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Redskins Draft Overview 2009 – First Round

The Washington Redskins have once again found themselves in a position where they have many needs and few draft picks. A popular trend in previous drafts has been to trade back early in the draft to accrue more selections in later rounds. The Redskins’ first pick in the draft is #13 in the first round, and they don’t pick again until #80 in the third round.

Many would say the Redskins biggest need is at Offensive Tackle, but the highest rated Tackles could all be gone by their first pick. Jason Smith of Baylor, Eugene Monroe of Virginia, and Andre Smith of Alabama could very possibly be selected before pick #13.

The Redskins also have glaring holes at Defensive End and Outside Linebacker. H.B. Blades, who is really a MLB, has been playing SAM OLB and is the best option there at the moment. The release of DE Jason Taylor leaves the ‘Skins with only unproven players and aging veterans at DE, aside from Andre Carter.  Unfortunately, this draft offers few elite options at DE or OLB as far as 4-3 defenses are concerned.  Brian Orakpo of Texas, possibly the best DE in the draft, will be gone. As will talented Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry. These facts suggest it may be a good idea for the Redskins to trade back.

With the exception of  LSU DE Tyson Jackson, USC OLB’s Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, and Ole Miss OT Michael Oher, there are not many players within the Skins’ need areas worth drafting at pick #13. It is quite debatable whether those players are even worth that pick, and many scouts would argue that they are not. Jackson is very stout against the run, but lacks the pass rush ability many look for in a DE. Cushing is very strong and agile at LB, but he does not have elite straight-line speed and has injury concerns. Matthews, who played DE at USC, did well at the combine, but was a project in college and was not extremely dominant at that level. Oher is a great Offensive Tackle at times, but is inconsistent and lacks elite athleticism.

In addition, there are many suitable players for the Redskins farther back in the first round, if they were able to swing a trade. At Offensive Tackle, there are tough players like Eben Britton of Arizona, or possibly Oher, if he falls. It is also likely that one of the Cushing-Matthews combo will be there in the later half of the first round. At DE, Tennessee’s Robert Ayers is a possibility. He had a strong season, and impressed scouts in the Senior Bowl. Other options include explosive USC MLB Rey Maualuga, who could feasibly play outside, or the ‘Skins could take a WR. Injuries have plagued WR Malcolm Kelly, who was taken in the second round last year. WR Devin Thomas, also a 2nd rounder from last year, has not shown he will be a viable option at receiver either. If the skins don’t see anything they like at bigger need areas, don’t be surprised if they select former Terp speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey, versatile Florida WR Percy Harvin, or the very tough Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina.  Of course, all of this is based upon a trade actually happening.

It is quite possible USC QB Mark Sanchez will be available, which could spark a trade from someone, as draft history has shown. If a trade does not occur, look for the Redskins to take one of the aforementioned players that they feel is most deserving of a pick that high.

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