You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The first day of the draft is going to be a long one for Redskins fans. The proceedings start at noon and the Texans will be on the clock. Teams are allotted 15 minutes to makes their selections and, with all the talk of teams wanting to move up and down, it is likely that many teams will use something near the maximum time allotment.
Do the math with 32 teams and it could take as long as eight hours to get through Round 1. It probably won't take that long, but it should run until at least 6 PM. When selection #33 comes up, Houston will have five minutes to make that pick. The pace does pick up considerably, but it will be another hour or so before the 21st pick of that round rolls around and the Redskins are on the clock at #53. Look for the Redskins to make their selection at around 7:45.
If you are watching the first round as it unfolds, you can do something to make the pain of not having a first-rounder a bit more bearable. When the 49ers select at #22, imagine that the commish is going to the microphone and saying, "With the 22nd pick in the NFL draft, Washington selects Jason Campbell, quarterback, Auburn." That essentially is what that selection went for and Campbell has a year in the system under his belt.
That is, of course, unless they trade up, a possibility that has been discussed here in the past week or so. Even if that happens--and I now believe that it's possible but not probable--they could only trade up high enough to get, say, to the Bears' pick at #26. That would still make for a five hour-plus wait.
The second day will have much more action. Of the 98 picks on that day, six belong to the Redskins. I think that there is a very good chance that they will take Wisconsin tight end Jason Pociask with one of those second-day picks. Among the other second-day prospects that the Redskins will be taking a close look at are guards Will Montgomery of Virginia Tech and Adam Stenavich of Michigan, Purdue defensive end Rob Ninkovich, and Miami of Ohio cornerback Darrell Hunter. I would not be surprised if the Redskins took a running back in the late going as Ladell Betts is in the last year of his contract, but I don't have an educated guess at a name.
As to predicting a first-day pick, I'm going to figure that the Redskins will stay put. If they do move up it will be to snag a cornerback like Kelly Jennings of Miami. I'll put the chances of that happening at about 25%.
Let's look at three names for pick number 53: Thomas Howard, LB, UTEP, Cedric Griffin, CB, Texas and Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College. Howard has excellent size (6-3, 249) and speed (4.5 in the 40) and some work on his pursuit angles and tackling technique is all that is needed for him to become a solid NFL player. Griffin is in the tough, physical cornerback mold that Gregg Williams prefers and could also move to safety should injury or Sean Taylor's legal problems create a hole there. A poor showing in the Senior Bowl along with a knee injury he struggled with throughout the 2005 season sent Kiwanuka's draft stock plummeting from a mid to late first round level to well into the second.
The Redskins would have a tough time passing on Kiwanuka if he's there, with Renaldo Wynn and Phillip Daniels get up there in years. He probably will be gone, as will Howard. That leaves Griffin, a consolation prize that Williams and Jerry Gray will be most happy with. Although I really think that they're looking at corner over linebacker, should they decide to go LB, look for Roger McIntosh of Miami to be the guy.
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