Some people refer to it as a crap shoot, others call it a shot in the dark, but regardless of the label used to describe May's upcoming NFL draft, the amount of time, energy and coin that professional teams pour into the process in hopes of getting it right is no secret.
Despite the imperfect science leading up to draft day, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen can come away smelling like a rose if he can maintain his focus on a few specific positions and stick to a couple guidelines when it comes to playing the draft hand he's dealt.
Stick on a Safety
It's arguably the Redskins' weakest position, so Bruce Allen can't go into this draft without at least attempting to land a decent prospect for the back end of the defense.
That's not to say the team needs to trade up for a Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (no chance) or a Calvin Pryor, but anyone after those two are viable options starting from the Redskins' first pick at No. 34 and beyond.
Lay the Groundwork with Linemen
While this is an argument that can be made on either side of the ball, this particular statement has more to do with the offensive line and the team's continuous effort throughout the offseason to improve the unit.
Signing Shawn Lauvao was a reasonable surprise given the money he received, and for now we can only assume he'll work out at left guard. Meanwhile, Mike McGlynn shouldn't wow anyone or convince them that he'll take over at right guard, despite Chris Chester's struggles last season.
So, who is the answer at right guard? How about right tackle?
Although anything is possible come draft weekend, the forecast calls for plenty of solid offensive linemen being available in the second and third rounds next month. With early picks in each round, the Redskins should keep guard and tackle near the top of their priority list heading into the weekend.
Spike in Height
The Redskins could use bigger pass-catchers.
Tight end Logan Paulsen is currently the Redskins' largest receiving threat, measuring in at 6'5". After him, starting tight end Jordan Reed is around 6'2", and guys like Leonard Hankerson and David Gettis (both listed at 6'2") aren't locks to make the final roster.
As we've all heard leading up to the draft, this class is extremely deep at wide receiver. Despite the recent signings of Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson, the Redskins can benefit from adding a sizable target to run alongside those speedsters and help to open up the attack for Robert Griffin III.
Keep Trade Avenues Open
And by trade avenues, I mean the possibility of trading back. And by trading back, I mean doing so specifically in the second round, where you can drop down, still land a good prospect and maybe pick up a mid-round selection in the process.
As a dazed Redskins fan, I have this dreamy scenario where the team trades their No. 34 pick to move back into the latter half of the second round, adds an additional fourth- or fifth-round selection and somehow still lands a good lineman, safety, receiver, linebacker, corner, etc.
In this draft, that sort of thing can happen—and it would drastically help a team like the Redskins, who have plenty of improving to do.
This is probably not the most popular or understandable suggestion here, but think back to last April, when the Redskins made their selection in the third round of the draft: Jordan Reed, Tight End, University of Florida.
Sure, the Redskins needed a tight end—Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul weren't exactly threatening—but did anyone see the pick coming?
The Redskins had other needs at the time, yet they chose an athlete and playmaker like Reed because he was rated as their best player available. And that's essentially what this guideline comes down to: don't sacrifice talent or top-rated potential in order to reach for a position of need.
An example that would cause major frustration amongst fans (I think) would be passing on a top-rated tight end in order to draft a half-decent safety simply because there's a more glaring need at the safety spot.
No, thank you. I'd rather have the big target who can add more potency to the Redskins offense.
Give Us a Surprise
This is suggested somewhat selfishly, because there's this speculative trust I have in Jay Gruden as an offensive mind, as he has an ability to get his players in good position to gouge the opposition.
And I'm also assuming (hastily) that this predicted, unexpected draft selection will be an offensive player.
Although it won't be a shock me to see the Redskins take a running back in the middle rounds, that's the kind of surprise I'm referring to—a player who's a little out of the box in terms of roster makeup, yet one who is the kind of guy that can serve as a lethal weapon in Gruden's arsenal.