Washington Redskins: Drafting the Draft That's in Front of You

Rich TandlerSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses with with Washington Redskins #13 draft pick Brian Orakpo at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Should the Washington Redskins have taken an offensive tackle in the draft?

Certainly, it would have been nice to come out of the weekend having secured the long-term replacement for the right offensive tackle position, preferably a replacement who could line up with the first team in minicamp. It's a problem area and important one.

The first chance they had to snag a tackle was with their first pick, the 13th overall. By all reports they were focused on Brian Orakpo, the pass-rushing defense end they've been without for about 20 years, and Michael Oher, the Mississippi offensive tackle. Orakpo was the pick.

Oher didn't go until 10 picks later. Not only did the Redskins think that Orakpo was the better player, the 10 teams who drafted after them didn't value Oher enough to make him a pick in the teens. Regardless, we will be able to compare the careers of Oher and Orakpo as the years go by and see if the Redskins erred in taking the end over the tackle.

But for right now the Orakpo pick is, at worst, defensible.

It is the third-round pick of Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes that has some folks irate. A third-round pick generally isn't an instant starter but he could be and, certainly, one would expect that the 80th overall pick, a first-day selection under the old draft schedule, would be ready to start at some point in the next year or so.

So why not a tackle here? I don't have access to the Redskins' draft board but one would have to assume that Barnes was the higher-rated player and that no offensive tackle was close.

You can say that Vinny Cerrato and company and the rest of the gang in Ashburn wouldn't know a good prospect if he sat in their lap and called them mama (to quote the commercial played endlessly over the course of the draft). The rest of the league, however, backs up that judgment.

After Barnes was drafted with the 16th pick of the third round, no team took an offensive lineman for the rest of that round. Not one. The next offensive lineman to go was a center, Jonathan Lugis out of Arkansas, with the sixth pick of the fourth round (106 overall).

The next player listed as an offensive tackle to go was T. J. Land of Eastern Michigan, who went a few picks later to Green Bay with the 109th overall pick. A Google search reveals, however, that it appears that he is being thought of more as a guard than as a tackle.

You have to go to the 35th pick of the fourth round, all the way to pick No. 135, to find the next tackle taken. Troy Kropog of Tulane went to the Titans with a compensatory pick. Reaching by 50 picks, a round and a half, to fill a need is not the way to build through the draft.

If you want to argue that the Skins should have taken Jamon Meredith or Duke Robinson or Fenuki Tupou instead of Cody Glenn in the fifth, fine. I'll concede that one. The rest of the league, however, didn't seem to think as much of them as Kiper, Mayock, and the rest of the draft "experts" did.

We can compare over the years and see how they turn out just like we do with other players the Redskins could have had like LaRon Landry vs. Amobi Okoye or Fred Davis vs. Calais Campbell.

While you can get lucky every once in a while you aren't going to solve your problem areas for this year in the fifth round and later. If you want to debate Robert Henson vs. Tackle X or Eddie Williams vs. Tackle Y, be my guest. Again, time will tell.

The Redskins didn't lose their opportunity to take a tackle in this draft over the weekend. They lost it last August when they dealt their second-round pick for Jason Taylor and when their fourth-rounder went to the Jets for Pete Kendall two years ago.

That limited their options both in terms of sheer numbers and in the opportunity to move up and down. A second-round pick such as Phil Loadholt of Oklahoma would have made the whole draft look a lot better.

But you can't draft the draft you wish was there, you have to work with was actually is there. Time will tell how this one will turn out.