I just finished a mock draft with writers who cover each of the 32 NFL teams. Things were looking good for the Redskins, sitting at No. 13, through the ninth pick although USC quarterback Mark Sanchez had come off the board.
But then came these picks in order: Mississippi tackle Michael Oher, Texas passrusher Brian Orakpo and LSU passrusher Tyson Jackson.
Suddenly the two top passrushers, the quarterback and all four tackles (including Virginia’s Eugene Monroe, Baylor’s Jason Smith and Alabama’s Andre Smith) were gone.
If that scenario plays out on Saturday, the Redskins will have to decide between a lesser passrusher (Northern Illinois’ Larry English, Florida State’s Everette Brown, Tennessee’s Robert Ayers or Penn State’s Aaron Maybin) or one of the USC linebackers, Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing.
English might be the most talented option, but he’s from a non-BCS school and the Redskins have taken only one such player with their top pick since 1986: Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey at No. 32 in 2002.
On the other hand, there haven’t been many rumblings that the Redskins are that high on Brown, Ayers or Maybin.
Washington apparently likes Maualuga and Cushing and could move the former from the current hole on the strong side to the middle in 2010 or 2011 whenever London Fletcher becomes expendable.
However, the 13th pick is pretty high for a middle backer for a franchise that hasn’t taken an inside backer higher than the third round (Derek Smith, 1997) in more than 40 years. The Redskins of Dan Snyder’s youth were proud to win with such no-names as Harold McLinton, Neal Olkewicz and Kurt Gouveia in the middle.
There are no trades allowed in mock drafts, but if this is how the real draft breaks (and the Redskins haven’t traded up for Sanchez), look for Vinny Cerrato to try to trade down for more picks, figuring that Maualuga or Cushing or one of the ends will be there when Washington gets on the clock.
When you have three major needs — left end, strongside backer and right tackle — (aside from the quarterback situation) and just one of the top 80 picks, trading down just makes sense.
So what would you do, Redskins fans, if the tackles, Sanchez, Orakpo and Jackson are gone?
— David Elfin