I begun the morning planning to write a long diatribe about Redskins owner Dan Snyder's latest public relations snafu and why he was such an idiot in the extreme, but I have a feeling that will be talked about ad naseum.
So I decided to do what I always do when the Redskins inevitably make me cringe with one of their weird public relations mistakes; it's time for another Redskins Mock Draft!
I've done two of these now, but as time ticks ever closer to the Combine and to the draft, there's always time to contemplate the moves, the feedback, and the realities of what could and couldn't happen in the draft.
The closer it gets to actually draft time, the more refined I want to be when it comes to who will and won't be in the burgundy and gold next season. With that said, let's take a look at who moved up, who fell down, and who will be a surprise selection in the Redskins 2011 NFL Draft.
Note: This is all BEST CASE SCENARIOS. The odds of the Redskins somehow being able to swing thirteen draft picks lie somewhere between slim and none. This is why I am not a general manager.
The Cardinals need to find Larry Fitzgerald a quarterback, and while John Skelton looked okay(ish) at the beginning at the end of the season, Max Hall did not, and Derek Anderson can't be trusted to start an entire season.
With Fitzgerald's contract coming up soon, and with the team lacking true lockerroom leaders, and with the Titans losing Jeff Fisher, that leaves the Cards with the most to gain by trading for Donovan McNabb. The NFC West is ripe for the taking. With the Rams still in rebuilding mode, the San Francisco 49ers trying to get a new start, and Matt Hasselbeck continuing to age, it won't take a lot to win the division.
With Donovan, the chance to get back into the playoffs and make a run is very real. So, the Cardinals will chose to eat the cost of McNabb's contract and trade a third and fourth round pick, essentially giving the 'Skins the picks to spent to get Donovan back.
Note: Trading Donovan to the Cards for anything is a best case scenario. The huge costs of Donovan's contract, plus a bad year of play, makes it likely that teams will either low ball the Redskins on trade offers, in the hopes than head coach Mike Shanahan will take the beat to get read of him, or, they'll wait for Donovan to get released from the football team and sign him for much, much cheaper.
But, let's just say I'm using my imagination, for the sake of argument.
With the addition of Josh McDaniels as the team's offensive coordinator, now more than ever, the St. Louis needs offensive weapons who can catch the football. Fred Davis is that guy. The Redskins simply won't want to part with Chris Cooley anytime soon, leaving Fred Davis with one of the guys who has the most trade value on the team.
The 'Skins will part with the gifted tight end after milking the Rams for a third and fourth round pick.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, Andre Carter finds himself as one of the Redskins players in a very odd position. Carter is just not meant to play outside linebacker, and each time he's been moved back to his natural position of defensive end (in a 4-3 set), he's dominated at the position.
The Denver Broncos recently hired former Panthers head coach and defensive minded coach John Fox. With that, the Broncos will likely move back to a 4-3 defense, which affords the Redskins the very nice possibility of trading Andre Carter to a team where he can play the position he was meant to play.
The Redskins trade the very talented but misused defensive end to the Broncos for a fourth round draft pick, so he can play in a system that suits his talents.
I've long advocated that the Redskins should trade out of the first round altogether; the number ten pick is good and bad. On the one hand, you get your shot at a top tier talent; on the other, that talent may not fit a huge need on your football team, and you have to pay them top ten money.
This would be an issue of taking the best available talent on the board over taking what you actually need to draft. The Redskins can't afford to take the "best available" anything; they need to start drafting for need, sooner rather than later.
That said, they won't draft out of the first round altogether. Instead, they'll trade down, from the 10th pick overall to the 15th, trading with the Miami Dolphins.
This will allow the Dolphins to move up and draft Cam Newton. In doing so, they will finally quell all the rumors than the Redskins will draft him. By nature of the Dolphins doing it instead.
The Dolphins will have to give up their third round draft pick in order to do so, moving the Redskins into a position where they can get much more value for their picks.
Mike Pouncey, center/guard from the University of Florida.
