The Washington Redskins enter the 2009 season coming off an 8-8 record, a modest effort that left many people disappointed and asking questions.
The Redskins also bring with them numerous holes in their team. The offensive line is aging at a rapid rate. The receiving corps has underperformed countless times due to the lack of a solidified No. 2 WR. The final major area for concern is at linebacker, where there is talent, yet insufficient depth at the position.
With the 13th pick this year, the Redskins have the ability to fill a need and vastly improve their team. The safest way to do that is to draft an o-lineman.
This year's draft class is loaded with coveted o-linemen. The two most notable are Euguene Monroe of UVA and Jason Smith of Baylor University. However, there is no plausible way either one of these two could fall to the Redskins at No. 13.
The two more reasonable possibilities are Andre Smith of Alabama and Michael Oher of Ole Miss. Smith, once projected as the overall No. 1 pick, has watched his stock plummet after being suspended from the Sugar Bowl, having a mental breakdown at the NFL Combine, and his horrible showing during Alabama’s Pro Day.
Oher has also been under the microscope of the media and NFL scouts alike. Oher is thought of as a tremendous talent; however, many people have questioned his mental toughness. Most certainly, they are both high-risk, high-reward picks.
While the receiving corps was an enormous disappointment last year, with only four picks in the draft (not including compensatory picks), the Redskins can’t afford to spend another high pick on a failed investment.
Instead, they hope that Malcolm Kelly’s knee can recover and that Devin Thomas can learn how to run proper routes and practice in the NFL.
Returning to the linebacker corps for the 2009 season is a mix of veterans and developing stars. London Fletcher returns as the captain and soul of the defense.
Surrounding London at the OLB positions are Rocky Macintosh and H.B. Blades. Talent at the starting linebacker positions is not really of concern for the Redskins. Their concern lies in the depth of the linebackers.
If the ‘Skins aren’t in love with a lineman at No. 13, they very well may take a LB. Unfortunately, the best defensive prospect, Aaron Curry, will already be off of the board.
But the Redskins still have a plethora of LBs to choose from. Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, and Clay Matthews, all from USC, should still be on the board. If they don’t draft a LB with the 13th pick, it is certain that they will try to find a diamond in the rough later in the draft.
However, as all Redskins’ fans know, draft day is anything but predictable. Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato never cease to amaze people with their horrendous drafting abilities.
Fans should not be surprised if the Redskins come out of left field with their pick. For example, If Mark Sanchez falls to No. 13, Vinny Cerrato will definitely take a long, hard look into drafting him.
Why, you may ask, thinking to yourself that the Redskins already have a quarterback.
Well the answer is simple. Cerrato believes in drafting the best available player instead of drafting based on need. This is an unfathomable strategy to implement on a team like the Redskins, where if several holes were filled the team might find themselves back in the playoffs.
However, if Cerrato would rather remain in the basement of the NFC East and continue drafting the “best player available,” by all means he should do so.
The Redskins should look to fill the holes they have on both sides of the ball in order to return to the playoffs.
On draft day, remember to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Redskins. And just because a pick seems so obvious to you, it definitely isn’t as obvious to the people making the decisions for the team.