For a team whose first pick in the draft is in the low-rent
district, the latter third of the second round, (#53 overall to be exact), the
Redskins have been hosting some fairly high-rolling prospects lately.
WarpathInsiders.com is reporting today that CB Kelly Jennings is slated to visit
Redskins Park on Monday. It was first reported here at WarpathInsiders.com that
Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie recently paid a pre-draft visit to
Ashburn. According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Washington Times, Alabama
linebacker DeMeco Ryans either has done the same already or will be doing so
Jennings, Cromartie, Ryans
All three are excellent defenders who play positions that
the Redskins could certainly be willing to spend high draft picks on. Cromartie,
Jennings, and Ryans have something else in common--they will both be long gone
by the time the 53rd selection comes up. Most draft boards rate Ryans
somewhere between late in the first round to early in the second and Cromartie
is likely to be picked in the first dozen slots in the second round, if not
All of this makes you think that something might be up. For
their part, the Redskins get only 30 pre-draft visits (excluding players with
local ties) and it’s not smart to burn one on a player that you don’t have a
chance of drafting. On top of that the time of the coaching staff is extremely
valuable, especially this time of year, and there’s no point in wasting it on
a workout and an interview with someone who is virtually certain to wind up
playing for someone else.
From the player’s perspective it also makes little sense
to waste a visit. They have only so many days to get these done and although
their visits aren’t limited by any sort of regulations they are limited by
time; there is an opportunity cost to each visit that they make. A prospect who
should be drafted with a selection in the thirties isn’t going to go on a joy
ride to visit with a team first drafting in the fifties.
Unless, of course, that team was somehow able to persuade
the player and his agent that such a visit wouldn’t be a total waste of time,
that the team was planning on a possible move into a position where the
possibility of taking one of these players was a realistic scenario.
It would take some doing for the Redskins to move up
significantly in this year’s draft. And, right off the bat, let’s go ahead
and define “some doing” as giving up a very high 2007 selection, either
their first or their second. Their next ’06 pick after the 53rd is
not until the fifth round and that’s not going to move you up more than a slot
or two according to the draft
value chart. Their only assets that will make enough of a difference are
their picks next year.
For the last 35 years, the Redskins have not been hesitant
to trade away draft picks. George Allen generally dealt them for veteran
players, with mixed success. Bobby Beathard did some of that, and also dealt
future first-rounders for selections in an earlier draft. His results were mixed
as well. One such trade netted Russ Grimm, another landed receiver Walter
Murray. Grimm will be in the Hall of Fame someday while Murray never suited up
for the Redskins due to a contract dispute. In more recent years with Joe Gibbs
in charge Washington has dealt away selections in the following year’s draft
to tab Chris Cooley in 2004 and Jason Campbell last year.
This year’s second and next year’s first could land the
Redskins somewhere late in the first round. Next year’s first alone would net
another second somewhere in the middle area of that round (you pay a premium for
getting the player a year earlier). This year’s and next year’s seconds
would move Washington to the early part of the second round. Of course, there
are numerous possibilities in addition to those, but those are some of the
things that could be done.
While the Redskins aren't talking about what their strategy
looks like, the way the tea leaves in the form of draft visits are shaping up it
seems that a trade up to either late in the first round or very early in the
second is part of the plan.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 2: The
Games. This unique book has an account of every game that the Redskins
played from the time they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season.
To get details on the book and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com