- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 25, 2009

All the fuss about the Washington Redskins possibly drafting Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first round of Saturday’s NFL draft and how incumbent starter Jason Campbell would react misses one critical point. The Redskins can’t move up from the 13th pick to take Sanchez if they don’t bowl over a team closer to the top of the draft with a trade offer.

Considering that in 2005, Washington relinquished its first and fourth choices in 2006 and a third in 2005 to select Campbell with the 25th pick, the price for Sanchez - a likely top-10 pick - has to be substantially higher.

Appearing Friday afternoon on ESPN 980, owner Dan Snyder said the Redskins won’t trade their first-round pick in 2010. That could make acquiring Sanchez, who’s coveted by more than a few other teams, difficult.

“We’re not trading next year’s No. 1,” Snyder said, noting that the only time his Redskins have done that was in 2005 to get Campbell.

After No. 13, the Redskins have only one pick - a third-rounder - before the fifth round. Eliminating next year’s No. 1 from the equation means the best offer would be this year’s first and third choices and next year’s second and third. Whether that would be enough to move up for Sanchez is unclear.

Including a Pro Bowl pass-catcher such as tight end Chris Cooley or receiver Santana Moss would hurt the aspect of the team that Sanchez would help. Washington’s only backups with at least a year of starting experience are defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery, who were solid but not special during their first three seasons.

If Sanchez ends up with Washington, could Campbell, already stung by the team’s attempt to trade for quarterback Jay Cutler earlier this month, be pacified enough to remain on board as the starter in 2009, the final year of his contract? Campbell reportedly will demand a trade if the Redskins draft a quarterback. Campbell declined to comment, but even if he didn’t ask to be dealt, the Redskins might trade him in order to receive something in return rather than lose him as a free agent in March.

Campbell, who started 39 games at Auburn, didn’t play a snap during his first 25 games with Washington. Sanchez, who left school a year early, started just three college games before his 13 last season.

“It’s a factor,” Redskins coach Jim Zorn, a longtime NFL quarterback and quarterbacks coach, said of Sanchez’s lack of experience since high school.

While rookies Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons (32 college starts) and Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens (26) quarterbacked their teams to the 2008 playoffs, such an effort by a first-year signal-caller is highly unusual. Because Zorn might have to make the playoffs next season to keep his job, drafting Sanchez could mean the departures of Campbell and Zorn. Such a scenario would continue the upheaval in those two critical roles that have defined Dan Snyder’s decade as Washington’s owner.

If the Redskins fail to obtain Sanchez, they will use the 13th pick to fill one of their big holes: left defensive end, strongside linebacker and right tackle. However, if Texas pass-rusher Brian Orakpo and tackles Andre Smith of Alabama and Michael Oher of Mississippi are gone by then, the Redskins would likely try to trade down and acquire more picks, as they did in 2008 when they added a second-rounder by dropping from 21st to 34th in a trade with the Falcons. After Nos. 13 and 80 this weekend, the Redskins only have three selections: a fifth (No. 150), sixth (No. 186) and a compensatory seventh (No. 243).

Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato said he expects a number of trades after the 10th pick by “teams coming up from the 20s and the teens to get what they’re looking for.”

Phillip Daniels, 36, who missed 2008 with a knee injury, and Renaldo Wynn, 34, a backup the past three seasons, aren’t what the Redskins are looking for at left end. Neither are H.B. Blades, who struggles in pass coverage at 5-foot-10, and journeyman Robert Thomas, at strongside linebacker. At right tackle, former bulwark Jon Jansen, 33, was hurt each of the past five years and was beaten out last summer by 25-year-old Stephon Heyer, who has yet to show the consistency needed to claim the position on a permanent basis.

Ends Larry English of Northern Illinois, Everette Brown of Florida State, Robert Ayers of Tennessee, Aaron Maybin of Penn State and Paul Kruger of Utah could be available in the bottom third of the first round. So could tackles William Beatty of Connecticut, Eben Britton of Arizona and Max Unger of Oregon as well as Southern Cal linebackers Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing. Maualuga is particularly intriguing because he could move into the middle when London Fletcher, who turns 34 in May, is deemed over the hill.

“It’s a decent draft, [though] probably not as deep as it was last year,” Cerrato said. “There’s quality there. There’s good defensive linemen, good receivers, good talent on the O-line. There’s good players in every round. You just have to find them.”

Notes - The Redskins signed former Buffalo tackle Mike Williams on Friday. The fourth pick in the 2002 draft, Williams had been out of the league the past two years; he was with Jacksonville in 2006 but didn’t play. His addition doesn’t figure to change Washington’s hope of adding a starter-level tackle in the draft. … A day after signing free agent punter Hunter Smith, the Redskins released Dirk Johnson.

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