With the 2009 season all but over for the Redskins, I think now is a great time to look towards the future of the team in next April's 2010 NFL Draft.
Nothing new for the Redskins entering the draft, as they already find themselves down two picks; their third-round pick (used in the supplemental draft to get DE Jeremy Jarmon), and their sixth-round pick (used in the trade for DE Jason Taylor).
So now just five picks left to use in hopes of turning this team around. Where do you go?
Is Jason Campbell's resurgence too late? Is it worth re-signing him to any kind of deal, knowing that he will most likely have to tackle another new playbook with the imminent departure of Jim Zorn? Or is it too much to pass up this deep class of talented top-tier quarterbacks?
How about the offensive line? It's not a question about when, but where? Is Chris Samuels done? What about Randy Thomas? Is Levi Jones returning? What about all those back-ups, are any of them potential starters?
Then there is the defensive line. It isn't getting any younger. With Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn likely out, do we feel comfortable with recent draftees Rob Jackson and Jeremy Jarmon (ACL tear)? Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery are both free agents, and with Albert Haynesworth proving his worthlessness, should they be re-signed?
Then there is the defensive backfield, what once looked so promising now is riddled with question marks. With LaRon Landry back at strong safety, do we need a free safety, or can free agent to be Reed Doughty or youngsters Kareem Moore or Chris Horton hold down the spot?
Then the cornerbacks: Carlos Rogers is due to be a free agent. After being benched this season and looking overrated following an impressive 2008 campaign, does he expect more money than he deserves?
DeAngelo Hall possesses the only hands in the secondary, but his health problems are cause for concern. Are youngsters Justin Tyron and Kevin Barnes potential starters, or long-term nickel backs?
These are more questions then five draft picks can answer, but I hope this mock draft will be the best potential solution.
Note: Since the season is not over, and the draft order is subject to change in the coming weeks, I am predicting that the Redskins will draft somewhere around the seventh to 11th picks.
By the time April rolls around, I would be utterly shocked to see Okung slip past the seventh pick. But early mock drafts see him not much earlier than the 10th pick because the teams up front have bigger needs then OT.
However, this would go against the recent draft trends where there have been 14 offensive tackles taken in the first round in the last three years, with the first one drafted second, first, and third overall respectively.
But as of right now, there is no doubt that Okung is the most polished and NFL-ready tackle available. He has started nearly all four years in Stillwater and has only allowed one sack and two pressures all season.
His biggest weakness, if you can call it that, would be his power run blocking, but really nothing to worry as far as pass blocking. His strength, athleticism, and intangibles are top notch. He can quickly become a Pro Bowl caliber player and locker room leader. What more can the Redskins ask for?
If you draft Okung though, the only problem would be to have to bench or cut longtime Redskin Chris Samuels or move Samuels to RT. That is of course if Samuels returns after suffering that serious neck injury.
Other possibilities for this pick: Trent Williams (OT—Oklahoma), Taylor Mays (FS—Southern California), Rolando McClain (MLB—Alabama)
Hold On! Before you blow up the comment box telling me how crazy I am for drafting Arenas in the second round, let me explain.
I know the Redskins have drafted Justin Tryon and Kevin Barnes in the last two drafts, and they haven't exactly lived up to whatever hype they had coming in.
But Arenas isn't even comparable to those two. Plus, I have bigger things in mind for Arenas than just being a potential starting cornerback.
Arenas is the all-time leader in punt return yards in the SEC, and will most likely pass Wes Welker in the upcoming national championship with just 28 yards to become the all-time leader in NCAA history.
Yes folks, that would mean no more Antwaan Randle-El. Danny Smith is an excellent special teams coach, it is about time we give him some talent to work with.
Also, as much as I would like to see him as a corner back in the future, if it doesn't pan out, can you say Devin Hester? He definitely could come in and be a threat on offense with his speed and elusiveness.
If he does stay at cornerback though he would need to work on his play recognition and man coverage. He is susceptible to biting on pump fakes and giving up big plays down the field, something the Redskins secondary doesn't need more of.
Also, on a side note how great it would be to have two Arenas's in D.C., as Javier is the cousin to the Washington Wizards point-guard Gilbert Arenas.
A similar situation as the one which would face Chris Samuels if they draft Okung. With Randy Thomas suffering a serious triceps injury and going on 34 years of age, is he worth keeping over promising youth? No, and John Jerry is why.
At 6'5" and 330 lbs., John Jerry is more of your power running guard, then providing you with solid pass protection, but his strength and size is nearly unmatched throughout college football and even in the NFL.
With work on his pass protection and getting his size and strength to a stronger healthier level, he could become another important cornerstone in what will hopefully be a younger line in D.C. next season
Like I had mentioned earlier with the doubt of defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery returning to the team next season.
It would be wise to look at Corey Peters. At 6'3" 300 lbs., this kid continues to impress. He was voted to the All-SEC First Team by the SEC coaches, and in a conference dominated by strong defense, that says a lot.
He amassed 10.5 sacks in his three years of play for the Wildcats, but continued to get stronger and stronger as each season progressed. He seems to have a good head on his shoulder and always wants to improve his game, and you can't complain about that attitude.
With QB Jason Campbell's status with the team up in the air, and the question of how much longer Todd Collins will remain in the NFL, I think it would be wise to look at Hiller.
At 6'5" 230 lbs., he is a big pocket quarterback with a solid arm. But that's not what I like about the guy. He is the 2009 Wuerffel Award Winner, which is awarded to someone who demonstrates exemplary community service with academic and athletic achievement. That is someone who I would like to have in the community and in the locker room.
As far as his on the field play is concerned, he has become considerably better in his decision-making process, something which had plagued him at times. He has the skill set to make all the throws, but may lack the zip needed to be successful.
He is athletic enough to move around in and out of the pocket, but isn't a scrambler. But whatever his flaws may be, he will definitely go over the top and make the effort to get better.
Also, the MAC has been known to produce some solid NFL starters (i.e, Ben Rothlisberger, Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, and Bruce Gradkowski). Maybe not in the first year or two, but down the line he could be a successful NFL quarterback, and I would like to see him on the squad next year.