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Drafting the draft that’s in front of you

Drafting the draft that’s in front of you

Should the Washington Redskins have taken an offensive tackle in the draft?

Certainly, it would have been nice to come out of the weekend having secured the long-term replacement for the right offensive tackle position, preferably a replacement who could line up with the first team in minicamp. It's a problem area and important one.

The first chance they had to snag a tackle was with their first pick, the 13th overall. By all reports they were focused on Brian Orakpo, the pass-rushing defense end they've been without for about 20 years, and Michael Oher, the Mississippi offensive tackle. Orakpo was the pick.

Oher didn't go until 10 picks later. Not only did the Redskins think that Orakpo was the better player, the 10 teams who drafted after them didn't value Oher enough to make him a pick in the teens. Regardless, we will be able to compare the careers of Oher and Orakpo as the years go by and see if the Redskins erred in taking the end over the tackle.

But for right now the Orakpo pick is, at worst, defensible.

It is the third-round pick of Maryland cornerback Kevin Barnes that has some folks irate. A third-round pick generally isn't an instant starter but he could be and, certainly, one would expect that the 80th overall pick, a first-day selection under the old draft schedule, would be ready to start at some point in the next year or so.

So why not a tackle here? I don't have access to the Redskins' draft board but one would have to assume that Barnes was the higher-rated player and that no offensive tackle was close.

You can say that Vinny Cerrato and company and the rest of the gang in Ashburn wouldn't know a good prospect if he sat in their lap and called them mama (to quote the commercial played endlessly over the course of the draft). The rest of the league, however, backs up that judgment.

After Barnes was drafted with the 16th pick of the third round, no team took an offensive lineman for the rest of that round. Not one. The next offensive lineman to go was a center, Jonathan Lugis out of Arkansas, with the sixth pick of the fourth round (106 overall). The next player listed as an offensive tackle to go was T. J. Land of Eastern Michigan, who went a few picks later to Green Bay with the 109th overall pick. A Google search reveals, however, that it appears that he is being thought of more as a guard than as a tackle.

You have to go to the 35th pick of the fourth round, all the way to pick number 135, to find the next tackle taken. Troy Kropog of Tulane went to the Titans with a compensatory pick. Reaching by 50 picks, a round and a half, to fill a need is not the way to build through the draft.

If you want to argue that the Skins should have taken Jamon Meredith or Duke Robinson or Fenuki Tupou instead of Cody Glenn in the fifth, fine. I'll concede that one. The rest of the league, however, didn't seem to think as much of them as Kiper, Mayock, and the rest of the draft "experts" did. We can compare over the years and see how they turn out just like we do with other players the Redskins could have had like LaRon Landry vs. Amobi Okoye or Fred Davis vs. Calais Campbell.

While you can get lucky every once in a while you aren't going to solve your problem areas for this year in the fifth round and later. If you want to debate Robert Henson vs. Tackle X or Eddie Williams vs. Tackle Y, be my guest. Again, time will tell.

The Redskins didn't lose their opportunity to take a tackle in this draft over the weekend. They lost it last August when they dealt their second-round pick for Jason Taylor and when their fourth-rounder went to the Jets for Pete Kendall two years ago. That limited their options both in terms of sheer numbers and in the opportunity to move up and down. A second-round pick such as Phil Loadholt of Oklahoma would have made the whole draft look a lot better.

But you can't draft the draft you wish was there, you have to work with was actually is there. Time will tell how this one will turn out.

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.

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