When the Washington Redskins went on the clock at the 2008 NFL Draft at around 5:20 pm on Saturday, they needed to address the wide receiver, defensive line, and offensive line and safety positions. By this time four defensive linemen had been taken along with five offensive linemen. With no receivers rated as number one picks, halfway through their allotted 10 minutes it was announced that the Redskins had continued the new policy of not making a splash in the off season and trade out of the first round.
The Atlanta Falcons who were interested in Southern Cal’s offensive tackle Sam Baker and the Redskins who had been trying to get rid of the twenty-first pick or move down in the draft order, both got what they wanted. The Falcons used the twenty-first pick on Baker and gave up both of their picks in the second round (34th and 48th overall) and their fifth round pick (154th), they also received Washington’s third and fifth round picks (84th and 154th). As far as draft charts go the Redskins came out of this trade with a 68-point advantage (68 points is equal to a fourth round pick).
Once the Redskins went back on the clock they draft the highest rated player on their board that was at a position of need. Devin Thomas was the highest rated receiver on most team’s board, and most mock drafts had him going before the Redskins would have been able to get him at 21. Why no receivers were taken in the first round is a mystery but the Redskins drafted a big receiver (6’2” - 216 pounds), who had solid production at Michigan State and should be a good fit in Jim Zorn’s West Coast offense. Devin Thomas played 10 games in his first season at Michigan State, but finished with just six receptions and one touchdown, his junior year is what has him tagged as a one year wonder as he suited up for all 13 games, caught 79 passes and 8 touchdowns, and lead the Big Ten-with 1,260 receiving yards. He returned 39 kickoffs, averaging 29.1 yards per return, and had 27 carries on offense for 177 rushing yards.
With the Falcons second 2nd round pick the Redskins surprised everyone outside of their draft room with the selection of USC Tight End Fred Davis. The Redskins had no depth at tight end beyond backup Todd Yoder, and Jim Zorn’s west coast offense will include two-tight end packages so adding Davis will allow the Redskins to move Chris Cooley around to create mismatches. Davis (6’3” – 255 pounds) was one of the top two at the tight end position in this draft after having a big senior year with 55 catches for 794 yards and seven touchdowns and winning the Mackey Award as the nations top Tight End. During his freshmen year at USC Davis moved from the wide receiver position to tight end and became the starter in his junior year.
The Redskins used their original second round pick to take another wide receiver when they selected Oklahoma’s 6'4" – 218 pound Malcolm Kelly. Kelly is similar in size to Devin Thomas and gives Jason Campbell and Jim Zorn more young talent to work with. It can be said that Malcolm Kelly is more quick than he is fast, but has decent deep speed and has the size and strength to break arm tackles rather than trying to get fancy with moves when trying to separate. Despite playing only three seasons at Oklahoma, he finished his career as the Oklahoma’s fifth-leading receiver with 144 catches, he caught 29 passes for 638 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior campaign’ the year before, he was credited with 27 receptions for 826 yards (30.6 avg), including six scores.
Overall not a bad day one, the Redskins went into the day with one pick in the first fifty and ended the day with three top fifty players with breaking the bank in the normal Redskin fashion. On day two the Redskins have picks in every round but the fifth, going into day one they had a fifth round pick but not a fourth rounder. The remaining picks are round 3, Pick 33 (96 overall - Compensatory pick), round 4, Pick 4 (103 overall - from the Falcons), round 6, Pick 20 (186 overall), round 7, Pick 21 (228 overall), round 7, Pick 35 (242 overall - Compensatory pick), round 7, Pick 42 (249 - Compensatory pick). The team needs to find a second pass-rusher to help Andre Carter, a fill in for the injured Rocky McIntosh and depth for the offensive line.