2011 NFL Mock Draft: Can Andy Dalton Be the Next Great Washington Redskins QB?
The regular season has ended, and the Redskins will not be in the playoffs. At Redskins Park, the coaches and staff of the Washington Redskins are hard at work, reviewing film, evaluating players and seeing what holes they can fill in the draft and what holes they can fill through free agency.
Of certain things, the Redskins can be clear—even if they can't get a front line, immediate starter, the Redskins still need to draft a quarterback. While Rex Grossman can be a short-term solution, the 'Skins have to think long term.
They also know that they have holes everywhere. At wide receiver, along the offensive line, along the defensive line and the back half of the defense even, there's a lot of holes to fill. Still, they may be in a better position to improve the team than they have been in a long, long time, and they have better talent evaluators than owner Dan Snyder and former general manager Vinny Cerrato.
I already mocked the Redskins draft once, but that was without knowing the draft order, and without knowing exactly all the needs the Redskins were going to have to fill.
Keep in mind this is purely for fun, and some of these scenarios are exactly why I'll never be a general manager or a draft guru. Also, the number for the picks might be a tiny bit off here or there.
With that in mind, it's time to take a mock look at what the Redskins could do to improve their football team in the future.
The Redskins Trade Out of the First Round
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As I wrote before, there's only one quarterback in the draft that Mike Shanahan really wants, and that's Stanford's Andrew Luck. But given the uncertainty of the NFL's labor situation, Luck, along with other underclassmen quarterbacks, may chose to stay in school for another year. Even if Luck does declare, the Redskins would have to mortgage a great deal of their future to get him.
With so many holes to fill, this is not a good option for the Redskins.
So, the Redskins will trade down in the draft. The Redskins will trade their first round draft choice away to New England to get a chance at New England's extra second and third round picks. This leave the Redskins with two second round picks, and gives them back the third round pick they spend to bring Donovan McNabb back to the fold.
The Redskins Ship Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth to Tennessee
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It'll come as a shock to absolutely no one that the Redskins will be looking to ship off both Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth over the offseason.
The true shock will be that they'll both be traded to the same team—the Titans.
With Vince Young shipping out of Tennessee and in a poor position to draft a quarterback of the future, and having expressed interest in bringing back the disposed defensive tackle this season, the Titans will make a move to bring both a veteran presence and one of their most destructive forces back into the fold.
The Redskins will be able to corral a third round, fourth round, fifth round and a future pick (maybe a conditional pick) for the tandem.
Haynesworth's biggest joy in life was playing for the Titans, apparently (even though he left when they wouldn't pay up), so he can be happy making some other coach and fanbase miserable.
Meanwhile, McNabb is younger than Kerry Collins, and provides a great stop gap measure while the Titans either try to develop Rusty Smith into a starter, or find another quarterback to develop in the draft. It's the kind of offense Donovan loves; it utilizes a lot of screen passes, a strong running game with Chris Johnson coming out of the backfield and lots and LOTS of deep passing.
It's the perfect marriage, and provides the Redskins with more draft picks to further develop their football team.
Fred Davis Gets Traded to the St. Louis Rams
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On any other football team, Fred Davis would be a regular starter and full-time contributor on offense.
Unfortunately, Fred Davis had the misfortune of being drafted when the Redskins already had Chris Cooley. Despite a breakout 2009 season, Davis' chances on offense haven't been much. He still made big plays at the right times for the offense and has made the most of his opportunities, but he's unlikely to usurp Cooley for more playing time. If undrafted free agent Logan Paulsen continues to develop into a big time player, Davis' opportunities may become less.
That's why the Redskins trade away Fred Davis to the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams definitely have a great young quarterback in Sam Bradford to lead them into the future, but they will be looking to surround Bradford with more offensive talent in this draft. While Daniel Fells is a serviceable tight end, he's a better blocker than a receiver, which would be right up Davis' ally. He could be a front line starter on a young football team that's hungry for football players.
