2011 NFL Draft: Five Players the Washington Redskins Must Avoid on Draft Day
General manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan hold the 10th overall pick and eight total picks in this year's draft, giving them access to many viable options who could help pull the Redskins out of the NFC East's cellar.
The question is: Will these potential saviors even become Redskins, or fall through the cracks to other teams?
With so many team needs, Allen and Shanahan have little room for error if they want to compete with the likes of their divisional foes. They not only have to draft tremendous players, but draft the ones that fit the strongest needs at the most appropriate stages of the draft.
That said, if the Redskins want to find the right guys, here are five players that they will absolutely have to avoid on draft weekend.
1. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
I know what the mock drafts say, and I know that the Redskins will have a difficult time passing on Julio Jones should he fall into their laps at No. 10.
But they'll have to pass-up temptation should this opportunity arise.
Jones' elite combination of size and speed give him the tools to be a top-tier wideout, and the Redskins certainly could stand to improve their receiving corps.
But in the first-round, where Jones will likely be available, the Redskins need to address their defense, which is the most glaring need on a long offseason to-do list.
There is no shortage of productive receivers in this year's draft, and if the front office does their job at assessing talent, they should be able to snag a capable receiver in later rounds, as history indicates.
That pick may not reach superstar status, but given the circumstances, the Redskins would be wise to opt for someone who can routinely be relied on to move the chains.
As far as the 10th pick goes? They'd be wise to trade down, or invest in a defensive end, perhaps a Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan, or Aldon Smith.
But not the guy on this next slide...
2. Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Da'Quan Bowers soared up draft boards in January and February, as teams were enamored with his athleticism and versatility. Pure pass-rushers are rare commodities in the NFL, so it was not unforeseeable to witness Bowers' ascent into the top 5 of most early mocks.
That all changed, however, when he turned murmurs of injury concerns into shouts at his pro-day workout, entirely failing to display his once-touted burst. Bowers, in wake of arthroscopic knee surgery, looked sluggish in drills and ran a pedestrian 4.94 40-yard-dash.
This red-flag piled onto previous concerns he carried as well, including just one dominant season during his tenure at Clemson.
Bowers has spectacular game footage which is well-documented, but has an alarmingly lengthy bad-reel to counter it. It was not uncommon to see Bowers give-up on plays, which will not be tolerated by Mike Shanahan after having to put up with the Albert Haynesworth fiasco a season ago.
The position of defensive end is a dire need for the Redskins, a team still smoothing the transition to the 3-4 defense. The bad news is, Bowers at his best would better suit a 4-3 front.
The good news, however, is there are plenty of other potentially phenomenal defensive ends in the first and later rounds. If Shanahan and Allen play their cards right, they could have a dominant corner-piece for years to come.
3. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
So many teams are in need of a signal-caller this offseason, which is about the only explanation I can provide for Kaepernick's stock taking a late boom in value.
Kaepernick has a cannon for an arm and holds the fastest 40 time at the combine among quarterbacks, which is all well and good. But how does he truly fare as a passer?
At first glance, not that badly. He boasted high-completion percentages and low interception totals in his four years at Nevada.
The cause for concern, however, is that he's done it against a consistently cream-puff schedule, and suffered a major drop-off in completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio against teams with a winning record.
He's also raised as much concern as praise regarding his physical tools. Despite being swift and strong, Kaepernick lacks a quick release and his deep-throw accuracy has drawn criticism. The absence of those aspects should raise great concern among scouts because these are not easily-correctable mechanical flaws.
History has shown us that true passers have had better success as quarterbacks than true athletes. Andy Dalton, Ricky Stanzi and Christian Ponder all lack the athleticism Kaepernick possesses, but would be safer options in the second-round.
4. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
To be fair, Amukamara would serve as a fantastic counterpart to DeAngelo Hall across the field—it just wouldn't make sense to bolster a secondary at the expense of leaving a vulnerable front seven unaddressed, especially with the amount of talent available in the first round.
It's a similar mindset that keeps a player like Patrick Peterson out of the top spot of the draft. Peterson is an elite talent, and could very well be the surest pick in the draft.
But the Panthers, despite having a great need at the position, will likely not spend top-dollar on an athlete who can simply be thrown away from. The Redskins need to follow suit and take a player at No. 10 who can be a dominating threat every time the ball is snapped.
The defense needs to establish an identity, as well as a core. Drafting Amukamara would be like building a house without laying the foundation first.
5. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Ah, yes. Another mobile quarterback with a huge arm. A match made in Heaven, right?
Mobility is not something that should be frowned upon—it should just never overshadow poor passing ability. There have been plenty of successful NFL quarterbacks who were fleet-footed in college, but people overlook how well they passed the ball.
Locker has posted one of the worst completion percentages among the other quarterback prospects in this year's draft, failing to cross the crucial 60 percent plateau in all of his four seasons. Locker's big arm will be rendered moot without the ability to pass accurately, which stands as a massive warning sign.
Locker did log a respectable 17-9 touchdown to interception ratio, but nine of those touchdowns came in two games against Oregon State and Syracuse.
Take away those two outliers, and you have a very average TD to INT ratio of 8-8 over nine games, hardly justifying an elite draft stock.
The Redskins have not had a dependable quarterback since Mark Brunell, and will continue to be without one if they fall for the temptation Locker provides.