- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The NFL is mired in confusion over the status of the lockout, but Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said it’s “business as usual” with the three-day NFL draft beginning Thursday night.

“Every team is working within the same guidelines, and everybody will approach things differently,” Shanahan said Wednesday at Redskins Park. “People will take the best player available they think can help their team.”

The draft begins Thursday at 8 p.m., with teams making their first-round selections, followed by Rounds 2 and 3 starting Friday at 6 p.m. and Rounds 4-7 starting Saturday at noon. The Redskins’ first pick is No. 10 overall.

The quarterback position is a huge question mark for Washington, as Donovan McNabb is not expected to return, but Shanahan was evasive about whether the team would address that issue this weekend.

“If you draft a quarterback, you’d better have a lot of confidence in him,” Shanahan said. “More mistakes are made at that position than any other. An organization wants that player to be a part of the team for a long time.”

Shanahan said he could not address the McNabb situation specifically, as current lockout rules prevent him from talking to McNabb or his agent, but simply said that the team “has a game plan.”

“This is a deep draft as far as the quarterback position,” Shanahan said. “At the end of the day, you have to find a guy who fits into your system.”

He added that it takes some time to evaluate a quarterback prospect.

“I like to talk defenses, coverages, reads. I like to get the feel of the guy,” Shanahan said.

As for the Redskins’ needs beyond quarterback, Shanahan said he feels comfortable with the team’s strength at tight end and safety, but “other than that, we’re pretty wide open.”

He also opened up the possibility of trading down to get an extra pick or two, but said he has a pretty good feel for the right player if the team keeps its first-round selection.

“When you’re at No. 10, usually you have a pretty good idea of who you want to take,” he said. “We have three of four players we have in mind that we might take at that spot.”

The Redskins normally schedule OTAs (organized team activities) to begin in mid-May, so Shanahan called this year’s draft preparation the same as it has always been.

“It’s always disappointing when the players aren’t around, but right now, it’s still business as usual,” he said. “We still have to do our homework and bring in the right guys for our system.

“The most important thing we can do is be consistent and minimize mistakes. That’s how you build a team that is a consistent winner.”

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