Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 8, 29 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  


Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 21
Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 68
—NFL Draft (4/27) 78
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 214

Looking for value in the draft

Today's question is from my Facebook page.

This is a good theoretical question. One key to the draft is getting value. If you read here regularly you know that I’m not a fan of the Redskins taking Brandon Scherff with the fifth overall pick. You can find a very effective guard later in the draft. That’s water under the bridge and I like Scherff as a player. But if you take too many low-value position players with high draft picks you are going needing to get your high-impact players on the free agent market, where they are very expensive.

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I think you also know that I’m a big proponent of taking the best available player. If there is no way you need the best player on the board you trade down or maybe reach a bit if the grade of a player in a position of need is close. If you reach too far, however, you’re going to end up with a player who can’t help you at all. But for the sake of the question let’s go for need.


I’m going to give you one answer on each side of the ball. Based on value, I would go wide receiver in the first round, assuming DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon leave. Good receivers are hard to find. When teams get them, they hold onto them with extensions or with the franchise tag. If you can get one who is cheap and productive in the middle of the first round you have to think about it. Getting even reasonable production for a contract that will average $2.9 million over four years is great value.

And, no, it doesn’t matter that they went WR in the first round a year ago. Last time I checked, at least two and usually three or more are on the field on each play. If you need one, you need one. And if they top two wide receivers leave, they will need one who can step in and contribute immediately.

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On defense, I would go for a safety. This is not so much value as it is supply and demand. There are very few top-notch safeties coming out of the college ranks these days; the good ones want to move to cornerback, which pays better at the pro level. We’re not talking about quarterback-level shortages here, where if you don’t have one you keep drafting one until you get one. But even if you have a good safety graded as a second-round value, if you pass him over in the first thee is little chance he will be there in the second.

Why not a defensive lineman, the most glaring need on the team? You can get a good DL later on. Among the D-linemen drafted in the second and third rounds in the last 10 years are Calais Campbell, Brandon Mebane, Carlos Dunlap, and Kawaan Short. I also believe that they will make a move or two in free agency that will decrease the urgency to get a DL.

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