It's no fun not having a first-round pick but it's really fun having Robert Griffin III as your franchise quarterback. Keep that in mind, Washington Redskins fans, as your team gets set to sit out the opening round of the draft for the fourth time in the last 11 years.
Plus, it's a little easier to swallow such a loss when the pick isn't in the top 10 or even top 20. The 'Skins gave up their next two first-rounders in order to move up and grab Griffin last year, but that move is the primary reason why this team won the division in 2012 for the first time this century.
Even though the Redskins don't pick in Round 1, the chatter and hype surrounding who they'll select in the ensuing rounds (which carry more pressure than usual) is already picking up. Keep checking back here for the latest on that front, along with instant analysis pertaining to anything that develops between now and April 25, 26 and 27.
4/15/2013: Unsurprisingly, CSN Washington's Rich Tandler reports that the Redskins are unlikely to draft a quarterback this year.
4/11/2013: The Redskins have set up visits with three more defensive backs, per the Washington Post. N.C. State cornerback David Amerson, Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas and Nevada safety Duke Williams are all penciled in for Wednesday. All three are second-round targets.
4/8/2013: The Redskins have set up a date with playmaking FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien, according to the Washington Post.
The team is permitted to host a total of 30 prospects in the lead-up to the draft. We've yet to find a lot of information regarding who the 28 others will be, but it certainly speaks volumes that the three leaked names thus far in the process play defensive back.
Things get tricky when trying to draw up a draft board for a team that, barring trades, won't be on the clock until 50 prospects have already been chosen by the rest of the league's teams. But the fact that Washington doesn't have a first-round pick only enhances the need for an NFL-ready defensive back to jump on board in Round 2.
With that in mind, I've put together a list of players that fit that description. Here's a preliminary second-round draft board for Mike Shanahan's team (obviously subject to change a lot):
1. Matt Elam (S, Florida): My favorite safety after Kenny Vaccaro, but he probably won't drop to them.
2. Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International): Heavy hitter who can play both safety positions and would likely be a factor right from the get-go. I wouldn't be shocked to see the 'Skins trade up a few spots to ensure they get Cyprien.
3. Phillip Thomas (S, Fresno State): Versatile and good in coverage. Very likely to be on the board at 51 if Cyprien is gone.
4. Eric Reid (S, LSU): He loses points for not being as strong in pass coverage.
5. Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, UConn): Wreh-Wilson, who is huge and superb in coverage, has become a popular mock draft candidate for the 'Skins.
6. Will Davis (CB, Utah State): Small sample size but I think he's flying under the radar.
7. Jordan Poyer (CB, Oregon State): His stock's been all over the place.
8. Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State): The combine's fastest player would likely be a project, but that's OK now that DeAngelo Hall is back and E.J. Biggers is on board.
9. D.J. Swearinger (S, South Carolina): His stock has risen, but I think they'd prefer to take him in Round 3.
Round 2 (Pick 51): Jonathan Cyprien (S, Florida International)
Round 3 (Pick 85): Will Davis (CB, Utah State)
Round 4 (Pick 119): Dwayne Gratz (CB, Connecticut)
Round 5 (Pick 154): Luke Marquardt (OT, Azusa Pacific)
Round 5 (Pick 162): Duke Williams (S, Nevada)
Round 6 (Pick 191): Tavarres King (WR, Georgia)
Round 7 (Pick 228): Joseph Fauria (TE, UCLA)
After the Redskins were rocked through the air last year, it became obvious that the focus this offseason had to be on improving the defensive backfield. The problem is that, with cap sanctions holding them back, they didn't have the money to do so in free agency.
Ultimately, the fact that DeAngelo Hall has come back after all and E.J. Biggers has come in to replace (and maybe provide an upgrade over) Cedric Griffin has me feeling strongly that safety is in fact the position Washington has to concern itself with most.
The 'Skins will get Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson back, but neither is a sure thing. And a big reason why the corners looked so bad last year was a lack of help in coverage from goats like Madieu Williams and DeJon Gomes.
Hall, Biggers, Josh Wilson and Richard Crawford probably aren't going anywhere, and Chase Minnifield could emerge, too. They'd rather replace Wilson and Hall sooner than later, but they have options. At safety, that's not really the case.
That's why I think that second-round pick should be used on a potential starter who could let them move on from guys like Gomes, Jackson and Reed Doughty in the near future. Then they'll have the luxury to spend the rest of the draft adding corners, offensive tackles, etc., with less to lose.
Finding a Nick Collins isn't easy.
While this current regime has done a phenomenal job drafting players, it wouldn't be fair to expect Mike Shanahan and Co. to find a rookie starter at the safety position with the 51st overall pick. The reality is that drafting guys in Round 2 is a hit-or-miss proposition, and there's a reason why these guys were passed on in the opening round.
As you can see here, none of the three most recent No. 51 overall picks have made a big impact right away. Andy Levitre started as a guard in Buffalo in 2009, but that was more of an exception than a norm. The good news is that the last safety to be drafted in that spot, Nick Collins, started right away and made an impact in Green Bay.
While not very many of the safeties taken in Round 2 in the last five years have become really good NFL players, Keith McMillan of the Washington Post points out that five of the 12 started at least half of their rookie seasons.
Some of those teams didn't have a choice, but the Redskins do. If they take a safety in Round 2 and he struggles, Washington won't leave him in the lineup to start the year.
The odds don't favor him becoming an impact player right away, so temper your expectations. Wouldn't you rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed?