With several Redskins fans that following this blog, I thought they would enjoy a read on their very important 2010 draft. With a new GM, head coach, and QB questions as usual, what new GM Bruce Allen does in this off-season could go a long way towards re-energizing a fan-base that had a horrible 2009.
There are some positive aspects of the current edition of the Skins. Brian Orakpo became a Pro-Bowler as a rookie and the defense was strong, especially when Albert Haynesworth was healthy. Jason Campbell showed some life towards the end of the season, and Fred Davis and Devin Thomas finally look ready for starting roles.
So what are Washington biggest needs this off-season?
In no particular order:
1) Figure out what to do with Portis
2) Decide on Campbell ’s future
3) Re-sign Carlos Rogers or get a comparable replacement
4) Upgrade the OL
5) Get a DE pass rusher
Dan Snyder has money and the 2010 season may be uncapped. If that happens, several of these needs can be taken care of with big checks. However, the draft is where franchises are made. If you have to sign a backup LB/CB veteran to play special teams and can’t plug in a recent draft pick, you will eat up a ton of salary cap space. Drafting players in rounds 1-2 that are instant starters and middle round guys (3-5) that make your team and top 44 consistently will go a long way towards creating a winning franchise.
Portis seems done to me. He spoke after the season about considering retirement and I just don’t think he has the juice left to be an elite runner anymore. I think Campbell will be fine under Shanahan as drafting a QB is usually hit-or-miss and not many veterans are available via trade. Solid lineman on both sides of the ball are available in the draft and free agency. This seems like the best way to re-build a team. Start from the line and work out while snagging stud backs and corners when they become available.
When Bruce Allen was in Tampa , they were mediocre at best at QB (Griese, Gradkowski, Garcia) and while part of that was due to Gruden, Allen still avoided taking a QB in the 1st round. Here are the 1st round picks he made in TB (Cadillac Williams (RB), Davin Joseph (OT), Gaines Adams (DE, RIP), Aqib Talib (CB). The only quarterbacks Allen drafted were Gradkowski (6th round) and Josh Johnson (5th round).
If this trend continues, Campbell should get a 1-2 year deal to remain the quarterback and the 1st round pick can be used on the O-line. Russell Okung of Oklahoma State is projected as the top tackle in the entire draft and instant starter.
Round 2 could be the time to grab a playmaker at the running back position. Jahvid Best should be around at this point and makes a lot of sense as a Portis replacement. He has big-play ability and could fit nicely into the mix at running back with Gaither.
Although they play in a tough division, I don’t think Washington is that far away. Shanahan would not have taken a job if he didn’t think he could win fairly quickly. With the right moves, this team could be back near or above .500 in 2010 and build a foundation for the next several years.
Either way, it has to be comforting knowing that Vinny Ceratto and Jim Zorn are no longer the Redskins braintrust…