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Redskins have draft decisions to make at key positions

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

The Redskins made their philosophy clear last season in the fourth round. They already had a quarterback in first-round pick Robert Griffin III, but when Kirk Cousins, a guy they rated as a first-round pick, fell to them, they couldn't resist. They wanted the best player.

It's a philosophy they'll use this weekend at the draft when making their seven picks outside the first round.

That means a position of need might be bypassed for a player who is too good to ignore (unless it's a close call). Here is a case for, and against, five positions. If they picked one not on this list, like a linebacker, it wouldn't be stunning, given health question marks.

Cornerback
The case for » The top three corners -- DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers -- all are unsigned for 2014. Draft a young player who can be developed for a starting role. The draft is considered deep at corner, so there are intriguing options even in the fourth round. And if they can find a slot corner, that's even better.

The case against » The Redskins do have three corners capable of playing this season. In the Redskins' best case scenario -- a highly optimistic one -- Chase Minnifield's knee holds up and gives them the young, talented corner they need.

Safety
The case for » The Redskins have depth and quality special teamers. But they need a starter. Tanard Jackson is too much of an unknown for next season. Washington needs speed at free safety. This draft is deep at safety, extending into the fourth round.

The case against » Tough to make one. The one drawback is that it'll be tough for a rookie safety to improve the defense (initially). There's too much to learn -- even Sean Taylor, the fifth overall pick, had a steep learning curve. If you're looking for more of an instant upgrade, sign a veteran.

Right tackle
The case for » Based on their offseason moves, the Redskins don't view Tyler Polumbus as the long-term solution, though the offense did well with him starting last season. They signed two veterans and also have a young player in Tom Compton at this spot.

The case against » They have four potential players at this spot in Polumbus, Compton, Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood.

Wide receiver
The case for » Pierre Garcon's foot might not be 100 percent and there's no guarantee it won't sideline him again. If Garcon misses time, the receiving corps becomes too average. Why not give more weapons the quarterback you traded a lot to get?

The case against » Start developing your own. Let's see how Leonard Hankerson progresses and let's see if Aldrick Robinson, who had no catches in the final six games, becomes anything other than an occasional deep threat. Also, maybe Joshua Morgan's surgically-repaired ankle results in better production.

Tight end
The case for » What if Fred Davis isn't the same player after his Achilles injury? What if Niles Paul does not improve in his second season at the position? Then the Redskins would need to have another young guy to groom.

The case against » The Redskins have two good tight ends and a third who, given a full offseason after now playing the spot for a year, could improve. Still, that doesn't mean a tight end later in the draft isn't an option.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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