The NFL draft takes place in a week from Saturday and the Washington Redskins will be on the clock at pick number 13. They also have picks in the third (80th overall), fifth (150), sixth (186) and a compensatory pick in the seventh (243). The second- and seventh-round picks are vaporware, having gone in trades for Jason Taylor and Erazmus James respectively. The fourth-rounder was used to obtain Pete Kendall.
Those are all the picks they have for right now. There is a lot of talk about trading down to pick up some extra selections as the Redskins did last year. Of course you have to find a partner to do that and in most cases a team won't commit to trading up until the pick that they may want is on the clock to ensure that the player that they covet will be there.
If, say, quarterback Mark Sanchez is on the board at #13, the Redskins' phone could well be ringing off the hook. The Jets need a QB, and they pick at No. 17. They could slide up to get Sanchez and give up their third-round pick to do so.
They could trade out of the first round altogether like they did last year, but that seems unlikely. It would take three second-round picks to get the 13th pick and as of now no other team has the ammo to be able to pull this off.
Another way to gain up additional picks is to trade selections in future years. While I don't think that Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn are on the hot seat to the extent that some do, I wouldn't be shocked to see them pull the trigger and use the team's 2010 first-round pick a year early. The standard formula is that next year's first gets you a second this year and if there is a player that the Redskins want sitting there and a team is willing to deal, they could well do it.
If the Redskins do pick at 13, who will they take? If I had to take a guess right now—and, unlike others, I will admit that this is just a guess—I'd say Alabama tackle Andre Smith. Yes, he blew off the combine, and he appeared to be a fat tub of goo at his pro day. Yes, he was suspended from the Crimson Tide's bowl game for a violation of team rules. However, if he's there he's the best player on the board, hands down. I'll take three years of game film showing a guy who has produced more pancakes than IHOP over the past three years over a couple of months of suspect behavior. Certainly, the Redskins would have to do their homework but in the absence of any red flags prior to February of this year they should pull the trigger.
It appears that more and more teams are starting to look at film of Smith rather than examine his pro day girth, however, and Smith may not be there at 13. Another choice at offensive tackle, Michael Oher of Mississippi, is sliding in the opposite direction so the Redskins may not be able to upgrade the tackle position in the first round. The worst mistake you can make is to reach to fill a need.
Will they take Sanchez? Mel Kiper created an uproar on Redskins message boards by listing the USC product as the Skins' selection at #13. I think that there is about a 10% chance that he is right. You have to look at the fact that Jason Campbell is in the last year of his deal and the recent Jay Cutler pursuit has to make you believe that the Redskins think that they can upgrade the position. While they say that Campbell is their man, I don't think that they'll hesitate to pull the trigger on Sanchez if he's by far the best player on their board.
My dark horse for the pick is running back Knowshon Moreno of Georgia. I think that they have to have someone who can be productive in spelling Clinton Portis, and they need to look beyond the Portis era. If there is no salary cap in 2010, in fact, that era could end sooner rather than later.
Things should settle down in the next week or so and I'll post a revised guess prediction for the pick. I am planning on doing a live blog for both days of the draft so check back for details on that.
The first excerpt from my new book The Redskins Chronicle has been posted. Go here to take a look. To find out more about the book and to sign up to get notified when it gets published, go to RedskinsChronicle.com.