Share

Rick Snider: Redskins are shopping for seconds in draft

|
Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

Deion Sanders once said the Washington Redskins shopped at Versace instead of Walmart. Well, the team is still trying to buy champagne -- but at beer prices.

With this year's first-round selection spent in last year's trade for quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Redskins don't pick until 51st in the NFL Draft on April 25-27. Watching the top 50 players pass will be painful for a team with multiple needs even though it is coming off an NFC East championship.

But is there a starter at No. 51 that can be plugged in at right tackle, cornerback or safety? Probably.

Offensive lineman might be the easiest position to fill. Other than a stud left tackle, linemen are often overlooked in the first round. The Redskins can grab a starter in the second round as they did in 1999 with right tackle Jon Jansen, in 1995 with center Cory Raymer and in 1994 with guard Tre Johnson.

The Redskins have kept their second-rounder only five times in the last 13 years. Tight end Fred Davis (2008) and cornerback Fred Smoot (2001) were hits. Receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly (2008) and Taylor Jacobs (2003) were busts. Coach Mike Shanahan traded two of three second-rounders in his tenure and took defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins (2011).

Last year's 51st overall pick was traded twice before Green Bay selected defensive tackle Jerel Worthy of Michigan State. Worthy started four games and finished with 2.5 sacks. In 2011, Tampa Bay took Clemson defensive tackle Da'Quan Bowers, who has six starts and 4.5 sacks in two seasons but also is facing a pending felony weapons charge that could bring a sentence of up to 15 years.

The team needs to draft the best player at several needs positions, but don't use Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld's standard line that nobody was there. He uses that excuse even if he's picking second overall, much less the second round.

Right tackle seems like the most pressing need, though. Tyler Polumbus did a credible job as an unexpected starter much of the last two seasons, but the Redskins have to be more serious about protecting Griffin. That means investing in a right tackle here.

By the 51st pick, the top quarterbacks, receivers, left tackles, safeties and corners mentioned during this week's NFL combine will be taken. It's easier to find a better lineman because the position hasn't been stripped clean.

Alabama's Barrett Jones can play any position along the offensive line, which is invaluable considering injuries. But the Redskins really need to plant the newcomer at right guard no matter what.

There will be a handful of safeties available. LSU's Eric Reid is a banger in the LaRon Landry mold. Fresno State's Phillip Thomas is a ballhawk much like Redskins cornerback Richard Crawford flashed last season. Florida's Matt Elam has good speed and is better against the pass.

If the Redskins don't find a free agent corner, maybe Boise State's Jamar Taylor or Florida State's Xavier Rhodes will be the pick. Taylor has good instincts and closing speed. Rhodes is a physical corner who can jam receivers at the line and tackles well more than matching up in single coverage downfield.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

View article comments Leave a comment