ASHBURN -- Doug Williams offered a piece of advice for those focused solely on which player the Washington Redskins might select with the 15th overall selection.
The pick could be on the move. If so, the odds are stronger in one direction.
“I’ve said all along the chances of trading up is a lot slimmer than trading back,” the Redskins’ senior VP of Player Personnel said Monday
Williams spoke from Redskins Park as the team wrapped up its pre-draft media availability before the NFL Draft. The three-day event begins Thursday with the first round.
“I’m going to go on the record and say that it’s a possibility that we won’t trade up,” Williams continued. “But it’s a great possibility that we trade back if that opportunity came.”
Now, preferring a trade down rather than moving up isn’t unique -- but that’s not what Williams said. He spoke in terms of preference but also likelihood and opportunity.
“We got a chance to trade back,” Williams said. “It all depends on who’s there.”
The “who’s there” angle goes both ways, of course.
The Redskins might covet a specific quarterback, pass rusher or other prospect and, therefore, punt on the idea of trading out if that player is available.
That it is far more difficult this year to pin down a short-list of targets compared with 2018 when the Redskins selected Daron Payne speaks to the team’s list of needs but also the balance of prospects in the 15 to 40 range. There are scenarios where Washington might choose a path that lands extra draft picks or players.
Last year the Saints traded picks 27, 147 and their 2019 first-round selection to the Packers for the 14th overall selection. In the same draft, the Bills shipped 21, 158 and offensive tackle Cody Glenn to the Bengals for 12 and 187. Buffalo then made another deal to acquire the No. 7 selection from Tampa Bay.
In the draft, you cannot be sure which player or position inspires a bold move. New Orleans wanted pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Buffalo drafted quarterback Josh Allen at seven.
If the Redskins jump up, the logic is a passer or pass rusher. The thought here throughout most of the 21 NFL mock drafts centered on the Redskins not focusing on a QB and seeing which edge option remained on the board.
As for a trade down scenario, there are a few names to keep in mind.
♦ With Kyler Murray the likely first passer off the board, quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are obvious potential targets. The teams potentially moving up for those players, less so. The Giants have six and 17. My mock drafts continue giving New York a defense player at six, leaving the quarterback in play at 17. Don’t hold your breath thinking two division rivals would make such a deal. However, it’s possible another team wants to jump the Giants. That other party could be one of the squads with an older QB (Steelers, Chargers, Packers, Patriots). Perhaps the Raiders, who could jettison Derek Carr after this season, package some combination of their three picks in the 24-35 range.
♦ The Redskins need an edge rusher. So do the Panthers (16), Giants (6 and 17), Titans (19) and Ravens (22). It's possible Florida State’s Brian Burns and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell are the only top rated options available by the time we reach the middle of the first.
♦ Teams wanting to be in front of a position run might want to jump into the middle of the first. That’s when the wide receivers (D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown), cornerbacks (Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker, Byron Murphy) and offensive lineman (Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Andre Dillard) might start flying off the shelves. Williams said Monday the Redskins need a "go-to guy" at receiver.
♦ The Redskins don’t have a glaring need for Clemson defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, but others may covet their interior power.
♦ One of the true wild cards in the first round is Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons. The defensive lineman was considered a potential top-5 selection before suffering a torn ACL earlier in 2019. Simmons remains a likely first-round pick. Where depends on when a team feels long-term value trumps that of the healthy prospects.
The idea of trading the pick outright to Arizona for Josh Rosen remains intriguing should the quarterback become available with the Cardinals selecting Murray first overall. Some fans are skeptical about dealing 15 for the second-year passer. Should the Redskins trade down from 15 yet remain in the first, that selection might be enough to entice the Cardinals while allowing Washington to get additional assets.
The likelihood is the Redskins stick at 15 and choose a player. Based on their needs and overall draft projections, edge rusher, offensive line, Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush or that elusive long-term quarterback seems like the logical options. Williams stated Monday that if there’s movement, the Redskins are going down. It just depends who is available when the clock starts ticking at 15.
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