For the Washington Redskins, the 2011 NFL Draft once again indicated that there is a new regime in DC.
Shanahan and Allen traded back multiple times to add more picks, and to also compensate for previously traded ones. They traded up when necessary to take a player they coveted and carefully evaluated every player available to them when selecting players. The Skins addressed some key positions, and added youth and competition to several others.
Despite having a successful draft, many questions were raised on not drafting one of the most obvious and important positions: quarterback. Due to the handling of the McNabb situation last year, it was evident that the position needed to be addressed. Many thought that would take place in the draft.
When several QBs were available, and none taken, fans questioned the strategy. Despite the confusion, fans are willing to give Shanahan credit considering his track record of developing QBs and installing a culture change.
Only so many positions can be addressed in a single draft. Obviously if more positions need to be considered, the next step is free agency. In the past, big-name free agents were often targeted and offered lucrative contracts that gave fans a yearly reason for a winning culture. Eventually those same free agents showed no return on investment through their declining play, and with it another year was removed from adding youth to an aging football team.
Building on this mentality behind the draft, free agency will be handled in the same manner. Key positions will be addressed with players that will not demand lucrative contracts, fit the schemes Shanahan is installing and have a hard work ethic to spark competition and eagerness to be part of something special in Washington.
The following free agents will address some key positions and their priority to build a competitive roster in 2011 and beyond.