If you asked any Redskins fan (including me), Davis' upside is worth at least a third round pick. The Rams won't see it quite that way though, and will offer their fourth and fifth round picks.
The Redskins will bite, and the talented tight end (who would be sorely missed by fans) would trade in the burgundy for the blue.
With the 33rd Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Mike Pouncey, guard from the University of Flordia.
I know, I know. Everyone expects the Steelers to draft him. His brother plays for the Steelers. It would be so perfect that the twin brothers would be on the same team.
Unfortunately for Steelers fans, Mike Tomlin is interested in football decisions, and not family decisions.
It's not unlikely that Pouncey could fall into the second round if the Steelers pass on him. While he is solid at guard, Pouncey's senior campaign at center hasn't been quite as successful, which may adversely affect his draft stock. If Pouncey falls, the Redskins will snap him right up.
Pouncey gets a good push off the line and can be a force in the Shanahan's zone blocking scheme. The Redskins need guards in the worst way, and Pouncey has a great upside on a line that needs youth and talent at the guard positions.
With the 54th Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...John Moffitt, offensive guard from the University of Wisconsin.
No change here; the Redskins need to draft offensive linemen, and Moffitt is still worth a second round pick for the 'Skins. Kory Lichensteiger and Will Montgomery improved and tightened up towards the end of the season, but still tend to get pushed back and dominated, and both of them are likely better as depth backs up than they are as frontline starters in the NFL.
Part of what made the Hogs of the 80's and 90's so successful was that they were all drafted or signed at the same time, came up together and gelled together better and better over time. This should be the 2010 Washington Redskins' goal. Not to recreate the Hogs necessarily (though that would be awesome), but to put a group of young, talented players together and have them grow together as in offensive line.
Moffitt might need a little bit of help in his pass protection, but with development, he'd still be better than either current starter.
With two young offensive guards with lots of potential and upside, the Redskins could have their second coming of the Hogs after all...
With the 62nd Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Andy Dalton, quarterback from Texas Christian University.
The thought that Rex Grossman could possibly start for the Redskins next season still horrifies people. Despite looking solid at times under center, Rex isn't likely to be a long-term solution to the Redskins' quarterback woes, nor is John Beck.
The Redskins need a developmental prospect who, while not being able to start right away, can learn the offense and who can possibly start if Rex were to get injured or if he struggled. Coach Shanahan has shown before that he is not afraid to put the rookie in if the quarterback isn't succeeding.
Dalton has a lot of upside and seems to have all the intangibles. He led the TCU Horned Frogs to what some consider an upset victory in the Rose Bowl, and has the mobility, arm and accuracy coach Shanahan would be looking for. He might not be a frontline starter, but after sometime in the offense, it seems likely he could succeed, and he would likely be given the opportunity to compete for the starting job regardless.
Dalton could end up being the future in DC. And hey, who am I to argue with Redskins great Joe Theismann?
With the 68th Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
...Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive tackle from Temple University.
The nose tackle position is what makes the 3-4 defense work. A guy has to be able to absorb blocks, then get off those blocks and stuff the run, or work his way into the backfield. While Aubrayo Franklin and Chris Hoke are both available, Wilkerson could grow with the defense, and be used either at nose or at defensive end.
Wilkerson has put together an impressive 2010 campaign that includes having 10 sacks and a forced fumble. If Wilkerson can apply that kind of pressure on the next level, he'd be more than worth a third round pick and could potentially be a draft steal.
With a full-blown youth movement going on, Wilkerson could provide the defense with the anchor that it needs.
With the 96th Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Cliff Matthews, defensive end from South Carolina.
The Redskins are blessed to have gotten Brian Orakpo in 2009, and his transition to a outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense has been a great one. He's generated a lot of pressure, and has either become poison for offensive tackles, or they hold him like a young child holds it's favorite toy.