The only difference between this mock and the last one I did is that Pouncey gets picked in the first round instead of the second. The Redskins interior offensive line is still abysmal, and the Redskins should be looking to do everything humanly possible to improve during the draft. While there are certainly interesting options in free agency, the 'Skins also need to add a young guy to their fold, to grow along side left tackle Trent Williams, and the guy who will (likely) become the Redskins center, Kory Lichensteiger.
Pouncey isn't his brother, and is better suited to play guard than center, but having someone that is versatile never heard anyone. He still is solid in pass protection and maybe better in run blocking, which is a big part Mike Shanahan's offense.
The 'Skins need offensive line help regardless of anything else you've heard. Until the address the offensive line, everything else they do is pretty much pointless.
Muhammed Wilkerson, defensive tackle from Temple University.
John Moffitt gets bumped down in favor of Wilkerson in this version of the mock, as the Redskins make two big moves to solidify both of their lines. While the offensive line shares a big part of the blame for some of the Redskins short comings this season, just as bad was the Redskins defensive line. The nose tackle position has to be fixed if the 'Skins are going to go anywhere with the 3-4 defense.
The nose position is what allows the whole 3-4 to work, absorbing blocks and allowing the linebackers to apply pressure and get to the quarterback. Wilkerson is coming off a ten sack season at the nose position and seems to be poised to become a beast in the NFL.
There are some interesting options in free agency, but I'd rather the 'Skins build the defense from within. The one thing the 'Skins have had luck with in recent ears is with their defensive picks, and Wilkerson could (hopefully) continue that trend.
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback from the University of Nevada.
Really, all of the late round quarterback's whose names are being talked about would be good all around choices for the Redskins. Though they are all projects in their own way, each of them has their own set of intangibles that makes them different.
For my money, one of the quarterback's who showed he had some big time potential and upside was Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick had a great showing during the Senior Bowl and in practice, and the rumors are that Redskins scouts were all over Kaepernick, scouting him to potentially be the next guy.
To be perfectly honest, I think I like all the late round quarterback prospects---that is Kaepernick, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton and FSU quarterback Christian Ponder---more than I like many of the names that are being talked about as being first round picks.
They all have there quirks; Andy Dalton and Kaepernick both bring a lack of experience in pro style offenses and coming out of center. Ponder had some questionable decision making and durability issues. All three are considered bigger project quarterbacks than anyone else. But all three of them bring more upside (in my opinion) than names like Cam Newton, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett.
Kaepernick wins the day because he displayed accuracy while throwing in the pocket, has excellent mobility, and has a cannon for an arm. His delivery is a little long, but this isn't because of mechanical issues like Tim Tebow; Kaepernick has 34 inch arms. For point of reference, that's about as long as your average offensive linemen. Kaepernick's mechanics are solid, and his long delivery can't really be helped, seeing as though it's his body type.
Kaepernick won't be able to start right away, but, provided everything checks out and he's ready to go to work, he could be come a very good prospect on the next level.
Note: As I said before, this is not a knock on Dalton or Ponder; if I were in charge of the drafting, I would have a hard time choosing between the three. Dalton was my third round pick in my second mock, and I could still see him landing in the burgundy and gold. It's the same thing with Ponder. So, don't take this as a knock on those guys; I like all three quarterback's, and my hope is that one of them is flying the Redskins logo next season.
Christian Ballard, defensive tackle from the University of Iowa.
Just like I said before, the Redskins need all sorts of help on their defensive line. While Adam Carriker and Jeremy Jarmon got better as the season went on at the defensive end position, just as always, the Redskins need to continue improving their defensive line, and Christian Ballard (provided he's still available at this point) is a great five-technique prospect.
Ballard racked up 3 sacks in 2010 after coming off a 5 sacks season in 2009. He's a solid, wrap up tackler (be prepared for me to mention tackling a lot, the Redskins aren't great at it) who moves well and can penetrate and get to the quarterback. If he works on his strength a bit, the defensive end position for the Redskins could finally come together, and the 3-4 defense could continue to develop and grow.
Leonard Hankerson, wide receiver from the University of Miami.
