- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2007

As teams finalize their draft boards and start doing mock drafts, anticipating trades and what teams in front of them will do, today I take a look at five prospects on the Redskins’ radar and why it would and wouldn’t make sense for the Redskins to draft them.

This is assuming the Redskins don’t trade down from the sixth pick or make a play to trade up.

Before I talk about those players, an explanation of the draft value chart created by Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s and adopted by many teams, including the Redskins.

It will be tough for the Redskins to trade down AND get absolute equal value for that pick. For example: Let’s say Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson is available at No. 6 and Green Bay, looking to replace Ahman Green, wants to move into the Redskins spot. The Packers draft No. 16.

The sixth pick is worth 1,600 points. The 16th pick is worth 1,000 points.

Green Bay could offer that pick and its No. 47 overall pick (worth 430 points). Most teams would make that deal because the Redskins need picks and drafting No. 16 will still allow them to take a defensive lineman. But it leaves them 170 points short of “equal” value. The Redskins would probably ask for a third- or fourth-pick as well, but I doubt the Packers would budge knowing they can always get a running back at that point.

Translation: The Redskins’ best chance of trading down is with a team that is drafting in the 8-12 range.

Now to the players:

1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech

Why the Redskins should trade up to draft him: At 6-5 and 235 pounds with 4.4-type speed, Johnson is a once-in-a-decade player, a receiver who will excel in a variety of systems and will make an instant impact. He had 76 catches for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns last year for the Yellow Jackets and his quarterback was Reggie Ball, who, frankly, stinks.

Why they shouldn’t: The price of trading up to the top two spots would be steep and it would make the Redskins start parting with their set of 2008 picks. It would also include a receiver on the roster — probably Antwaan Randle El since Santana Moss is untouchable and nobody wants Brandon Lloyd. The price would probably cost the Redskins their first-round pick next year. Way too steep.

2. LaRon Landry, S, LSU

Why the Redskins should draft him: A four-year starter for the Tigers, he would solidify the Redskins’ secondary for the next decade because of his ability to tackle and smarts. He would represent an upgrade from the current trio of Pierson Prioleau-Vernon Fox-Omar Stoutmire. He is the best defensive player in the draft.

Why they shouldn’t: Do the Redskins need him as badly as they need defensive line help? No. I think the Prioleau-Fox-Stoutmire group can give the Redskins decent performances at the position. Plus, is Sean Taylor — entering his fourth year — ready to mentor a young kid? No way.

3. Alan Branch, DT, Michigan

Why the Redskins should draft him: He’s gigantic (6-5, 330) and has great strength and explosiveness. He would aid the run defense, get the double teams off Cornelius Griffin and make sure middle linebacker London Fletcher doesn’t have to take on centers and guards with regularity, allowing him to flow to the ball carrier.

Why they shouldn’t: For all his athletic gifts, Branch wasn’t very productive in college. He had only 25 tackles and two sacks in 13 games last year. Marquee players should make a bigger impact than that, even if he faces myriad double teams.

4. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville

Why the Redskins should draft him: Talk about up side. The kid is 19 years old, 300 pounds, technically-sound and will also get better because he’s so young. He had eight sacks last year, which is a lot for a tackle so he could improve both the rush defense and the pass rush.

Why they shouldn’t: Will he be able to make an instant impact? Can he keep his weight up? Is he mature enough to live and play in a big-city market and handle a big-time pay check? All indications are that he’s mature enough. I’m guessing that him or Landry will be the Redskins’ pick if they stick at six.

5. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson

Why the Redskins should draft him: Although he’s basically Andre Carter, Adams was very productive in colelge — 22 sacks, 32.5 tackles for lost yardage the last two seasons — and he would improve the Redskins’ putrid pass rush.

Why they shouldn’t: He’s basically Andre Carter. I feel Carter showed some flashes late in the year and could be ready for a 10-sack season this year. The Redskins would be paying a lot of money to similar players. Plus, I think their greater defensive line need is tackle.

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