If you ask anyone associated with the Redskins what they will be looking for when their first pick in the draft, number 53 overall, comes up on April 29, they will tell you that they are looking for the Best Player Available, or the BAP. They'll speak of needing to build depth across the board and that they would be happy to select any one of a number of fine players who might be available there.
In reality, the BAP concept is something of a myth. Joe Gibbs can talk about it all he wants, but the fact is that if a running back is the BAP on their board when their turn comes up they won't be selecting that player, even if he is by far the BAP. The Redskins are set there with Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Nemo Broughton. Even if somehow Reggie Bush were to slide back to #53, Gibbs and company would find a reason to go in another direction. It's the same situation at quarterback. The team will carry three quarterbacks and they are Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, and Todd Collins. There would be no point is spending the second-round selection on someone who would have to be cut in August (Gibbs can no longer get away with stashing young QB's on injured reserve like he could back in the days with Jay Schroeder and Mark Rypien).
To a lesser extent, the team won't be looking for a wide receiver or defensive lineman. A player at those positions that they totally didn't expect to be there could turn their heads and make them go in that direction, but it's unlikely. The starters and much of the depth are pretty well set there.
Out of 22 starting positions, in fact, the Redskins are set everywhere except for one, the weak outside linebacker spot vacated when LaVar Arrington was waived last month. The available free agent prospects there carry either an overwhelming price tag or underwhelming talent. Holdover Chris Clemons will get a shot at the job, but it is far from settled. That simple fact and what a number of league sources have said leads to the conclusion that the Redskins will be looking for a particular kind of BAP, the BAOLB—Best Available Outside Linebacker, a player good enough to give Clemons a run for his money at the starting job.
There are as many as half a dozen players that may be that BAOLB when pick #53 comes up sometime early Saturday night on April 29. Among them are Thomas Howard of UTEP, Roger McIntosh of Miami, Jon Alston of Stanford, DeMeco Ryans of Alabama, and Bobby Carpenter of Ohio State. As will the Redskins staff, we will be putting these players and some others under the microscope in the coming days leading up to the draft. Certainly, we will look at some players at other positions as well, but the focus will be on that BAOLB.