- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2002

Smoke and mirrors are clouding the Washington Redskins' draft strategy.
After months of scouting, weeks of internal review and days of trade talks, the Redskins enter today's first round not only unsure who they'll draft, but for what position or on what selection.
The Redskins have discussed trading with three top 10 teams to get Oregon's Joey Harrington only to have the Detroit Lions suddenly awaken to Harrington at No.3. Then again, the Lions could be simply bluffing to entice the Redskins into trading at least two first-round picks to take Harrington before Kansas City (eighth) or Cincinnati (10th).
Or those two teams also may be luring the Redskins into a blockbuster trade with no real intention of taking Harrington themselves.
Welcome to draft day where anything can happen and no one can be trusted.
The Redskins have their most wide-ranging first pick since 1992, when they traded first- and third-round picks to Cincinnati for receiver Desmond Howard on the fourth selection. Today Washington could take a franchise quarterback, defensive tackle, receiver or guard.
"We have more than one need. There are several players in this draft that could warrant a strong discussion to move up," said Joe Mendes, the Redskins' vice president of football operations.
The Redskins simply could wait for a guard or receiver with their 18th selection. However, owner Dan Snyder wants Harrington after scouting him last season. This has created a week of trade talks and organizational debate over the team's goals.
Getting Harrington is an expensive gamble. Trading up probably would cost the Redskins two first-round picks and perhaps a second-round choice. Some teams might even want a starter.
The Redskins wasted three years hoping quarterback Heath Shuler would develop after he was chosen third in 1994. Washington would risk top selections two straight years, plus additional salary cap room of at least $1million on Harrington. That could force the ouster of defensive end Marco Coleman or another starter.
If Detroit or Kansas City takes Harrington, Washington will look for a defensive tackle. However, the four highest-rated ones are expected to be gone by the 12th pick. That still means the same hefty trade requirements that would seem excessive for anything other than a quarterback.
If potential trades are rebuffed, the Redskins then would consider moving down. However, a mid-round pick isn't that attractive given that the marquee players should all be gone. Still, Washington would willingly move down a few spots for a third-round pick that it lacks as part of the 2001 deal for former coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Washington has been eyeing Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey and Virginia Tech receiver Andre Davis the past week, but both would be reaches until late in the first round. The Redskins might take Florida receiver Reche Caldwell in the second.
There's a chance the Redskins will be forced to take their scheduled turn. With all other options exhausted, Washington could fill its left guard opening with Colorado guard Andre Gurode or Nebraska guard Toniu Fonoti.
"Who knows what's going to be there at 18?" Mendes said. "The 18th pick may be a wonderful Christmas present."

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