To those on the outside right now, it appears as if the Redskins could do pretty much anything with the prized No. 2 pick this April in the NFL Draft. That's a perception that will only benefit them in the lead-up to the event in Las Vegas, whether it's true or not.
When Washington originally locked up the second spot late in the 2019 season, it felt as if they could already start prepping a locker for Chase Young. Many mock drafts still project the pass rusher to land with the franchise too, and at the Combine in Indianapolis, he revealed that his meeting with the Redskins stood out the most.
Another thing happened at the combine, though. New storylines and reports and rumors emerged, as they typically do at the football equivalent of a high school lunch room, and many of those storylines and reports and rumors centered around the Burgundy and Gold.
It all started when Ron Rivera came out last week and said that he would meet with both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Since then, the South Florida Sun Sentinel has published a sourced article that claims the Redskins told Tagovailoa they'd want him to compete with Dwayne Haskins and the organization doesn't view Haskins as "the right guy right now."
Now, would the Redskins really look to bring in Tagovailoa to battle with Haskins, or more likely replace him, after seeing just a handful of starts from last year's first-rounder? And would Rivera and Co. really pass up on the ultra-heralded Young, who could transform their defense from the first snap?
The next few months will ultimately determine what, if anything, from these past few days is truth and what is bluster. The Redskins, however, have already accomplished something critical.
They've become somewhat of a mystery.
Perhaps some of their competitors don't care or don't believe that Dan Snyder's club is completely unsettled on what they'll do at No. 2. Regardless, an illusion is at least there — and it should serve them well.
A team like the Dolphins, who are no doubt also interested in Tagovailoa, now may feel more compelled to eventually call the Redskins with an overwhelming offer so they could slide into Washington's position in the draft order. Simply moving into Detroit's slot at three may not be enough for Miami, or anyone else, to ensure they land the Alabama lefty.
Yes, there's still a very solid chance Rivera happily nabs Young after the Bengals presumably select Burrow. Maybe that's going to be their plan all along, and all this chatter of other outcomes is a waste of time (and no, NBCSportsWashington.com can't be held responsible for wasted time).
Or, the Redskins could stay where they are and take a chance on Tagovailoa if they truly become enamored with him.
But if the key decision-makers believe trading down and acquiring more assets is the best plan, they're doing a good job of increasing their bargaining power. As the uncertainty about their thinking increases, so too will incoming offers.
So much of the NFL is making sure the opponent is unsure of what you're doing on a given Sunday, and that unpredictability is valuable in the offseason as well. As long as the Redskins keep acting like they don't know what they're going to do, another team could end up making the choice very easy for them.
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