NFL Draft 2011: Redskins Potential First-Round Picks

Mattie CowanContributor IApril 26, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Redskins Potential First-Round Picks

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan watches the action during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 37-25.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Imag
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The Redskins’ first pick has been one of the more intriguing of the draft for fans and foes alike. 

    The team has garnered a lot of press last year with the quarterback controversy, Albert Haynesworth troubles, difficulties adjusting to the 3-4 and Mike Shanahan’s coaching style, and the humiliating historic loss to Michael Vick and the Eagles

    The Redskins also have many glaring needs all over the field, and with the tenth pick, they will have several viable options. Predicting the ultimate choice will be challenging, but speculation has revolved around a shrinking handful of players. 

    These potential picks are listed below, from least likely to most likely to be chosen.

Jake Locker

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    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Injured quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies watches the action from the bench in the third quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the g
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Taking a quarterback in the first round would be an unwise choice, considering the relative talent elsewhere that the Redskins would be passing up. 

    Still, some say that the Redskins are eyeing QB Jake Locker.  He lacks the flash and pomp of Cam Newton, but has a strong arm, is capable of moving out of the pocket and throwing accurately on the run, and is all-around a solid quarterback.

    It would be better for the Redskins to take a quarterback like Locker, who is dedicated to the sport and willing to work on the fundamentals, than one who appears to only desire money and fame but not willing to put the work in.

    In terms of skills, Jake Locker does not look all that different from Donovan McNabb, who is also athletic, a hard-worker and known for his big arm. Why they would take him as their first-round pick, when they already have a Pro Bowl QB with similar skills on the team is beyond me. 

    If I were Shanahan, I would give McNabb another chance and spend my pick on a defensive player.  But of course, I’m not Shanahan. There have also been questions about Locker’s commitment to football, as he was also allegedly looking into a baseball career. 

    If this is true, then the Redskins should avoid him at all costs.

Robert Quinn

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    Wanted: Capable Pass Rushers
    Wanted: Capable Pass RushersRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Robert Quinn is one of several players in the solid DE draft class that could fill in for the Redskins at OLB. 

    He is athletic and explosive, though will need some work adjusting to play in the NFL.

    His performance at the Combine was impressive, and though he did not play last season, scouts saw great athleticism and potential during his workouts. 

    With all this upside, he could be a good choice for the Redskins, who could use someone with his physical tools to help improve their pass defense.

Aldon Smith

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    COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 23: Aldon Smith #85 of the Missouri Tigers in action against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbia, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Image
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Aldon Smith is another promising defensive player at the top of a talented draft pool.

    Several draft-ranking magazines and websites have put Aldon Smith before Cameron Jordan in the DE/OLB category.  Both are great players, and both seem to be well-suited for the Redskins. 

    For me, Cameron Jordan has a slight advantage because he has more experience, and also because he is known for his versatility and ability to play in the 3-4. 

    Aldon Smith has also suffered from some injuries.  Still, Aldon Smith looks like an excellent pass rusher, with long arms and an athletic build. 

    With all his athletic abilities, he seems capable of succeeding in a 3-4.  The Redskins could use him at OLB.

Cameron Jordan

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29:Defensive lineman Cameron Jordan #97 of the North Team during  the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images for Under Armour)
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Cameron Jordan is my choice for first pick.

    The Redskins should definitely go with a dominating, pass rushing defensive player since their defense fell from upper-middle of the pack to one of the worst in the league when they switched to a 3-4. 

    It is highly unlikely that the extremely talented Von Miller will still be available when they pick, but the Redskins need someone with his exact abilities, and Cameron Jordan is the next best choice. He has played in a 3-4 before and is also an explosive pass rusher with formidable size and speed. 

    His versatility, and his experience in both defensive formations is a huge plus for the Redskins, who have struggled mightily to adapt. 

    He grew up in an NFL family, and seems to possess the smarts and work ethic to become an elite player in the NFL.

Cam Newton

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27:  Cam Newton looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    My greatest hope for this draft is that Cam Newton is taken by the Panthers or the Bengals, so Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen and the gang do not even have the chance pick him. 

    This guy has JaMarcus Russell written all over him. Sure, he has had one flashy breakout season, a Heisman trophy and a good showing at the Combine. But he seems so arrogant and immature that he could be a disaster for the Redskins. 

    Washington has already had problems investing in overpriced, arrogant players who fail to live up to expectations (ahem, Albert Haynesworth), and risking another costly mistake when there are so many other good players on the board would be a disaster.

Julio Jones

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It would be hard for the Redskins not to take Julio Jones if he is still on the board. 

    Jones is the most talented at his position at the top of the WR class along with AJ Green, and could have an immediate positive impact on the Redskins’ offensive play. He is extremely athletic, a good runner and blocker, and is a tough competitor. 

    The Redskins badly need a good WR to help out Santana Moss, who seemed to bobble a lot of balls in 2010. The addition of Julio Jones, one of the better-known names in the draft, would also create a lot of buzz and excitement among the fans. 

    Though I still believe the Redskins should elect a defensive player as their first pick, I would not be disappointed if they went with Julio Jones.

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