It has been hard to predict how the Redskins will use their first-round draft pick, considering that they have so many pressing needs on both sides of the ball.
All the talk has been about the Redskins going for a quarterback in the first round, but I wholeheartedly believe that they should go for a defensive player instead.
Why? First, they are adjusting to the 3-4 scheme and several players on the team have proven themselves either unable or unwilling to contribute meaningfully.
Some of the problematic positions are critical to running a successful 3-4 and lack of leadership at the nose tackle position combined with a lack of depth at outside linebacker has badly hurt the Redskins.
Also, it is understandable that the team had difficulty adjusting to a 3-4, but the Redskins defensive play took an embarrassing nosedive last season. They ranked at the bottom of the charts in almost every category, including 31st in the league in yards allowed.
In my opinion, the Redskin’s best choice for the first-round pick would be an athletic, sharp and capable pass rusher who could fill in at outside linebacker.
Brian Orakpo did a great job last season handling the position, but another talented player would complement him and is needed to truly make the scheme work. Von Miller or Da’Quan Bowers would be the obvious choices, but is highly unlikely that either will still be available once the Redskins get to pick.
I, therefore, think that the Redskins should go with Cameron Jordan.
He is known as a versatile player, is very athletic and has played the 3-4 before. It would be valuable for the Redskins to pick someone who is already somewhat familiar with the 3-4, as he would have less of a learning curve coming to the NFL. Glowing reports from the combine mention his large hands, quickness and agility.
He also appears to have a strong work ethic, and is actually the son of a former NFL player for the Vikings. With several of the teams picking before the Redskins rumored to want quarterbacks, there is a high chance that Cameron Jordan will still be available for the 10th pick.
Anything can happen this draft, and there are many other quality players that could fill some of the many holes on the Redskins.
Still, my dream for the 2011 draft would be the Redskins taking Cameron Jordan and then QB Colin Kaepernick, who I argued for earlier, for their second pick. This would help shore up their defense and get a capable quarterback in the pipeline while McNabb finishes out another year or two.