Should the Washington Redskins Trade Up in 2014 NFL Draft?

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Should the Washington Redskins Trade Up in 2014 NFL Draft?
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Could a trade into the first round of the draft follow Allen's splashy signing of DeSean Jackson?

From the signing of aging veterans like Jason Hatcher and Ryan Clark, to the re-signing of DeAngelo Hall, the Washington Redskins left bread crumbs that hint at an intent to contend in 2014.

In wake of the Redskins' high-risk, high-reward signing of DeSean Jackson, according to the team's official Twitter account, they officially look the part of a team in win-now mode.

And for good reason.

While the team's 3-13 finish last season would lead you to believe otherwise, the gap in the NFC East between last-place Washington and the first-place Philadelphia Eagles was never that wide to begin with.

Many forget, the Redskins were viewed as Super Bowl contenders entering the 2013 campaign.

Factor in what little the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants have done to bolster their rosters after lackluster 2013 seasons, and the NFC East crown could be within Washington's grasps if it nets a high-impact player in the draft.

Minus a first-round pick, though, this could prove to be difficult for the team to accomplish.

Hence the question, should the Redskins trade up in the 2014 NFL draft?

Before tackling this question, let's first look at some prospects Washington should be targeting, along with the cost associated with moving up in the draft.

 

Prospects to Trade Up For

Although the Redskins addressed their need at safety in free agency, they signed Clark and re-signed Brandon Meriweather, they're lacking a ball hawk for their bend-but-don't-break defense.

By trading up for a safety like Calvin Pryor or Hasean Clinton-Dix, Washington could nab a player capable of erasing mistakes on defense.

Compared by CBSSports.com's Rob Rang to Pro Bowler Earl Thomas, Clinton-Dix is the complete package.

His tackling technique needs refinement, but Clinton-Dix's combination of diagnostic and ball skills makes him a player sure to start as a rookie.

Whereas Clinton-Dix makes his living in coverage, Pryor profiles to be more of an enforcer on the backend.

Not to be mistaken, Pryor does have good ball skills; he had seven career interceptions in three years at Louisville. It's just that his interest is more geared in jarring the ball from receivers, opposed to jumping routes.

And by forcing nine fumbles in his collegiate career, he's shown he's proficient at doing so.

A secondary plagued by poor tackling last seasonTracy Porter's presence means this will remain a problem going forwardPryor's physical style and sure-tackling is a needed addition.

If the team is satisfied with its options at safety, though, there are two cornerbacks the Skins could target to pair with Hall.

In Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert, Washington has two prospects capable of supplanting David Amerson as the team's No. 2 corner.

But considering that Gilbert is projected by CBSSports.com to go within the first 10 picks, the team's focus should shift toward Dennard.

Excellent in press coverage, Dennard's skill set fits well with a Washington defense geared to get after the quarterback.

An asset in run support, Dennard can shift to the slot in the team's nickel package, a move that best positions DeAngelo Hall and Amerson to succeed by placing them on the outside.

 

Cost of Trading Up

While any one of these prospects could help Washington improve its 30th-ranked scoring defense, moving up to draft them could get expensive.

Dennard, Pryor and Clinton-Dix are projected to go in the late teens of the draft by CBSSports.com.

Using the San Francisco 49ers' trade for Eric Reid in 2013 as a primer, any deal that lands the Redskins with a pick in this range will have to include a second- and third-round pick.

In that trade, the 49ers' traded the 31st and 74th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys in order to select Reid with the No. 18 pick.

Owning the 34th and 66th overall picks, Washington will probably need to surrender a third draft pick to complete a similar deal.

According to a value chart for NFL draft picks, via Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com, the No. 18 pick carries a numerical value of 900.

Combined, the Skins' picks in the second and third round carry a value of 820.

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In order to bridge this gap, Wright's chart indicates that the team will have to surrender a fourth-round pick in next year's draft—the fourth-round pick this year carries too much value.

While the inevitable trade of Kirk Cousinshe's got to be traded at some point, right?could allow Washington to recoup a draft pick used in such a trade, the asking price should be too rich for general manager Bruce Allen's taste.

Even with one of the aforementioned prospects, come playoff time, is Washington really going to be able to knock off the NFC Kings, San Fran and Seattle?I rescind the Seahawks comment if they're not at home. If Robert Griffin III doesn't get injured, we all know who wins that playoff game.

The 49ers and Seahawks are set to feel the crunch of the salary cap in 2015, courtesy of the large contracts that top players like Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman will surely command.

A year from Griffin getting a similar deal, 2015 is the year the Redskins should go all-in, not now.

By standing pat, Washington can add depth in the secondary and along the offensive line. Far from flashy, these are moves that will set the foundation for a playoff run in 2015.

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