Saturday, April 30, 2011

What they're saying about the Skins' draft strategy

Yes, I know I just did this yesterday with the Redskins' first trade and the decision to pick Ryan Kerrigan, but I have to admit, I'm intrigued to see what people are saying about the Redskins' approach this year in the NFL Draft. The Skins currently have 10 picks on day three of the draft, meaning they'll have plenty of chances to invigorate one of the NFL's oldest rosters with a plethora of young, (hopefully) talented players at several positions of need. There's no guarantee that any of the selected players will be any good, but it does give the Skins plenty of chances -- something few fans can complain about.

Here are the three players the Skins have taken so far:

- OLB Ryan Kerrigan (16th overall)
- DT/DE Jarvis Jenkins (41st overall)
- WR Leonard Hankerson (79th overall)

And here's what people are saying about the team's course of action thus far:

- "So they picked up five additional picks by moving down six spots in the first round. Brilliant. They also grabbed Clemson DE Jarvis Jenkins at No. 41 overall and have 13 total picks in this draft. That’s one more than they had in the past two drafts combined.

That’s how you go about fixing a brokedown team with holes all over the roster, even if there will be holes still. Even if it may not be a quick fix. Especially if it’s not a quick fix.
We don’t say this often, so be sure to say it now: The Redskins got it right." [Jamie Mottram, Mr. Irrelevant]

- "By trading down from No. 10 to No. 16 in the first round, the Redskins picked up extra picks and then leveraged those picks to pick up more in a series of trades down.

All in all, the Redskins have picked up five extra draft picks thus far. While they all won’t work out, this is exactly what the Redskins need. The team has one of the thinnest rosters in the league, bereft of young quality talent at nearly every position.

This approach may not make sense for every team every year, but it’s the perfect way to go for the 2011 Redskins. And it’s something they simply haven’t done in the past." [Gregg Rosenthal, Pro Football Talk]

- "The Redskins also had entered the draft’s second round with the 49th overall pick, but traded back three times to stockpile mid- to late-round picks. First they swapped that 49th pick with Indianapolis for the 53rd and 152nd (fifth round) selections, and then sent the 53rd pick to Chicago in exchange for the 62nd and 127th (fourth round) selections.

The Redskins then sent the 62nd pick to Miami and received the Dolphins’ 79th overall pick (a third-rounder), the 146th (a fifth-rounder) and the 217th (a seventh-rounder).

After entering the draft Thursday with a first- and second-round pick but none in the third and fourth rounds, Washington by virtue of four trades over two nights wound up with picks in every round." [Mike Jones, The Washington Post]

- "Redskins have 11 picks left, including 4 in 5th and 4 in 7th. Could be first time since 1995 that the Redskins have picked in each round." [Adam Schefter, ESPN]

- "The Redskins will have double-digit picks for the third time this decade. The other two times? The disaster draft of 2008, and 2002.

The Redskins have had fewer than six picks in nine of the last 11 years. Now, they have 13 picks. I guess they are overcompensating." [Mike Prada, SB Nation DC]

- "Washington’s newfound strategy runs counter to its philosophy since owner Daniel Snyder took over the team, which was trading future picks to move up for players or in trades to acquire veterans. But after coach Mike Shanahan admitted the roster had insufficient depth at every position other than tight end and safety, it all makes sense.

The Redskins still face a desperate situation along the offensive line, which needs to be addressed, not to mention they still need a quarterback. But the days of trying for a quick fix might be over as Washington goes about a more traditional means of team building." [Jason La Canfora, NFL Network]

- "Today Mike Shanahan, who will be orchestrating the process and who will have final say in who is selected, will hope that he continues the success he had finding productive players in the late rounds when he was with the Denver Broncos.

From 1995 through 2008, Shanahan was either in charge of the Broncos’ 14 drafts or he had heavy influence. In that time Dener had 70 picks in rounds 4-7 and 39 of them have played 16 NFL games or more during their careers. Of those players, 23 were their team’s primary starter for at least one season, four made at least on Pro Bowl. Among the better players Shanahan drafted in the last four rounds are running back Terrell Davis (round 6) and Elvis Dumervil (4)." [Rich Tandler, Real Redskins]

There's probably more analysis out there, but that's all I can find this morning.


My quick take: Is this plan absolutely guaranteed to work? Of course not. It's possible that none of the players the Redskins take in these later rounds ends up panning out. However, one word sticks out in my mind about how I'd describe the team's draft strategy this year: refreshing. The coaching staff/front office is trying something different -- which also happens to be something fans have been pleading for for over a decade. Does this mean the Redskins are rebuilding, per se? No, not really. But they are doing their best to wholeheartedly turn over an aging roster by bringing in more useful, "homegrown" players.

That doesn't mean that the Redskins won't go about filling some of the team's other holes via free agency; they will. But by both using the draft efficiently AND wisely signing free agents, the Redskins could end up with a much different -- and better -- team next season, regardless of a significant change under center. Even if you think the Skins should have taken a quarterback, or a running back, or any other position earlier in the draft instead of moving back multiple times, you have to admit that this change of pace is at least a little exciting. Let's see where this goes.

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