That say, the Redskins need someone else on the opposite side of the line that can compliment and assist Brian Orakpo in getting pressure. While Lorenzo Alexander has been serviceable, he's better as a depth outside linebacker, and doesn't generate the kind of pressure Rak does.
Cliff Matthews is a defensive end that, like Orakpo, could make the transition to an outside linebacker. He's fast enough and has enough moves to get to the quarterback, and working opposite Orakpo, the Redskins could have a pass rushing nightmare.
With the 102nd Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Jake Kirkpatrick, center from Texas Christian University.
Kirkpatrick actually moves up on my draft board as part of my never-ending crusade to improve the Redskins' offensive line and infuse it with youth. Casey Rabach has been the starting center for a long time, but his time is coming to an end as a starting center, as his technique has gotten worse and he's been getting dinged up a bit more often.
Jake Kirkpatrick has done well in his time playing for the Horned Frogs; he protected Andy Dalton after all. Like the other rookies, he needs a little bit of work on his footing, but he gets great leverage on defensive tackles and provides solid push in the run game.
The Redskins need to draft a center for the future, and Kirkpatrick could be that guy. Pairing him with his college quarterback might not be a bad move either.
With the 127th Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Evan Royster, running back from Penn State University.
Mike Shanahan knows running backs, but it seems unlikely that he'll take one early in the draft. There are too many other holes to cover, and short of Clinton Portis, Shanahan's has seemed to have more luck with running backs in later rounds.
Not to mention that the Redskins are pretty flush with running back talent, with Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, James Davis, Andre Brown and a couple of practice squad running backs.
That said, Royster might be too good for Shanahan to pass up. He has Torain as his back who can make one cut and run. He has Keiland Williams as the third down and "catch it out of the backfield" running back.
In Royster, you have a guy that can do both. He won't dazzle anyone with his speed, but neither did Terrell Davis, and we saw how that worked out. He's the prototypical one cut, hit the hole and run to daylight kind of running back Shanahan loves. He can block in third down situations and catch the ball out of the backfield.
Who knows how far Royster falls, as his senior campaign to become Penn State's all-time leading rusher (a goal he managed to attain by season's end) got off to a shaky start, and his lack of a speed might be seen as a mark against him. But if there's one thing Shanahan's system has proven time and time again is that speed is overrated, sometimes.
With t129th Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Jermale Hines, free safety from THE Ohio State University.
This pick doesn't change; the Redskins need a free safety. Kareem Moore is not going to be that guy, and is another failed product of the 2008 draft class.
Hines is a solid tackler and solid in coverage, which is precisely what the Redskins need. Hines doesn't have to be a Pro Bowler or Ed Reed; all he has to be is consistent and he'll be a massive improvement over what the 'Skins currently have.
Hines is also a hard hitter, which would make the pairing of Hines and strong safety LaRon Landry a feared one. The Redskins secondary was scorched all season due to poor tackling or broken tackles. If Hines can provide even a hint of stability at the position, he'll be greatly appreciated and will wind up being a good value.
With the 143rd Pick of the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Ryan Whalen, wide receiver from Stanford University.
Originally, I had the Redskins drafting wide receiver Julio Jones in the first round, but the Redskins have too many holes to draft a wide receiver that early in the draft, and Jones was a gamble as it was.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos would've been my next choice (and actually made it to a version of this mock draft), but his recent unfortunate run-ins with the law on drug charges put that on the back burner (sorry if you got that version).
The free agency pool at wide receiver is rather deep this season, meaning the Redskins may not have to look to the draft to find a young, jump ball wide receiver; there's a few out there outside the draft.
Instead, what the Redskins need is a solid possession receiver who is a good route runner and seems to have an uncanny ability to catch the football in traffic. Ryan Whalen may not have breakaway speed to burn cornerbacks, but he's a good route runner with good enough size to be a target in the red zone, which is the one thing the Redskins don't have.
With Santana Moss in the slot, Anthony Armstrong as the speedy deep guy, and a free agent like Sidney Rice or Vincent Jackson as the jump ball deep guy, the Redskins could use a solid possession guy with good hands who can occasionally make the big play.
