- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2014

Thursday was expected to be a quiet day for the Redskins as the NFL Draft opened in New York City and it turned out that way.

There were no trades, either of backup quarterback Kirk Cousins or for a first-round draft pick. Instead, Washington decided to stand pat and is set to pick second on Friday night, No. 34 overall, when the second round begins.

The Redskins’ needs are obvious. They could use help at safety, corner, on the offensive line and maybe even at inside linebacker. But how valued are defensive backs in the new pass-happy NFL? Five corners and four safeties were taken in the first 32 picks. That’s nine defensive backs total. There were also five wide receivers chosen – Washington is set there, for now – and five offensive tackles.

The best bet is an offensive tackle if the Redskins stay at No. 34 and don’t trade down. There are several good ones left on the board, including Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandijo, Virginia’s Morgan Moses and Nevada’s Joel Bitonio. Kouandijo. That would help add some athleticism to a group that includes left tackle Trent Williams, easily the line’s best player.

With most of the top safeties picked already, including Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Deone Bucannon and Jimmie Ward, that seems a less likely route now. But this is considered a deep draft so a trade down to acquire extra picks later shouldn’t be discounted.

“In theory, the answer is easily yes,” general manager Bruce Allen said during a pre-draft press conference on Tuesday at Redskins Park. “Where we’re picking, and you can look at all the mock drafts that you want, I think the most mock drafts have probably the top 15 players that [are] all similar. When you get down to our neck of the woods [at 34], there’s great variation. If we have a player that has a first-round grade that falls to us, it will make us less likely to trade out of there. We have several players who have about the same grade on them and if that’s the case, and we get the opportunity, we would move.”

So there’s some insight into what Washington might do. Of course, Allen might have been spouting nonsense, too. Teams generally don’t want to tip their hand heading into the draft. 

The first round had plenty intrigue even if the Redskins weren’t part of it. Cleveland traded down from No. 4 and ended up with corner Justin Gilbert at No. 8 and then traded up to snag a falling quarterback Johnny Manziel at No. 22. That will add a bit of star power to a team that hasn’t had any for years. Multiple teams with need of a quarterback passed on Manziel. Even his home state Dallas Cowboys decided to go in another direction despite starter Tony Romo just turning 34 and coming off major back surgery. 

Quarterback Blake Bortles, a Central Florida star, ended up with his home state Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 overall. The only other quarterback selected in the first round was Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, who had the Minnesota Vikings trade up to get him at No. 32, the final pick of the first round.

The No. 1 pick, subject of so much speculation, turned out to be straightforward: South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a force of nature whose only question is his desire to play hard at all times, went to the Houston Texans.

Wondering whom the Redskins gave up in the Robert Griffin III trade? Oh, yes. They weren’t done paying the price for RGIII yet. St. Louis reaped the benefits of this year’s first-round pick, too, which turned out to be second overall. The Rams took Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

The year before Washington’s first-round pick was traded again by St. Louis to Atlanta. The Falcons selected corner Desmond Trufant at No. 22. He started all 16 games for them as a rookie.

In all there were five draft-day trades made in the first round on Thursday, not counting previous trades like Washington-St. Louis. Round 2 begins at 7 p.m. on Friday night followed immediately by Round 3. The Redskins, for now, are scheduled to pick at No. 66 overall in that round. On Saturday they have selections at No. 102 (fourth round), No. 142 (fifth), No. 178 (sixth) and No. 217 (seventh). We’ll see if they find a way to acquire more.



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