I'm not a huge believe in the Redskins taking a wide receiver early, but if he's left hanging around into the third round (his stock could rise after a solid Senior Bowl performance and after the combine), Shanahan could potentially miss out his next Brandon Marshall. Maybe that's all tall order, but Hankerson could be a hidden gem at wide receiver, and if there is one thing Coach Shanahan is good at, it's picking up hidden gems.
Hankerson is coming off a 1,156 yard, 13 touchdown season for the U, despite mediocre play from the quarterback position. Hankerson was the most reliable weapon of all the quarterbacks who were on the South team at the Senior Bowl, who proved himself to be a solid route runner with incredibly good hands (the first catch he caught from Ponder was a deep one that most of the Redskins wide outs would've dropped, honestly).
The 'Skins need a true number receiver, but with all the uncertainty of the CBA, it seems most teams are preparing to franchise tag their wide receivers to keep them from hitting the market. That means the Redskins will need to hope Malcolm Kelly turns into someone reliable, or that there's a wide receiver worth of a draft pick.
Hankerson seems to be that guy. And hey, that other wide receiver we got from the U hasn't done too shabby for us, has he?
Jaiquawn Jarrett, free safety from Temple University.
If I've said it once, I've set it a thousand times before--the Redskins desperately need a free safety. Kareem Moore is not the option. Kevin Barnes (a cornerback) actually performed well at the position and could be asked to put on weight to be better prepared for the position, but if that doesn't work out, the Redskins need a contigency plan, and I like what I've seen from Jarrett.
Great against the run and solid (but still in need of some work) against the pass, Jarrett has great upside. He has great instincts and is a good hitter and solid tackler. He may not need be a ball hawk (yet), but the 'Skins need a solid upgrade at the position, and Jarrett has the upside to be that guy in a 3-4 scheme.
Dontay Moch, defensive end/outside linebacker from the University of Nevada.
When it comes to pass rushing outside linebacker, I'm of the opinion that the Redskins problems on defense weren't entirely because of a lack of a pass rush. The defensive line simply didn't absorb enough blocks to let the outside linebackers and inside linebackers do anything of consequence. Still, the 'Skins would do well to add another pass rusher, and if they did trade away Andre Carter, they'll be an OLB down. While Lorenzo Alexander played decently enough (better than Carter at least), and Rob Jackson looked impressive in his limited playing time, the Redskins will still need, at the very least, to add depth at the position.
Dontay Moch plays 4-3 defensive end right now, but his combination of athleticism and speed make him a much better prospect at outside linebacker. He racked up an impressive 9 sack season this year, and is a good prospect to develop into a book end pass rusher opposite Brian Orakpo.
Mike Shanahan loves competition, and adding another young prospect into the fold would certainly encourage competition amongst Alexander and Jackson if they want to hop into the starting line-up.
Justin Boren, offensive guard from THE Ohio State University.
The 'Skins continue to improve one of their lines, this time on the offensive line. With John Moffitt probably off the board at this point, the 'Skins will be looking for another offensive guard. While Will Montgomery has done well in his time as a starter, he actually seems be a better center than guard; yet another interesting story for 'Skins fans that will be going into training camp wondering whether Casey Rabach, Kory Lichensteiger or Montgomery will take over that position.
To continue to add depth and add youth to the offensive line, the 'Skins will pick up Justin Boren. Boren has been a solid starter in his time at OSU. He needs a little bit of work with his hands on the next level, but he gets a nice snap off the ball and won't be bullied by opposing offensive linemen. If the 'Skins can get the situation with the center settled, the 'Skins could get a lot younger, and likely, a lot better.
Charles Clay, fullback/running back/tight end from the University of Tulsa.
Mike Sellers has been a force in the Redskins offense since he was bought to the team, but as time usually dictates for fullbacks, Sellers is getting older. He hasn't been able to pound any footballs in between the tackles in short yardage situations to get in the end zone, and he has flat out run the wrong route at least twice, leading to costly interceptions.
Though Sellers still has a little bit of gas left in the tank in terms of blocking, the Redskins would be wise to find a fullback to replace him. No one has seen enough of Darrel Young to know if he will be successful at the position. Charles Clay may be too good a prospect to pass up.