Whalen seems to fit all those characteristics.
With the 159th Pick in the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Colby Whitlock, defensive tackle from Texas Tech.
Jeremy Jarmon and Adam Carriker have looked solid in their playing time at defensive end, but it wouldn't hurt for the Redskins to draft some solid 3-4 depth so they don't run into another situation where they have to patch work a defensive line again (though strangely enough, the patch work solution worked better than anything else).
Colby Whitlock is a solid defensive tackle that could be moved to end. He can tackle (I'm seeing a theme here in my defensive draft selections...) and absorb blocks, and would prove to be a good developmental prospect.
You can never have enough defense, and Whitlock would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins if Jarmon and Carriker don't work out.
With the 172nd Pick in the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
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...Josh Bynes, inside linebacker from Auburn University.
The Redskins received an undisclosed draft pick from the Colts when they traded away cornerback Justin Tryon. For the sake of argument, I'll say that's a sixth round pick, and we'll use that pick to get another guy a picked in my last mock, Josh Bynes.
Rocky McIntosh and London Fletcher have been solid into their playing time, but McIntosh gets a tiny bit lost in coverage sometimes, and neither have typical inside linebacker size (though it doesn't seem to matter as much with Fletcher).
The Redskins drafted Perry Riley last year, and he's looked solid in his playing time, but the Redskins could use more depth as the position if Riley and Henson can't be starters, since McIntosh will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Bynes is a solid tackler (again, noticing the theme) who can also get to the quarterback if need be, and has a little more experience in a 3-4 style defense. Another solid draft choice if there was one.
With the 191st Pick in the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins Select...
...Jeffery Anderson, tight end from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Fred Davis wouldn't be an easy tight end to replace if the Redskins were to trade him away. But with the proper development, Jeffery Anderson could prove to be a good, late round draft pick. He doesn't get a whole lot of a love playing at UAB, but he has put together a solid senior season. Anderson has got good hands and can be a good red zone threat out of two and three tight end sets, and is a solid blocker as well, which is apart of the game that Davis lacked in.
Anderson's a good developmental prospect if nothing else, though if Cooley has any drops, fans will demand he comes off the bench.
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2nd Round Pick: Offensive Guard Mike Pouncey
2nd Round Pick: Offensive Guard John Moffitt
3rd Round Pick: Quarterback Andy Dalton
3rd Round Pick: Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle Muhammad Wilkerson
4th Round Pick: Defensive End/Outside Linebacker Cliff Matthews
4th Round Pick: Center Jake Kirkpatrick
5th Round Pick: Running Back Evan Royster
5th Round Pick: Free Safety Jermale Hines
5th Round Pick: Wide Receiver Ryan Whalen
6th Round Pick: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Colby Whitlock
6th Round Pick: Inside Linebacker Josh Bynes
7th Round Pick: Tight End Jeffery Anderson
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This is, all and all, a far more complete mock draft than the first one I did, and hits far more holes.
It is also more of stretch, but still somewhat more feasible. Saying the Redskins have holes everywhere is a lot like saying "the sky is blue" or "water is wet," but the Redskins should aim to fill as many of those holes as possible.
Will they go straight to the Super Bowl with this draft class? No, probably not. But they're solid building blocks, and that's what the Redskins have had trouble doing—drafting solid building blocks and putting their team in the best possible position to win. It's the kind of draft class that can get Washington a winning record, and maybe even a playoff berth, if it develops and uses the talent the right way.
Super Bowl teams are built, not bought. Looking at teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, or teams like the Packers, Patriots, Ravens and Steelers, there's a reason why those teams are in the playoffs. They drafted well, and added free agents where appropriate.
The Redskins need a jumping-off point for their future. The draft is the best place to do that. A solid draft class would be the first step towards getting that Super Bowl the Redskins so desperately want.
Hopefully Mike Shanahan reads Bleacher Report, then.