The parlor game sweeping the DMV this month involves trying to figure out which prospect possibly available with the 21st pick best defines Scot McCloughan's definition of "football player."When asked during a recent interview whether he knew which player he wanted at 21, the Redskins general manager said, "Yeah, I think. Hopefully he's not gone. But I'm adding the same kind of guy. Toughness, smarts, competitiveness, team. The whole thing."
McCloughan pulled back on the notion of one prospect rising above all others when he was asked about the pick Monday during his pre-draft press conference at Redskins Park.
“Hopefully we’ve got a couple of them," said the chuckling GM. "But yeah, it’s a strong draft, it really is on both sides of the ball. Of course I’m not going to say names or anything like that. ... I’ll take the lesser height/weight/speed guy for the more consistent football player, that you know exactly character-wise, toughness, competitiveness that they bring to the Redskins.”
The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Some run-stuffing lineman or red-zone threatening receiver or heat-seekng missle of a safety or edge rusher or an interior offensive lineman or inside linebacker has likely caught McCloughan's heart. The GM is also right when he says there will be options.
That's not just a matter of math as the Redskins have the 21st opportunity to select one hundreds of prospects. It's a case of Washington being in position to legitimately add just about anything other than a tight end, offensive tackle, starting quarterback and probably cornerback and help if not improve the current situaton. It's a case of quality options at those need positions being worthy of selection in that range.
So many choices could lead some to paralysis by overanalysis. So many choices makes pinning down which player McCloughan will pick at 21 a confounding task. Here's a sample of prominent mock drafters and who they have going to the Redskins.
Peter King, MMQB.com: Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Rob Rang, CBSsports.com, Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
Charley Casserly, NFL.com: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Charles Davis, NFL.com: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Mel Kipeer Jr., ESPN, Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Walter Cherepsky, WalterFootball.com: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, DL Robert Nkemdiche
The primary similarities among these picks? Defensive line and the University of Alabama. There are other mocks out there that match the a prospect or three selected here. The larger point is that even with the low odds of correctly projecting any pick this deep into round one, the odds this year are even lower. There is indeed more than one viable option at 21. That's perhaps the biggest reason for a trade down and not just because that's a standard default option when pondering the draft.
That's a good thing because what McCloughan also said during the run up the draft is that he'd like 12 picks this year. Washington doesn't have to trade out of the first round to achieve that goal. Based on the amount of options, it seems rather clear moving back a bit isn't a bad idea. Unless of course McCloughan gets his one true love.