Washington Redskins: 7 Predictions for the 2012 NFL Draft
There is nothing to be said about the Washington Redskins this season that hasn't already been said. The draft is still months away, but it is truly the only thing the Redskins have to look forward to at this point.
The Redskins have their work cut out for them heading towards the draft, but it should be eventful regardless of how their final game shakes out.
Will they sell the farm for Andrew Luck, or disappoint fans again and pass on a quarterback? Will they make any deals that send familiar faces elsewhere or try to keep things low key? Only time will tell, but it will be interesting come April. Here are some predictions for the Redskins in the 2012 draft.
Offense Dominates the Day
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Anyone who watches the Redskins on a weekly basis can tell you that their defense is a player or two away from being an elite unit. The offense has been mediocre for most of the season, and is in desperate need of more than a few upgrades.
Washington will draft a lineman, a receiver and maybe a quarterback to bring depth and talent to an offense that has seen better days.
The Redskins may not have a shot at their franchise passer come April, but that means they'll have a season with which to develop and integrate their younger offensive players into the scheme. Injuries played a big part in the shortcomings of the offense, but a season dedicated to developing chemistry would do wonders for the quarterback the Redskins will ultimately draft as the future of the organization.
A Quarterback Is Drafted
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While it should come as no surprise that the Redskins draft a quarterback, it will shock some fans to know that this year's draft will not bring the franchise passer they so desire. Andrew Luck is out of reach, or would cost too much to trade up to get, and the class looks a lot weaker now that USC's Matt Barkley decided to return to school.
The Redskins will draft a quarterback at some point, but they won't be drafting their 10 to 15 year starter come April.
Barkley pulling out of the draft hurt the Redskins because the remaining quarterback prospects are either out of reach, or leave a lot to be desired. It is certain to bother people that the Redskins go another year without drafting the future of their franchise, but better to build the rest of the offense up first so there is no major adjustment period for their quarterback of choice.
Rex Grossman will be re-signed as insurance, but the Redskins may take a chance on a free agent just to keep the position warm for the franchise quarterback coming in 2013.
A Receiver Will Be Drafted Before the Fourth Round
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Though the Redskins drafted Leonard Hankerson last year, he is by no means the final solution to their problem at receiver. He has a bright future, but the Redskins still need a receiver who can stretch the field with big play potential.
Justin Blackmon is out of the question based on his ranking, but someone like Dwight Jones from North Carolina or Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina could be a good complement to Hankerson.
Santana Moss isn't getting any younger, Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth are not the future of the receiving corps, and the likes of Aldrick Robinson, Niles Paul and Terrence Austin haven't seen much action to create hope. Anthony Armstrong has big play potential, but seems to find himself in and out of the coaches' doghouse to have an impact every week.
No Big Splash or Flashy Pick
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The Redskins made a little splash last year when they traded back and picked Ryan Kerrigan 16th overall. Minnesota made waves by passing up Blaine Gabbert for Christian Ponder, and Tennessee grabbed Jake Locker in the top 10.
In years past, perhaps the Redskins would have made a deal to move up for Andrew Luck or even Robert Griffin III, but not this year.
After their surprisingly efficient draft this past April, the Redskins can't afford to scrap progress for the big name quarterback. Though he would likely set the Redskins at the position for the next 15 years, how far would it set the Redskins back as a team? Who or what would they have to give up to jump up to the first pick?
This draft is about solidifying the offense for someone like Matt Barkley next year, or one of the many quarterbacks who have yet to declare for next April's draft.
A Familiar Face Will Be Traded
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The Redskins have managed to make it out of the Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth situations with picks in hand and eyes on the future. Though they don't have any problem players, there are some intriguing sign-and-trade options on the roster that could net big returns.
It is difficult to think of any players that could bring the Redskins a package of picks worth the effort, but it may take some sacrifice to build for the future.
Kyle Shanahan didn't seem too keen on the twin tight end approach on offense, and Fred Davis is up for a contract this offseason. Chris Cooley has been hurt in recent years, and hasn't been featured on offense when healthy. All the rumors from the past season may come to fruition on draft day.
Secondary Depth Added
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However solid an effort the defense put together this season, there is no overlooking the impact that injuries had. LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe missed time, and corners Josh Wilson, Kevin Barnes and DeAngelo Hall all left games at inopportune times.
The Redskins have a lot of needs on offense, but depth in the secondary is proving more necessary with each missed snap and blown coverage.
Washington picked up DeJon Gomes, who has played well at both safety spots when called upon, and Brandyn Thompson got some decent action early in the season at corner. Still, it would be nice to have some players who were capable of holding their own when thrown into the fire. Byron Westbrook has done some admirable things, but does not inspire confidence in coverage.
Draft Picks Will Be Hoarded
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Last April, the Redskins walked away having made the most selections in the draft. And it wasn't as though the team stocked up on picks and drafted a bunch of guys they shoved on the practice squad, or waived before the season.
The Redskins drafted players who got in games and produced when given the opportunity.
Mike Shanahan has a history of acquiring picks and putting them to good use, at least with the last draft class. If the Redskins can get a few starters out of the 2012 class and bolster the positions they cinched last year, they'll be in good shape moving forward.