- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I’m off to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine. Although the locale isn’t glamorous and the weather generally stinks, I actually enjoy covering the event because of the access to the draft-eligible players as well as coaches, assistants and scouts from every NFL team.

In nearly all the mock drafts, the Redskins are slated to use the sixth pick on Clemson pass-rusher Gaines Adams or Michigan DT Alan Branch. If I were running the Redskins’ draft room, I would trade down … and down … and down … maybe even out of the first round to stock-pile picks in rounds 2, 3 and 4 to give the roster some much-needed depth — with cheap contracts.

But assuming they keep the pick, I wouldn’t automatically pick Adams because he can rush the passer. The Redskins are thin (and old) at tackle and Branch could be the player to team with Cornelius Griffin, moving Joe Salave’a to a reserve role and giving Kedric Golston another year to season.

* The hubbub about the Redskins pursuing Buffalo MLB London Fletcher-Baker isn’t surprising. He had a solid season, he’s a free agent with a big name, is certain to command big dollars and teams think he can still play. But I raise these questions: Is Fletcher-Baker — considering the dollars he’ll get — that much of an upgrade over Lemar Marshall? If they get Fletcher-Baker, the Redskins would move Lemar back to OLB and start ahead of Rocky McIntosh (the fact the Redskins are interested in moving Marshall is certainly a non-endorsement of McIntosh’s progress). But wouldn’t it make more sense to address DE, CB and S instead of the LB position?

* Moving Shawn Springs to safety would be foolish. Springs, when healthy, is still a top-notch cover cornerback. A shift to safety would require Springs to be put in more injury-prone positions (stopping the run, tackling tight ends over the middle, etc.). I would keep Springs at corner this season, go after a starter from another team (hello Buffalo’s Nate Clements, although he’ll have plenty of suitors), and make Carlos Rogers the No. 3 corner for the 2007 season.

* It won’t get the attention of the ESPN talking heads, but it’s important the Redskins re-up with center/guard Mike Pucillo and try to sign reserve tackle Todd Wade. Both were serviceable when pressed into service last year and the Redskins can’t expect the same kind of injury luck along the offensive line again this season. Jansen’s missed start against New Orleans in Game 15 was the only time the Jansen/Samuels/Thomas/Dockery/Rabach group missed a game.

* Raise your hand if you think the Redskins should overhaul their receiver group? Mine is raised. But it won’t happen. Gibbs loves Randle El and his contract demands he stay put. Lloyd also has a cap-unfriendly deal so he’ll inexplicably get another chance.

* All signs point to another year of Adam Archuleta with the Redskins. One question I want to ask Gibbs in Indianapolis: The last two years, defensive assistants — the side of the ball Joe isn’t involved with — have had public spats with star players. Dale Lindsay and LaVar couldn’t stand each other and this year, Arch and Steve Jackson didn’t speak. What will Joe do to prevent a third episode on that side of the ball?


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