As NFL free agency kicks off, it's time to update the CSN Washington 2014 mock draft with version 4.0. Here's how we see the first two rounds at this point, but first...
Between now and May's draft, those engaged in or listening to general draft talk will typically use/hear two basic camps of strategy: take the best player available or select for need.
Don't be the person who believes it's one or the other. Instead, embrace a combo approach, the football equivalent of those old Reese' peanut butter commercials that publicized the magic of chocolate and peanut butter together. Indeed, the "Peanut Butter Cup" strategy is a logical one for the Washington Redskins and the one I embraced in my latest mock.
For starters, the "best player" notion is overly simplistic. What if say Johnny Manziel slipped to the Redskins at 34. Before dismissing that notion remember that last year Geno Smith was thought to be a top 10 pick by some even the week of the draft before sliding into round two.
Anyway, even if Washington's pristine big board had Johnny Football high above all others, it shouldn't take True Detective's Rust Cohle to sense the illogic about him coming here.
Same goes for Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde or, assuming Brian Orakpo stays, outside linebackers. Even a corner at 34 is borderline sketchy since the Redskins took one in the second round last year.
Nobody is arguing against talent, but at some point a team must address areas of need*. Let's also not focus on minor differences in evaluation. If by draft day, the offensive line remains holey and a tackle prospect sits 1-3 spots beyond a safety on the Redskins big board, take the tackle. If the gap is sizable, then don't succumb to the need angle**.
(*) The exception comes at the top of the draft where say a freaky prospect like Jadeveon Clowney has people talking franchise-changing talent. That player isn't likely around at 34.
(**) Basic roster building starts with both lines. In general, the Redskins would be wise to spend major assets there and not at receiver, secondary.
Speaking of needs, the key is not being so caught up in any one area that it overshadows all others.
Go back to 2008. Forget about the disaster that became Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Malcolm Kelly. The moves were silly from the start because even though Washington needed a passing game boost, they didn't need THREE second-round picks dedicated to this area. The Davis part also had some concerns because Chris Cooley existed.
The Redskins had other areas of need that season, just as they do now beyond offensive line, which in my opinion must be upgraded this off-season.
Free agency is now starting. Perhaps the likes of Anthony Collins or Zane Beadles have been fitted for burgundy and gold uniforms by the time Washington gets to drafting, thus limiting the must-have vibe at 34. Perhaps the Redskins cover themselves at safety or rush in for defensive line help and plan to protect their OL hopes with picks.
Until we know, the mock draft serves as lead in the restocking plan. Now, there are offensive linemen available. In mock 3.0, I gave the Redskins Stanford G David Yankey. Can't imagine anyone outside of say Chris Chester or secondary coach Raheem Morris objecting.
Despite the clear need to protect a certain quarterback/investment, Washington has other issues. Following the release of Adam Carriker and with fellow DE Stephen Bowen potentially the next to go, defensive line is quickly moving up the-must-fix list. Without push from the line, it doesn't matter much what goes on linebacker and in the secondary.
Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt has the makings of a solid to strong 3-4 end with pass rushing skills. Some draft evaluators have the powerful 6-foot-5, 304-pounder Tuitt among the top 30 players available. That's ahead of Yankey and other offensive linemen.
If the Redskins do as well, then in this case, follow the Peanut Butter Cup plan. If not, then the fear is, well, as the great TV philosopher Cohle explained on HBO's True Detective, "Time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”
In the case of the recent Redskins in most ways, that's not a good thing, though at least now we're now in a post-Shanahan world.
There will also be differences of opinion with player evaluation or team needs. Where's the draft chatter fun without it. Nevertheless, even if folks don't necessarily agree with another's take, all should agree that a certain tasty plan is the way to go.
Maybe Cohle would think differently about the world if he knew about the Peanut Butter Cup plan.