It's impossible to properly preview a draft before free agency has taken place. But the cap-strapped Washington Redskins have limited funds to spend on free agents, thus making the draft all the more crucial as Washington looks to fill roster holes this offseason.
Here's an early look at what the 'Skins are looking at with the draft three months away.
Round 2, Pick 51
Round 3, Pick 87
Round 4, Pick 118
Round 5, Pick 149
Round 5, Pick 157
Round 6, Pick 183
Round 7, Pick 214
Positions that require upgrades
1. Right tackle
It'll be interesting to see if the Redskins chase a free-agent tackle such as Andre Smith, Gosder Cherilus, Phil Loadholt, Sebastian Vollmer or Austin Howard, because any of those guys would be a huge upgrade over Tyler Polumbus.
But if the 'Skins instead decide to focus on defensive backs on the market, they can look to draft a starting-caliber right tackle in Round 2 or 3. And even if they do grab a right tackle in free agency, they'd be smart to add another player from that position in a later round.
Potential picks in the early rounds: D.J. Fluker (Alabama), Brennan Williams (North Carolina), Ricky Wagner (Wisconsin), Oday Aboushi (Virginia)
What position do the Redskins need to upgrade most urgently?
No one knows what the hell to expect from Brandon Meriweather or Tanard Jackson, and Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty are less than ideal starting candidates. No position in Washington needs revamping as much as safety.
Even if they chase a free agent like Dashon Goldson, Kenny Phillips, William Moore or Jairus Byrd, they have to look for some young safeties in the draft.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma), Josh Evans (Florida), Eric Reid (LSU), Bacarri Rambo (Georgia)
This has to be a draft-heavy position because the 'Skins probably won't get a new starter at corner in free agency. They have three solid veterans at this position, but Cedric Griffin is 30 and DeAngelo Hall will also turn 30 this season. Richard Crawford is already a potential long-term option, but I think Washington has to use at least a pick or two on corners who could relieve guys like Griffin, Hall and Josh Wilson in future seasons.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Jordan Poyer (Oregon State), Logan Ryan (Rutgers), Desmond Trufant (Washington), Terry Hawthorne (Illinois), David Amerson (NC State)
4. Inside linebacker
London Fletcher will be 38 in 2013, Lorenzo Alexander is slated to become a free agent and there's no telling what 2012 fourth-round pick Keenan Robinson will become. With that in mind, Washington should be open to bringing in another option if it falls in love with the right linebacker in this year's class.
Potential picks in the early rounds: Nico Johnson (Alabama), Jon Bostic (Florida), Kevin Reddick (North Carolina)