In the weeks after the NFL Draft, a lot of draft gurus, members of the media, and most importantly, members of the Redskin Nation were left scratching their heads after Washington selected THREE...read that again...THREE pass catchers with their first three picks.
While it was widely concurred that in order for Jim Zorn to excel in his west-coast offense, a large, fast, and physical wide receiver would have to be one of the top priorities, nearly everyone felt as though drafting the same prototypical player thrice in one round was a bit superfluous.
Despite the questionable decisions made by the Redskins' front office concerning these three players, one thing that can be agreed upon is that the team made the correct decision to trade down and add more value. It was generally felt as though the players the Redskins were targeting would be available later on.
The most pronounced need outside of the wide-receiver position was on the defensive line. A pass rusher was needed to complement Andre Carter, who had a quiet 10.5 sacks last season.
Some players discussed included Phillip Merling and Calais Campbell. As it turned out, Merling was the first pick taken in the second round, two ahead of the Redskins. At that point, the obvious choice was Devin Thomas, the best all-around receiver in this year's draft.
The real head-scratcher was taking Fred Davis with the second pick. With not only a proven, pro-bowl player in Chris Cooley at the position, but Campbell still on the board, it was a major surprise when the Redskins picked a tight end in this draft.
As it turned out, Campbell was selected two picks later, just ahead of Malcolm Kelly, and the Redskins' second round came to an end.
Each of these picks came with question marks. Devin Thomas could turn out to be a one-hit wonder with only one sensational season at Michigan State (he transferred from a smaller school), Malcolm Kelly ran a slower-than-expected 40 and then blamed it on the surface at Oklahoma, and Fred Davis has forever been followed by questions about his desire and work ethic.
All in all however, while the progression of picks was a little surprising, there can be no denying that the Redskins picked up plenty of value and talent in this draft by snagging three of the twenty best prospects available.
The logic is that Zorn will run a lot of two tight-end sets in his new offense, with Davis ready to get major playing time from day one. Kelly and Thomas are currently the No. 3 and No. 4 receiver for the Redskins, in no particular order, with Moss and Randle-El solidly set as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers, in that order.
However, something to keep in mind is that with the addition of these receivers, Randle-El will be able to play the slot, his more natural position.
As a final point, it should be noted that the Redskins' offensive line was devastated by injuries early in the season, with the losses of veteran stalwarts Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas.
Similarly, with Jason Campbell having a full year of starter duty, minus some injury time, under his belt, the offense should be more productive than last year.
While the team is implementing a new type of offense, Campbell is not only used to learning a new offense, but has played in the west-coast system before, albeit for one year.
It is safe to say that while the Redskins might not be a 10-11 win team, there is a chance that they might sneak into the playoffs in the weak NFC and surprise some people late in the season.