2010 NFL Draft: Should the Washington Redskins Focus on OL to Help Portis?

Dan ParzychSenior Writer IMarch 4, 2010

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 08:  Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins rushes upfield against Thomas DeCoud #28 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


Last week, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announced that the Washington Redskins will keep running back Clinton Portis around for the 2010 season, despite the numerous rumors about his possible release.

He will enter his seventh season with the team after playing just eight games in 2009 due to injuries.

Portis missed four games following a concussion in Week Nine, before being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season for safety reasons. His concussion suffered against the Atlanta Falcons was so bad, that doctors feared that Portis' condition could become worse if he took another severe hit.

Many wondered whether Portis would return to the Redskins after the 2009 season. Not only was his season cut short by the concussion, but there were also a number of issues off the field that could have influenced team owner, Daniel Snyder, to part ways with him.

Instead, Portis looks to bounce back and help a Washington team that averaged just 94.4 yards per game on the ground, ranking them 27th amongst other teams. It's no secret how much the running game needs improvement, considering Portis led all rushers last season with 494 yards despite playing in just eight games.

Of course, no running game is as successful without the help of a strong offensive line, which is another area the Redskins should focus on in the upcoming draft. As tempting as it may be to take a shot on a quarterback in the first round, like Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, it may be in the team's best interest to select an offensive lineman.

Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis and Oklahoma State's Russell Okung are two names who could land with the Redskins at the No. 4 pick. Both players could see significant time during their rookie season and either player could help pave the way for Portis if drafted by Washington.

From 2007—08, Portis rushed for a combined 2,749 yards and 20 touchdowns, so it's no secret he's an effective threat at running back when healthy. If he's going to be the go-to-guy next season at running back, the Redskins will need a better offensive line than last year—and what better way start than the 2010 NFL Draft?

Dan Parzych Is the Eagles Fan Voice for NFLTouchdown.com.

He is also the founder of the new NFCEastFootball.com.