contracts. Likely to draft in the middle of each round At 5-6, it looks like the Redskins are going to finish at 7-9 or 8-8. That would land them somewhere between picks 11-15 in each round, depending on how the tiebreakers shake out. Even if they win only one more game and finish 6-10, they are unlikely to land in the top 10. The middle status in the first round means that the players who are judged to be the very best will be gone by the time the Redskins pick but there certainly will be top talent available to them. Brian Orakpo was taken with the 13th overall pick and some others taken in front of him such as DE Aaron Maybin (Buffalo out of Penn State) and RB Knowshon Moreno (Denver out of Georgia) have not fared nearly as well. Caveats, warnings, and disclaimers In some ways it is not too early to start talking about the draft and in some ways it is. A few reasons why any look at a team's draft at this point is premature: --The Redskins still have five games left to play. That's almost a third of the season and some players still on the roster, particularly some of the younger ones, may be able to convince the coaching staff that they can have a solid future with the team and that they can direct their draft priorities elsewhere. For example, if running backs Keiland Williams or James Davis show that they can be starting-quality running backs, the team might not be as likely to target running backs in the draft. --We don't yet know who is going to be in the draft pool. Wide receivers A. J. Green of Georgia and Julio Jones of Alabama are likely to be right in the Redskins' wheelhouse in the first round--if they are in the draft. Both have college eligibility left and might decide to stick around for another season. If one or both decide not to come out, the quality of the pool of wide receivers available will be affected. --We don't know the outcome of free agency. Normally, the prime part of the free agency period is over with by the time the draft comes around. That may or may not be the case this year with the uncertainties surrounding the labor agreement. If a labor accord is reached and free agency starts at or near the usual time, the Redskins's draft targets could shift depending on show they sign. Other factors such as the results at the scouting combine and in other workouts (although Shanahan puts much more stock in game film evaluations than he does in times in the 40 and the short shuttle), and injuries that inevitably occur during bowl games will go into the evaluations. Top draft needs Again, this could change depending on someone who might emerge in December or a free agency gain or loss, but heres how it looks right now. Ill name a few of the top prospects and go into more depth in the coming weeks. Wide receiverin 2011 Santana Moss will be 32 by the time the season starts, Anthony Armstrong will be a 28-year-old second-year players and Roydell Williams still will be a nonentity. The Redskins desperately need an upgrade at this position. If they come out of the first two rounds without a wide receiver, there will be a meltdown in Redskins Nation. Top prospects: Green, Jones, Leonard Hankerson Miami (FL) Interior offensive lineThe Redskins may keep Casey Rabach around for another year but a replacement will be needed soon. Ditto for right guard Artis Hicks. And although Shanahan appears to be a fan of left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, he wont be given an unlimited amount of time to develop. Although teams generally shy away from drafting the interior line in the early rounds, the lack of third- and fourth-round picks may nudge the Redskins towards looking there a little earlier than the conventional wisdom would suggest. Top prospects: guards Rodney Hudson, Florida State and Orlando Franklin, Miami (FL); center Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State. Nose tackleThe Redskins have five games left to decide of Maake Kemoeatu can hold down the nose tackle position in 2011. Unless he rallies, they will be in the market for a new man in the middle and with some degree of desperation. Quite simply, the 3-4 defense just cant work without a solid nose tackle. The Redskins probably dont want to spend a top pick on one but they just might have to. Top prospects: Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss; Sione Fua, Stanford. QuarterbackIt wouldnt be surprising for the Redskins to take a quarterback to develop behind Donovan McNabb like the Eagles took Kevin Kolb a few years ago to serve as McNabbs understudy. If there is one that Shanahan really likes in the second round he wont hesitate to pull the trigger. Second-round prospects: Ryan Mallet, Arkansas; Nick Foles, Arizona; Christian Ponder, Florida State. There are other needs but the bottom line is that the Redskins are not in a position to bypass a quality player at virtually any position in any round so be prepared for some surprises. In the coming weeks we will go into some more depth into these positions and prospects. Look for a heads up here when these potential future Redskins will be displaying their skills in upcoming bowl games. You can reach Rich by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat during the Redskins-Giants game on Sunday. Things will get underway on www.CSNwashington.com shortly before kickoff at 12:45 Eastern and continue all game long.