Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Washington Redskins Draft Recap

Hold on, before you go crazy and start expecting draft recaps for every team, stop right there. I'll be doing a draft recap on my hometown Washington Redskins, and my partner will try to get you some analysis on his hometown Cleveland Browns. For everyone else, you'll have to do your own research.

FIRST DAY

Round 1: The Skins traded out of the first round, and while they didn't have any picks, I did want to say that trading down may have been a mistake. They only acquired later picks this year, and no picks for next year, which would have been a better call, I believe. They were able to get some solid prospects later in the draft, and I'm not suggesting that they should have necessarily kept the pick, but I think they should have pursued future commodities, not just more, worse commodities.

Round 2: This is where the Skins made their hay. They acquired Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, two wide receivers who could develop into #1 guys, and a tight end in Fred Davis who has some attitude concerns but has definite playmaker ability. I've heard a lot of local commentators say that Washington made a mistake in drafting three receivers and not taking a lineman early in this draft, and I've heard national commentators commend the Skins for a great draft and give them the highest rank in the NFC. I think the truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. It might have been a mistake to focus so much on one aspect of the team early on, but it's fair to say that they believed that Davis and Kelly were the best players on the board at the point where each of them were drafted.

Worth noting also is that Washington ended the season with the 20th rated points per game average in football, placing them as the second worst among playoff teams. For anyone who watched the Skins last year, I don't have to tell you how lethargic the offense looked 95% of the time. Adding playmakers in the passing game was definitely a valid priority for this team, and you take them when you can get them. I don't fault the Redskins for seeing a need and attempting to address it.

There was a bit of an outcry that the defensive line needed help getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but the numbers reflect a very solid defense last year. They had the 11th best points defense, and the 8th best yards defense. The seven teams ahead of them were Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, New England, Tennessee, Baltimore, and the New York Giants, all of whom sport notoriously effective defenses. So while certainly the Skins could use a premier pass rusher, who couldn't? When it came down to it, a premier pass rusher wasn't available at those picks, and I'd be much more unhappy with my team if they made bad value picks that happened to fit one of multiple points of need. I'll take a few chances in the passing game with three guys who were all looked at as potential first round picks at one point in this pre-draft season.

SECOND DAY

I don't know much about most of these second day picks, but the Skins did make a splash by taking an early Heisman hopeful in Colt Brennan. I can't say for sure what he's going to look like in the pros, but in the sixth round, a guy who sported a college career 167.6 passer rating and completed 70% of his passes is a worthwhile risk. I think generally the second day quarterbacks (Dennis Dixon, John David Booty, Josh Johnson, Brennan) may look at least as good as the first day guys (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Chad Henne, Brian Brohm) when all is said and done. Watching the development of young quarterbacks is always one of the more interesting storylines of a draft to look back at.

So that's the situation. I like the way the Skins draft looks on paper right now, and that's the only way we can look at it at this point. It'll be very interesting to see what sort of playing time each of those three early picks gets, with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle-El, and Chris Cooley locked in as the starters. Don't be surprised if that's one of our main topics come NFL preview radio show time.

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