With the tenth pick, the Washington Redskins are now on the clock and have some decisions to make.
The Redskins are in a tough situation under Mike Shanahan. Clearly the talent level on the team suggests they should be undergoing a rebuilding process, but the ownership has absolutely no patience for that. So Shanahan is stuck between a rock and hard place, where he needs to make significant and sweeping upgrades to the talent of the roster, but also maintain a level of competition that keeps the team in the playoff hunt.
It’s going to be tough sledding for the Redskins to do with this top pick and other choices in this draft, since arguably this pick and draft class that the Redskins add will make or break whether Shanahan is a two-year wonder in D.C. or whether he can finally get that team turned around in the Snyder Era. I think that pick that they will sell to Redskins fan base is Alabama’s Julio Jones.
The Redskins could use some help on every unit of their roster. First and foremost among those needs is quarterback. The team traded for Donovan McNabb, and it was fairly quickly that Shanahan concluded that was a mistake. The team will look to move him, but only if they can make an addition at this position. They will definitely keep their eyes on Gabbert and Cam Newton. Newton isn’t the traditional passer for Shanahan because he’s not super accurate or polished in the pocket, but neither was McNabb, and Newton presents a tremendous upside that I’m sure Daniel Snyder will have no qualms about adding to the team. The question the Redskins will have to make is if not one of those two quarterbacks, who can they move back to get or snag in the second round?
The Redskins also need help on the ground, so a player like Mark Ingram will be of interest. But Shanahan’s notorious for not putting too much emphasis on the running back position, so it’s highly doubtful that they will snag one with their top pick.
Wide receiver is another major problem area, and the Redskins seem to be in a very good position to snag Ingram’s teammate, wideout Julio Jones. Jones presents a big, physical, explosive target on the outside that whomever is quarterback is going to need to throw to.
The team’s offensive line was horrible in 2009, and while they made some improvements a year ago, it’s still far from the caliber that could be considered good. Jammal Brown didn’t have as good a season as expected and probably won’t be back at right tackle. Which opens up the opportunity for someone like USC’s Tyron Smith, who like Trent Williams has the versatility to play both sides and offers the athleticism that Shanahan’s teams and scheme usually covet.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Redskins need a lot of help. Improving the pass rush is a key, as the team got little from anybody besides Brian Orakpo in their first year as a 3-4 defense. So the team will definitely have interest in players like Robert Quinn and Von Miller, although both will probably be long gone by the time the Redskins pick.
Up front, they will hope a guy like Marcell Dareus continues to slip in this mock draft, but I have the Cowboys snagging him a pick before the Redskins. But he would fit nicely up front in their 3-4 scheme as a replacement for Albert Haynesworth. Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt and Cal’s Cameron Jordan should be under consideration for similar reasons. They lack a single young piece up front that is worth developing.
So again, the Redskins can go in a variety of directions since the only positions of strength on the entire roster are tight end and safety. But in the end, they will likely focus on adding offensive playmakers since that’s Shanahan’s area of expertise. And without a quarterback like Gabbert or Newton on the board at this point, that seems to suggest Julio Jones.