No one knows for sure who the Washington Redskins will select with their 10th overall pick in the NFL draft on April 28, but one thing is clear: the list of possibilities is a long one.
With holes seemingly everywhere on the team other than safety and tight end, Washington can go in a number of directions in their attempt to rebuild the downtrodden franchise. Years of opting to build through free agency and trades, rather than the draft, have left Washington’s roster depleted and the AFRO Sports Desk searching for answers. Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley have gone into their own war room to weigh the possible picks.
Green: Picking 10th in the first round gives Washington some options. They can trade down—which I feel is the best option—or they can stay put and still get a very talented player. If they elect to remain at No. 10, then a pass rusher has to top their draft board. The 3-4 defense was a disaster last season, partly because they didn’t have the pieces to run it, but mainly because they couldn’t rush the passer. Regardless of your defensive alignment, rushing the quarterback is always first on the agenda. Brian Orakpo was a terror in his first season, but somewhat disappointing in his second. The talent is obviously there for Orakpo, but he needs some help—maybe North Carolina University defensive end Robert Quinn or Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.
Riley: No arguing with you there. Honestly, any decision the Redskins make wouldn’t be a bad one. The trade down to collect more picks makes sense, as does going defensive. Personally, however, I’ve always been a fan of sticking to one project at a time. Last year the club drafted offensive tackle Trent Williams to add to the offensive line and I think they should finish, or at least continue what they started with him. Washington will probably have first dibs on offensive line prospects, as no one at that position has been projected to be drafted in the first nine picks. It would be a reach for the club to draft a lineman that early, so perhaps a trade down could be in order. If not, Southern California tackle Tyron Smith may be the answer. He could team with Williams to give Washington an athletic set of bookend tackles for years to come.
Green: Going with the hogs up front is always a great idea. But, as you said, it could be a bit of a reach that early, which makes going with a pass rusher an even better idea. This draft is stocked with defensive talent and if you watched the Redskins last year, defense was a huge issue. Basically, it was a nightmare on that side of the line of scrimmage, and considering the offenses and quarterbacks that play in the NFC East, you’re going to need defense if you want to be competitive in that division.
Riley: The team needs defense, no doubt, but they also need a strong running game to make coach Mike Shanahan’s system go. The former Denver coach produces strong ground attacks, but that’s hard to do when you’re operating with a bunch of fringe guys up front. The key to any team is the strength of their offensive line. And don’t forget that this team still needs a quarterback. You don’t want to bring in a young guy and throw him behind this shaky D.C. line. A team can get by defensively with a good scheme instead of talent, but they won’t fool anybody with garbage up front on the offensive side.
Green: See that’s where we differ. I don’t see Washington’s offensive line as a bunch of fringe guys except for a few positions. You want them to draft Smith out of USC, but current right tackle Jammal Brown was a Pro Bowl performer before an injury two seasons ago. He wasn’t as strong last year, but maybe a summer to get back into the swing of things could produce a better season next year. The cupboard isn’t completely bare up front for Washington, and considering the slot they’re picking at and the talent that should be available, I’m going with defense in D.C.