Three and Out: Cornerback Over Linebacker?

Three and Out: Cornerback Over Linebacker?

Tandler's Redskins Blog Ver. 04.26.06--All of the talk has been about the Redskins focusing on an outside linebacker with their initial selection, but there are a couple of positions that may make more sense. Also, does what Gibbs said on Monday mean that they won't trade up?

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net 

  • I'm starting to think that the Redskins would be more apt to select a cornerback than an outside linebacker with their first selection in the NFL Draft. I'm hearing that they like Chris Clemons at the weakside linebacker spot and they would be perfectly happy to go into the season with him starting there with Warrick Holdman serving as his backup. It's another story at corner. While Kenny Wright might be a serviceable nickel back it would be positively scary if he were to have to start for even a game or two should Shawn Springs or Carlos Rogers go down with an injury. Yes, scarier than starting a second-round rookie. Some mock drafts have Ashton Youboty and Kelly Jennings, two players who have visited Redskins Park, being available in the vicinity of the #53 selection. Cedric Griffin of Texas and Alan Zemaitis of Penn State are very likely to be on the board there as well. I like Griffin because he could play safety, too, and depth there is an issue even if Sean Taylor can avoid doing any jail time.

    Mathias Kiwanuka
  • In fact, if no corners who would represent a good value are there in the second round and Washington has a choice of a linebacker and a defensive end of equal ability they could well go with the end. Signing Andre Carter was a good start, but the other two main DE's on the roster, Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, are both well on the north side of 30 and having a fresh, talented young player in the rotation would make them more effective throughout the season. The Redskins would have to strongly consider Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College should he slide back to them. His stock dropping largely because of a poor performance in the Senior Bowl, but his backers note that he was matched against D'Brickashaw Ferguson, one of the five best players in the draft. Another DE Washington is rumored to be looking at is Stanley McClover of Auburn. McClover was a surprise early entry in the draft, leaving school after his Junior year. His raw pass rushing skills are very good and with proper coaching he could develop into an excellent NFL player. The general consensus is that #53 may be too high a spot to take McClover, but the Redskins do not always go with the conventional wisdom, for better or for worse.
  • In his press conference on Monday, some comments by Joe Gibbs were interpreted to mean that the team would not trade up from that #53 spot. I'm not sure how you could read that into what he said:

    "I think you could always do [a trade]," Gibbs said. "It's just a matter of, when you get through all of your calculations, do you feel like it would be smart for us to do it? Obviously, it would depend on what kind of deals are out there.

    "We've had teams talk to us about it already. It's something that remains a possibility, but right now we don't have anything that we're talking seriously about right now."

    It was the "we don't have anything that we're talking seriously about right now" part that many picked up on, interpreting that as meaning that a deal was unlikely. Gibbs said no such thing. In fact, he said nothing, which is to be expected. The reason that they aren't talking seriously about anything right now is because no serious talks can begin until a player that the Redskins want is there and the team that is on the clock answers the phone.

    There is no question that, with their draft board set, Gibbs and company are debating various trade possibilities and are setting up their if-then scenarios. For example, "If player A is still there when Pittsburgh's pick comes up, then we'll call and offer them this package of picks".

    That being said, I've changed my mind on the likelihood of the Redskins moving up to either the end of the first round or the early part of the second from thinking that it's likely to happen to thinking that it's possible but unlikely to happen. What could trigger a trade up would be a run on cornerbacks toward the latter part of the first round. If the Redskins are very strongly thinking cornerback, they have want to move up to ensure that they get one who is capable of starting.

    Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played in from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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