For months, the Washington Redskins have been linked to most of the quarterback prospects in the 2011 NFL draft class. It has seemed in recent weeks that the interest of picking a quarterback with their first-round pick at No. 10 overall has diminished. Signs were shifting to the team addressing another need with that pick, such as defensive end or wide receiver.
The second round looked to be the place that the Skins would look to pick their new signal-caller. In the past few days, sentiment has shifted back to the possibility of a quarterback in the first round.
There have even been some rumblings that the Skins are sniffing around in Denver and Buffalo about the possibility of moving up into the first three picks to select Blaine Gabbert out of Missouri.
This time of the year, teams throughout the league try to hide their actual intentions. They are hoping the guy they have targeted will fall into their lap. If they see that is not going to happen, then the team has to decide if they like their target enough to give up other assets and trade up to get him.
The Skins don't have the luxury of the draft picks needed in the 2011 draft to do so. They do however have a full complement of picks in the 2012 draft and and extra fourth-round pick collected in the Jason Campbell deal with Oakland.
If the Redskins like Gabbert enough, it would not be shocking to see them use some of the 2012 picks to go up and get him.
As for the first-round pick, I still think at this point the Redskins will go in another direction unless Gabbert falls to them at 10. I feel that possibility is better than most think.
I don't think the Bills will take a quarterback unless it is Newton. He would generate buzz and sell tickets, which I don't feel Gabbert would do. I feel the Cardinals will not draft a young field general in the first round, but rather they will wait until free agency opens again and obtain a veteran quarterback.
If Tennessee does not select Gabbert, he would fall into the Skins lap. That scenario would be the dawn of a great draft for the Redskins. They would get their franchise quarterback and still keep their full complement of draft picks and other trade-worthy assets.
I think the Skins will gamble and wait until the second round to choose their next franchise quarterback. There are numerous possibilities that could be available when the Skins choose in round two.
That group could include Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick. The problem with waiting is that teams could fall in love with these guys and trade back up into the late first round or use early second-round picks to select them, leaving the Skins out in the cold.
In the end, I feel the only guy who could slip into the thoughts of the Skins at 10 other than Gabbert is Jake Locker. He appears to be the kind of guy Mike Shanahan really wants to run his offense, with his ability to throw on the run during bootlegs and roll outs.
Otherwise, expect the Skins to go in another direction with pick No. 10 and attack the quarterback need with their second-round pick.