Clay is an exciting prospect because of his versatility. At Tulsa, he did everything. They split him out at wide receiver. They used him at tight end. They used him at all three backfield positions; halfback, tailback and fullback. He can catch it out of the backfield, block as good as anyone, and has the speed to run the ball as well.
Clay reminds me of Peyton Hillis, another fullback that Mike Shanahan drafted that came out of nowhere to become a dominant back in the league.
Like I always say; Mike Shanahan knows running backs. If he knows him like I think he does, it'd be silly to pass up a guy like Charles Clay.
Ryan Whalen, wide receiver from Stanford University.
Just as much of a problem for the Redskins as not having a tall, physical wide receiving threat, is the problem of not having a solid, chain moving wide receiver that can keep drives alive, along with being a red zone threat. Having lots of fast guys is great, having a tall, jump ball guy is great, but if you don't have a chain mover, you don't have a whole lot.
Whalen isn't going to blow people away with 40 times and spectacular one handed catches, but as the Redskins continue to upgrade their offensive weapons, they need a solid, chain moving receiving threat. Whalen has the potential to be that guy, as the Redskins seek to improve their receiving core.
Dan Bailey, kicker from Oklahoma State.
I really, really want to like Graham Gano. He seems like a good guy and a guy who has the potential...but six out of the ten games the Redskins lost, they lost by four points or fewer. That margin is even more magnified when you think about all the makeable field goals he's missed. Think back to the Tampa Bay game and how many field goals he missed there. If he makes those field goals, the Redskins don't even need a last ditch fourth quarter comeback blown by a botched snap. They would've won.
Mike Shanahan might not be willing to give up on Gano yet (even David Akers and Adam Vinateri sucked in their first couple years in the league), but he would do well to have a back-up plan. After all, Shanahan likes players to compete for positions; why not have a competition at kicker?
Dan Bailey only missed 4 field goals at Oklahoma State and only missed two extra points, and has enough leg to make the long field goals. If he can keep his composure over Gano, that would set the 'Skins up to finally have a kicker they don't have to hold their breath over every time the special teams takes field.
Derrick Locke, running back from the University of Kentucky.
*This is the Redskins undisclosed draft pick from trading Justin Tryon to Indianapolis.
In a lot of ways, the Redskins need another running back like Mike Shanahan needs to have another press conference about Donovan McNabb's cardiovascular conditioning. The Redskins will carry seven running back's going into training camp this year (provided Clinton Portis stays with the team), and the law of averages suggest that at least one of them should have the ability to start for the Redskins.
But, Mike knowns running backs, and I think he'll like what he sees in Derrick Locke. At 5'9" and 190 pounds, Locke fits the mold of a change of pace third down back, who actually showed some pretty good blocking ability in the Senior Bowl. Locke has good field vision and makes great cuts, and can make people miss in space with the speed to take it to the house.
It seems unlikely that the Redskins will exit the draft without at least one running back, and the 'Skins could do a lot worse than this speedy running back.
Jeffery Anderson, tight end from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
If the Redskins deal Fred Davis to another football team, that means the 'Skins will have to replace him. Anderson doesn't get a whole lot of love playing at little UAB, but he (like Davis) has excellent hands, can gets lots of YAC and is a good red zone threat. His blocking needs a little work (as did Davis'), but he's a solid tight end threat that can be good in the passing game.
If history is any indicator, Shanahan tends to hit big on his late round prospects. Anderson could definitely end up being that guy.
1st Round Pick: Guard/Center Mike Pouncey
2nd Round Pick: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Muhammed Wilkerson
3rd Round Pick: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick
3rd Round Pick: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Christian Ballard
3rd Round Pick: Wide Receiver Leonard Hankerson
4th Round Pick: Free Safety Jaquawn Jarrett
4th Round Pick: Defensive End/Outside Linebacker Dontay Mock
4th Round Pick: Offensive Guard Justin Boren
5th Round Pick: Fullback Charles Clay
5th Round Pick: Wide Receiver Ryan Whalen
6th Round Pick: Kicker Dan Bailey
6th Round Pick: Running Back Derrick Locke
7th Round Pick: Tight End Jeffery Anderson